Here's What Old Women's Magazines Considered To Be "Flattering" Clothes At The Time They Were Published
Just because a magazine insists that something makes you look "thin" now doesn't mean that's always gonna be the case.
Hi, I'm Kristin. For most of my life, I've found that many magazines and other pieces of media have been eager to tell me the best ways for me to dress to look as thin — or as "flattering" — as possible.
But one thing I've always found strange is that these helpful "tips" for dressing to look thinner always seem to change depending on what's in style at the time:
Which made me very curious: Are our opinions about which clothes make us look the most "slim" dependent on what time period we're living in?
Because technically, if a certain clothing item is really supposed to make you look "thin," shouldn't it ALWAYS make you look thin?
So I followed tips for dressing "thin" and "flattering" for my body type from women's magazines throughout different eras, from the early 1980s until now...
...to see just how much the tips for dressing to look "slim" have changed:
First, I tried some figure-flattering rules for my body type from a Woman's Day magazine from the early '80s, and huh boy:
Next up, I dove into some rules for my body type from a couple of magazines from the mid- and late '80s, and I could see some things evolving.
Once we got to the 1990s, the tips for making my body type look "slimmer" started to focus on "balancing" my body with fun, distracting clothing items!
I saw a lot of conflicting figure-flattering tips for my body type from the 1990s, so I thought it'd be interesting to try to follow a different set of rules:
After that, I tried some body-slimming tips for my body type from the 2000s, and basically became Hilary Duff.
Finally, I tried following some figure-flattering rules for my body type from the present decade and was most comfortable...because this is what everyone is comfortable with right now:
So, what did I learn here today?
It seems like most helpful suggestions for dressing for my body type were mostly just focused on emphasizing the "good" body parts I have that were popular at the time (boobs/curves/dainty ankles) -- and to show them off with whatever the 25-year-olds who are posing as hot teens are currently wearing on television.
While this is not a comprehensive list of every tip from every magazine ever, or even every tip in each article, in every era I found an article swearing by a fashion tip that would seem like a terrible idea in another era. And even though there were lots of rationalizations provided to explain why a dressing slim tip visually "worked" -- people's opinions still changed, and they'll keep changing!
So if you're worried that what you're wearing might not be flattering, I wouldn't. It's gonna change in five years, and when the aliens from Zorbog 5 arrive, I'm sure we won't even be wearing clothes at all!
(Finding very specific articles from a lot of old women's magazines is no small feat, so an incredibly special thanks goes out to Lydia Fletcher for helping me fill some of the gaps in my research!)