Ask a marketer with years of experience what sells any good the best, from furniture to airline tickets, from beer to smartphones. He will probably answer: “Sex! Sex sells!”. It’s a common truth not only for advertisement specialists. Know what? It isn’t working. Recent American research proves: sexual messages and visual images in advertisement are losing their effectiveness.
Men’s reaction towards naked women in advertisement differs from that in the past because a naked body doesn’t seem like a revelation, even for a hyper-sexual teenager. Within two clicks you can find countless naked bodies, various figures, poses and levels of frankness. Any legal, permitted by the government advertising cannot compete with this ocean of allure.
Sexual photos aren’t eye-stopper anymore, something that immediately attracts male attention. As for women, the use of girls in this context is causing more outrage reactions. Sexual objectification of female body is a risk to run into a serious incident.
Therefore sexy plunging-necklined air hostess in extremely tight skirts are gradually vanishing from advertising of world’s top brands. Meanwhile, too frank, provocative, aggressively sexual outfits are slowly disappearing from podiums. This year top designers offer plenty of dresses which incorporate chaste modesty. Full-length dresses with long sleeves, wide and loose, no hint to clinging, they don’t lay stress on body lines, however, maximally hiding them.
Why powerful fashion brands offer so modest and full-length dresses which are likely to be worn by a strict religious? Because it’s a trend! Long and opaque clothes with loose tailoring leave the space for imagination. This is a fad of modern fashion which is getting more popular.
There are several root causes. On the one hand, there is clientele within the fashion brands, who really keep to certain religious traditions and following restrictions. First of all, it’s about women from the Arabian world with their crazy petrodollars and quite strict rules concerning outfits. Big brands, such as DKNY, Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger release a special limited collection of Muslim garments, Dolce & Gabbana has started a separate fashion line, which offers hijabs and traditional Arabian long loose dresses – abaya. Moreover, there are countless brands in the world that specialize in Muslim female garments. They even established a special Modest Fashion week for them in London recently.
Marc Jacob’s well-known spring collection with those turbans was definitely inspired by Muslim and African ethnic clothing.
Religious Jewish women also do their bit into the spreading of chaste outfit idea. They start their own fashion brands, create fashion blogs and demonstrate successful combination of religious demands and modern trends, teach how to look modestly, but at the same time stylishly and up-to-date. Some of them are so good at thriving that they are followed by hundreds of thousands of women. Not all of them are religious Jewish. A lot of readers relate to neither Judaism nor any other religion. They are attracted by the concept of restraining modern clothes that hide more than reveal.
The same as many women are attracted by the style of Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. Young charming woman, she’s not free in her choices of outfits. She must dress accordingly to the requirements of British Royal Court, so she cannot allow herself all trending tricks. However, you cannot call her outfit boring. She’s always well-dressed and she’s a living proof that you can look pretty, feminine and even sexy in very reserved dresses.
Another root cause that makes modest outfit popular is feminism. Paradoxically, but true: patriarchal religious communities that restrict women’s rights and liberation movement for women’s freedom and equality stand for one idea – clothes shouldn’t be too frank and sexy. Thus, religious communities don’t leave a woman the choice, they oblige her to dress without an inch of a naked body. Conversely, feminism assumes that each woman is free in her choices of outfits. At the same time, feminism reminds you’re not a toy. You’re not a doll in a window shop that supposed to be attractive to customers. You have an absolute right not to emphasize the benefits of your body and still achieve success in your life.
Women thrive to get equal pay and equal job opportunities. They no longer want to be an element of decor in the office. They don’t want the length of their skirt to be an obstacle in the career perspectives. Therefore, instead of “feminine” tight blazers, clingy trousers and skirts in the manner “I’m going to rip”, loose long, nearly male oversize jackets and flared trousers are becoming a new trend. The style that personifies feminine independence and equality is offered by many famous brands, particularly by Celine.
There is one more root cause why full-covering baggy clothing is becoming popular. In fact, it turned out to be a trap, even though sexual revolution of the 60s might have emancipated women from the centuries of restrictions and skimpy skirts and revealing dresses might have announced women’s freedom. The less demands society suggested to what needs to be hidden, the bigger requirements and whims it created on how exactly these parts of the body must look. The full-length skirts are no longer needed but legs must be long and slim. Get them wherever you want. Everything can be maximally transparent and clingy, laces and nets, dresses-bandages and dresses-corsets are allowed, but a gram of fat is prohibited. Small narrow bikinis, merely visible, are acceptable but cellulite and belly without abs are out of the law.
Women had to lead a constant and sometimes doomed battle with their bodies to wear actual clothes. It is not a surprise that women are fed up with it. Why to hit the wall, trying to tailor yourself for a fashionable dress? Isn’t it easier to change fashion in dresses? For example, change for those which Valentino offers.
So, will sexy clothes disappear at all, as though they’re slowly disappearing from ads? Probably, no. Anyway, there will always be women who want to demonstrate their bodies as an open book. And always be men who want to see these types of women. And be they blithe and bonny, modern fashion is wonderful and various as it leaves opportunities for self-expressing. On the contrary, who said that women cannot look sexy in a modest outfit? Michael Kors stated: “I’m convinced that women look more attractive when they wear clothes that give them confidence, and not those that make them always pull the skirt down and fix the straps.” Michael Kors is the man of his word. In his collections, he suggests women “dress and go” clothes.
What is your holy grail? Familiar silhouettes, dress-cases with decollete, short snug skirts or skinnies? Or loose-tailored, long-sleeved and dresses below the knees? You are the only one to choose!
Maya Tulchynska, fashion blogger