It’s that time of year again. We trade in our oversized cotton sleep shirts for pale pink, silk nighties, we pour ourselves a large glass of rosé, and we shovel popcorn into our mouths, all while simultaneously crying. It’s finally the beloved Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. We suddenly become self-conscious, angered, sad, and envious. Why don’t my legs look like Doutzen’s? How does Alessandra weigh 90 pounds and still have boobs? Wait, did Karlie just say her favorite food is cookies and she only works out three times a week? We’re frustrated by Victoria’s Secret’s perception of the “perfect body,” dressing Barbie-like statures in embellished bras and garter belts. And yet we still stare doe-eyed at the TV, comparing our bodies to an unachievable and unrealistic model.
Every December, ten million viewers will prepare to watch these model bodies strut down the Victoria’s Secret catwalk. The “perfect body” is showcased on the televisions of both men and women of all ages. However, FIT graduate Lauren Rich has set out to redefine the “perfect body,” by creating an “Anti-Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.” Founding the Lingerie Fashion Week in 2012, Rich has used the fashion capital of the world, New York City, to draw attention to new and innovative lingerie designers. A somewhat “racy” idea in general, this year’s October show was particularly attention grabbing. Yes, scantily clad women still strutted down the runways, but this time they showed more than just skin. The runways bared an array of races, sizes, and ages.
Onlookers smiled as size 0-16 models shared runways with mothers-to-be and courageous breast cancer survivors. A sense of confidence and empowerment was palpable as women of all shape and sizes took to the runway. Like the models, the lingerie designers differed in terms of price, origin, and theme. Lingerie designers included “You! Lingerie,” “Fruit of the Loom,” and “Bunny Blanc.” On the final day of the Lingerie Fashion Week, the breast cancer survivors and current cancer warriors confidently owning the runway further inspired the audience. A portion of the ticket sales supported the PinkChoseMe Foundation.
Upon the closing of Lingerie Fashion Week, Rich firmly stated, “From the beginning we envisioned Lingerie Fashion Week as a platform to embrace and celebrate a wide range of intimate apparel brands, and hence body types, from petite to full bust to full maternity. Lingerie is not one-size-fits-all, and neither are the women who wear it—on, and off, the runway.”
And we agree. Women, of all shapes and sizes, should embrace their differences because one-size-fits-all is an unrealistic and unnecessary concept. As cliché as it is, we are more beautiful when we embrace our flaws. My thighs are not nearly as thin as Karlie Kloss’, but that does not make me any less beautiful. Though it may be difficult to remember when we are constantly flooded with Photo-shopped images, confidence is the real foundation of beauty.
Like Lauren Rich, we must take this cultural battle into our own hands in order to point society towards redefining beauty. The spectrum of women showcased is more empowering than a pair of extravagant Angel wings. So, as we prepare for the upcoming Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, put the tissues aside and smile. It’s our choice and responsibility to accept our bodies, to accept our differences. At the end of the day, accepting yourself for who you are—both inside and out—is what makes you incredibly beautiful.