22 May 2007

Like a slow metabolism, big calves are here to stay


Calves, ankles, wrists, breasts, fingers, shoulders, hips, ears, forehead -- these are just some of the physical features that no matter how much weight we lose or gain might never look like the ideal version - Jennifer Connelly's calves, Scarlett's breasts, Natalie Portman's perfectly proportioned face, Kim Kardashian's hips (shown above), for example - we have in mind during that all those 50 minute 6.4 mph runs we put in at the gym four days a week, 52 weeks a year.

So, if we can't easily change certain physical features but we still aren't pleased with the way we look, what are our options?

Before I go any further, I should tell you all I was inspired to write this post not because of someone I saw walking to work this morning or because of my own personal attachment to the issue but because of two scathing comments that were written in response to a comment I'd made on another DC fashion blog where I preached my usual know-your-body's-strengths-and-weaknesses-and-dress-accordingly sermon and specifically suggested that the large-calved woman in the picture should have avoided a tea-length skirt, just as Kelly Osbourne should have - among other things - before she left the house looking like she did in the picture at right.

The first retaliatory comment I received was:

"Not only are you obnoxious, you don’t even realize that you are when someone points it out. I find your constant stream of fashion-magazine-wannabee comments trite and preachy."

And the second:

"Girls like Johanna tear others down to make themselves feel better. Classic."

As is expected, women like this - the kind who believe in things like equal playing time even for the girl who can't catch or throw and who go nuts when America Ferrara loses weight because they think she's more beautiful at a size 12 than she might be at a size 6 - don't really affect me when they hurl their you're-just-insecure barbs. Truth is, yeah, I am insecure about a few things, but none of them motivated me to write the comment I did nor do they influence me to stand behind and promote the cause of figure-flattering dress. To the contrary, the reason behind my words is that I want women to take stock of their physical selves, find those two, three or ten features of which they're most/least proud and dress to highlight/downplay them. Why? Because as my friend R says, "clothing is like armor" that when put together really well can make you feel confident, beautiful, even powerful, on your darkest days. So in a sense, I actually want to help people. Fancy that.

I'm not going to address each of the difficult-if-not-impossible-to-change physical features I listed above, primarily because I know I've written about most of them in past posts (maybe not wrists and foreheads, but I'll remember them in the future...) and secondarily because I still need to eat lunch.

So on that note, I leave you with two much-improved, stylist-aided outfits in which Kelly skipped the mid-calf hem and not only looks trimmer but noticeably more confident in the way she carries herself as well.

13 comments:

intern in the city said...

I just took a trip over to our beloved PB and saw the continuing feud. I'm with you 100%. Those girls are talking like they're 18 and never had a job.

I can't stand that "no rules" bullshit. Because it's just that -- bullshit.

I love how the moderator used Naomi Campbell's tall heels as a piece of evidence to support her claim that DC style should be more chance-taking -- um, apples and oranges, hon.

bff in chicago said...

Um, sweets, for those of us not in the know, what is PB?

I could never resist a good feud, especially when YOU'RE being attacked! Let me at 'em!

bff in chicago said...

Seems there are two discrete feuds going on:

1. the figure-flattering rules feud

2. the venue-appropriate rules feud

On number 2, you've got her. There's no getting around it, compromise in certain situations is absolutely necessary. On number 1, it could go either way. The thing is, darlin', *you* always want your figure to look its best and that's what influences you when you pick out an outfit. Other women may not care that their calves look fat in a tea length skirt because they love the skirt so much it doesn't matter.

I'm like you, but some women out there are less concerned with the fact that their clothes make them look 2 sizes bigger than they are. Crazy but true.

tom h said...

bff in Chicago PB is a blog called Project Beltway it is a fashion blog....go check it out....oh by the way Jo you are right on....again common sense rules....

Anonymous said...

I don't know a single woman who doesn't dress to look her best, aka her thinnest. this woman doesn't exist.

dc girl said...

there are a few, but they are certainly not the ones in our editrix's target audience.

any woman who thinks she can get away with wearing whatever she wants whenever she wants better be prepared to meet a whole lot of judgment, not all of which will be unwarranted.

Anonymous said...

sing it sister!

dara said...

in your comment on PB's site, you say that you've suffered from disproportionately large calves? WTF? Was that a joke? Just the other day we saw your legs, and your calves were not large or disproportionate. Huh?

brown rowergirl said...

Damn, 'intern in the city' stole my thunder!

I looked up that other site, and sorry, but I think it's painfully boring. The pics and the "analysis" she writes underneath each one are like...uh, okay? Not sure why you even bother gracing them with your FAR SUPERIOR writing -- did you see the split infinitives and poor punctuation in her retort? I know it's unrelated, but I could hardly make it through the first paragraph.

Take solace in knowing you're not only right on the venue appropriate dress issue but you're also a hell of a lot more entertaining.

June 4/5 is almost here! Making a list of all the NYC nightspots you wanna hit up? Just one rule: NO MORE OLD MAN BARS!

Johanna said...

wow, guys, so much support! thanks :)

brown rowergirl - oh we're old-man-barring it, alright! Brave yourself, St. Regis, mama's back in town!

Well, she *will* be in town, anyway...

nyc admirer said...

I think you two have really different target audiences. You're the more dressed-up professional girl and she's the more urban girl. It's like comparing the Upper East Side to the West Village. Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

Just find another word besides "gi-normous." I know you were just using the word the first poster used but it really took away from your point. Made you seem a touch mean-spirited, which follow-up posts/comments indicate you are not.

Ok, off the soapbox.

D said...

love your blog