Why models look dead, and other fashion questions answered

Every so often, The Fashion Police delve into our virtual mailbag by consulting the search terms people type into Google which lead them to this site. Many of those terms take the form of questions, so, in order to try to help those poor lost souls wandering out there in the fashion wilderness, we take it upon ourselves to answer those questions (or try to, anyway). Here are some of the burning questions on our visitor’s minds this month: if you’ve ever wondered why models look dead, and if you really HAVE to wash your clothes, read on…

headless mannequin makes people wonder why models look dead

Why do models look dead?

Didn’t you hear? Looking alive is SO last season…

OK, to give this a more serious answer: we’d say most of them look more “cyborg” than “dead”, and it’s probably partly a bid to create a “blank slate” which doesn’t detract attention from the clothes, and partly just a bid to look “cool”. If you’re referring to the undernourished look some models have, however, well, that’s a much bigger issue and relates to the mistaken belief that a very thin frame makes a better “frame” to hang clothes on than a fuller one does – a bit like showing them on a hanger, as opposed to an actual human body, with all of its pesky curves and angles. This is, of course, rubbish, and we’re sure most of us would agree that we’d rather see the clothes on a range of different shapes, to get an idea of how they REALLY look, but it’s an idea some sectors of the fashion industry persists with, unfortunately.

Then, of course, there are those fashion shoots and shows where the models quite literally have been made to look like they’re “dead”. WHY this is the case depends on each shoot, and is a question that could really only be answered by the photographer/stylist, but our best guess is that many of them are attempts to be controversial or edgy, and are mostly based around the idea of fashion as art.

Why should you wash your clothes?

When this question first started to show up in our referrers we were sure someone was having a joke, but it pops up so frequently now we’re starting to think there are people out there who genuinely don’t know why they should wash their clothes occasionally. To those people: you should wash your clothes because if you don’t, they will smell, and people will start to recoil in disgust if you get too close to them. You should also wash your clothes because if you don’t, they will get dirty, and then you’ll be wearing dirty clothes. You should not, however, get carried away with this, and start washing your clothes more often than you need to or you’ll waste them, AND waste water. For more on this, see our article on how often people wash their clothes.

Why would you want a short sleeve jacket?

Mostly just because they look cute. Which is actually a perfectly acceptable reason, as far as we’re concerned. These are mostly worn in warmer weather, and function in much the same way as a waistcoat, say, or a short-sleeved cardigan, but if you want to wear one when it’s colder out, they can look good with elbow-length gloves.

Can you wear boots with capris?

You can, but it’s possibly going to look a bit odd. Capri pants can be tricky for some people because they’re designed to hit at the widest part of the calf, thus emphasising what is, for many of us, something we’d really rather not emphasise. Add boots to the mix and you’ll be drawing one more line across your leg, which can be a little bit “stumpifying”. If you want to try, though, our suggestion would be to try close-fitting boots, which fit underneath the leg of the capris without leaving a gap. Opaque tights (in the same colour as either the boots or the pants) will help here too: the trick is to avoid having a line of flesh showing, as that’ll just divide your leg up further. Really, though, we tend to think capri pants look best worn with shoes: we’d love to hear opinions on this!

Can short girls wear midi dresses?

Yes they can. Short girls can wear everything that taller girls can as long as the proportions are right. If we were to show you a photo of a short girl in a correctly-fitting midi dress, and then a photo of a tall girl in a correctly-fitting midi dress, you probably wouldn’t know which was which, unless they were standing next to each other. The shorter girl, however, will possibly have had to have her dress tailored to get that correct fit, while the taller one may not have. If you’re short, and you try to wear a midi dress designed for tall or “average” height women, it’ll look all wrong: in fact, it’ll possibly look more like a maxi than a midi. To make sure your dress hits at the right spot, try shopping from the petite section or investing in the services of a good seamstress. Alternatively, it won’t always work, but  dresses and skirts which are designed to be knee-length on taller people: they may well be “midi” length on you. Remember, a hemline which hits just below the knee will give the “midi” effect, but will be more flattering than a “true” midi dress, which should it at mid-calf.

See also: our article on how to wear a midi dress.

Can short people wear skinny jeans?

We can’t for the life of us imagine why not. Actually, skinny jeans can be easier for short people to wear, because it’s easier to find a pair that’ll fit without having to be turned up or hemmed. Our tip: look for jeans billed as “cropped”, “flood length” or “ankle”: they may be cropped on tall people, but they won’t be cropped on you!

If plus size women aren’t supposed to wear horizontal stripes why do the stores sell them?

Well, for one thing, the stores don’t actually CARE whether you look good or not (or most don’t): they just want your money. But for another thing, there is no actual rule stating that “plus size” women shouldn’t wear horizontal stripes. We actually think this is an old-fashioned idea: “plus sized” women aren’t all built the same, and some of them can look fantastic in horizontal stripes – just as some skinny women might not. It all depends on the shape of the woman, the type of stripe they’re wearing… and whether or not they care about obeying some kind of “rule”. For more on how to wear stripes, see our article here.

Do you have a burning question for The Fashion Police? Ask away, and we’ll do our best to answer in a future post!

Image © Mikhail_levit | Dreamstime Stock Photos &Stock Free Images