This will come as a surprise to some: there was a time before bodycon. Remember the days? Remember when you first saw that skirt made of elastic in Topshop and scorned it, wondering if Topshop was bored and doped up on ibuprofen? Well, I bet that between then and now, you have owned one. You’re forgiven. I did it. We all did it. Be it the staple skirt or the ‘I’m so over you’ dress – or, come to that, the ‘I’m so into you’ dress. But there’s no getting rid of it, it’s an all-year-round, all-shops sensation! It has been a part of high-street fashion for too long and I am completely, utterly, devastatingly bored of the bodycon.
I’m not just talking tight, I mean the whole ‘bandage’ thing. Those strips of fabric so brazenly stitched together, completely plain and already moulded into an hourglass shape. Think about the beads and feathers of the twenties; the swishing, spinning skirts of the fifties; the bright, sexy shifts of the sixties. Now our eveningwear of choice is bodycon. It has only one purpose: to enhance your body. It has no intrinsic appeal. Its entire existence is based around hugging the right curves and holding in the wrong ones. An advantage, yes, but this is not all that clothes are for. Am I the only one who thinks clothes should be beautiful in their own right? Of course what we wear on a day to day basis will never be ‘art’, like couture can. But that’s not to say that a dress can’t look nice on the hanger, and be beautiful as an object. Bodycon is featureless. Bodycon is only relevant to life when filled by a body, which, whilst in such a vulnerable, elastic-coated position, is subject to scrutiny by every human being who comes within five yards of it.
I concede that sometimes it is a useful phenomenon. I used to dig out a bit of bodycon, for example, when I was trying to get into clubs, embarrassingly underage. It’s also a failsafe ‘goes-with-anything’ option: it’s often black, and it doesn’t have shape other than the shape of your body, so it won’t ruin your silhouette. Its main characteristic is that it attracts male attention, and if you want that kind of attention, fair enough – but choose tight things that have the added bonus of being aesthetically pleasing. Exhibit A: hotpants. There’s no shortage of embellished ones, or velvet, or leather – something with some texture or pattern. That way you can enjoy people ogling your arse whilst protesting to your boyfriend that they “might just like the fabric”.
Of course, we all like to look the best we can – obviously you’ll love a dress more if it’s a flattering cut. And there are some pieces, like a statement top or pair of heels, that need the rest of your outfit to be toned down so you don’t look like you’re trying to start a revolution. But the gist about plain bodycon is this: your clothes are an external representation of yourself. Even if your wardrobe is inconsistent, or eclectic, they reflect the mood you’re in that day. If you wear unadulterated, un-accessorised bodycon, you are asking for sexual attention. And not only is that blatantly obvious to everyone, not only do the guys not even need to take you home in order to gauge the visuals of your naked body, but it is DULL. If you’ve got it, by all means flaunt it, but please try to flaunt it in something more interesting.