May 14, 2007

Fashion focuses eyes on women's chests.

Upper chests, that is. It's all about the clavicle, the clavicle that you've etched out through hardcore exercise and stringent dieting.

Because what could be sexier that a woman who is shockingly, graphically demonstrating how thoroughly she has excluded all pleasure from her life?
Toned shoppers who want to show off their self-discipline in the face of dessert are choosing dresses with a low, but not plunging neckline, a look that is transforming the area above the breasts into an unlikely new subject for women to obsess over....

Why the new emphasis on a body part most women — and more men — have paid little attention to in the past? Credit a swing of the fashion pendulum, and a malaise over “Girls Gone Wild” style.
Yes, we're bored with breasts now. Haven't you heard? We've had enough of "Girls Gone Wild." We want "Girls Gone Abstemious."
[The clavicle is] an area whose prominence is unlikely to be enhanced surgically (at least for now).
Come on, you slacker plastic surgeons. Get on this, now. Where are my clavicle implants? Figure out how to add bony-looking bumps all over the body. You've been limiting yourself to cheekbones and chins for too long.
This region has been emphasized by the skinny celebrity acolytes of the stylist Rachel Zoe, including Nicole Richie and Keira Knightley. Their ubiquitous deep V-neck tops show off sometimes skeletal frames, and other actresses have taken their cue and sized down as well, to the point that the Internet teems with fashion and celebrity bloggers and message board posters carping about protruding A-list clavicles.
Talk about me, blog about me, say what you like but talk about me. How frighteningly must I cause my bones to protrude to get you to talk about me? Blog about me, dammit!
Courtney E. Martin, the author of “Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body” (Free Press, 2007), said that many of the girls and women she interviewed for her book “talked about how far their collarbone stuck out” with pride, as an indicator of their skinniness.

Ms. Martin contends that a generation of young women raised after Title IX and the women’s movement pursue slender figures with the same rigor as they pursue admission to an Ivy League university.
Title IX?! See what happens when you make women competitive? They're just choosing their sport, the extreme sport of thinning.
When Jessica Braff, who works at an advertising agency in New York, lost 15 pounds in her freshmen year of college, the first thing she noticed was that her clavicles were more pronounced.

“I loved it,” she said. She continues to wear clothes that show off her collarbones, which she calls the “easiest and least controversial expression of a kind of sex appeal.”
Yes, it's a kind of sex appeal. The kind that says there is not the slightest thing luscious or sybaritic about me.

On the pro-clavicle side, the most interesting voice is Consuelo Castiglioni, a fashion designer:
[Her] label, Marni, incorporates chest-baring necklines into tops and dresses. The brand has long been a favorite of women seeking clothing that isn’t expressly made to attract men, including skirts with bustles and tops that flare out to obscure any semblance of a waist.

“I think it is clear from my designs that deep cleavages, tight silhouettes, visible tummies or behinds are not part of my aesthetic,” Ms. Castiglioni said in an e-mail message. “What I try to express is elegance and femininity and a more cerebral, hidden sensuality.”
Don't you see? It's intellectual.


Balfegor said...

Come on, you slacker plastic surgeons. Get on this, now. Where are my clavicle implants? Figure out how to add bony-looking bumps all over the body.

Ahhh yes. Because everyone wants to look like a Klingon.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, there's Lizardman (with his "subdural Teflon implants").

Bissage said...

I once fell madly in love with a woman who showed me her clavichord. I told her we could make beautiful music together. She said she had to go throw up and then it was off to the gym; that’s what was key. I soon realized she was just stringing me along.

al said...

we're bored with breasts now


I just don't understand the hyper-skinny skeleton look. Real women have curves.

Kevin Lomax said...

"Real women have curves."

Well yes. A nice curve to the clavicle is delightfully erotic.

Laura Reynolds said...

The fashion industry has never consulted me about what I like in a woman. Clavicles? Not on the list.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Ann wrote:

Because what could be sexier that a woman who is shockingly, graphically demonstrating how thoroughly she has excluded all pleasure from her life?

You can tell that all pleasure has been excluded from life by looking at a clavicle?

Anonymous said...

"The brand has long been a favorite of women seeking clothing that isn’t expressly made to attract men..."

Then she has indeed succeeded brilliantly.

ricpic said...

Just one more example of the freak show invasion of the main tent.

Ryan said...

I think it's sexy.

Maxine Weiss said...

It has nothing to do with dieting. If you are small boned, fine boned then you have more prominent neck indentations. It's like an Adam's apple and how some, women even, have more prominent ones, whereas some people have a thicker skin on the neck.

Someone whose neck is that bony is distracting. Graceful, but compact curves are more flattering.

Overly toned and defined indentations aren't great on a woman, as skin becomes even more thinner and bony with age.

It's better to be big boned with a thicker skin...Osteoporosis etc...

vet66 said...

Why stop at the well-tempered clavicle? I have always been fascinated by the Iliac Crests!

Hang onto the clavicle and prevent lateral movement wedged in between the Iliac Crests!

I need a cigarette!

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Ah, this is nothing new!

Meade said...

My Fair Clavicled Lady

SGT Ted said...

I missed the memo about the clavical being hawt.

Simon said...

My general rule is that being able to see bone in fairly sharp relief is the antithesis of sexy. Concededly, my taste may not exactly be mainstream, but a healthy amount of weight is to be desired. There's nothing sexy about suppressed desire, for food or otherwise.

Meade said...


You're brilliant but clearly still in your youth.

Look once more at that photo Althouse posted.

Imagine the model's thought bubble as those sexy black eyes pierce you to your... very soul:

"Darling, please... feed me. Feed my every desire."

Now, as those of us who are way too old for today's hookup culture used to recommend, go take a cold shower.

Simon said...

Meade - I don't see anything remotely sexy about the posted pic. She doesn't look sexy, she just looks young and rake-thin. Eat three square meals a day for a year and we'll take another look. ;)

Troy said...

Well-tempered clavicles are fine -- even attractive, but never more important as other .... I agree with al above.

blake said...

My wife, who has never been skinny, has always had wonderfully pronounced clavicles.

As has, I hasten to point out, Sophia Loren.

I think, like breasts, you either have 'em or you don't (in a well-fed, healthy state). If you put 'em where they don't belong, it's just going to be freakish.

StyleSpy said...

Wow. Who knew? I'm all in on the next big thing, without even trying. My clavicles are (and always have been) pretty easy to see, but I assure you that I am not flaunting them to demonstrate how thoroughly I have excluded all pleasure from my life. One quick look at my well-padded posterior will confirm this.

Robyn said...

It's all in the pose for the camera. Both in the B&W photo posted by Jeff and the lovely color shot of Sophia Loren, they are pushing their shoulders forward, while still maintaining a long neck. Try it. Now you look fabulous, even wearing your pj's in front of the computer.

Then go back and look at the scary, scrawny model that heads the post. She's doing the same sort of move, but the camera is catching her head on.

I still think the super scrawny concentration camp victim look is a bit much, and I hate the current potato sack dresses that only reveal bony necklines and knock knees (Mod Revival! Feh.) but so much is in the pose, lighting and camera angle.

Mantelli said...

My weight's smack in the middle of the normal range, according to the BMI. I HAVE breasts, 36B ones, yet my clavicle is fairly prominent.

And by the way, Al, are only large women actually "women"? Are the rest of us some other species? I was a naturally thin adolescent and young woman, and suffered quite a bit from comments like that. I'd love to see the end of that phrase in my lifetime.

e said...

I have pronounced clavicles. And no, I've not starved myself.

While I like the way they look, I find it very uncomfortable for a child to rest his/her head on my shoulders. The kids I care for always have to make sure they aren't trying to snuggle into a shoulder full of bone.

TMink said...

I think that many of the men who make the clavical centered fashion do not have the same sexual response to women that I have. NTTIAWWT. Vive la difference, but will the clothes sell?


Unknown said...

while this article does point out a trend in beauty and fashion (although not a new one) it does so in a vile manner. This kind of sarcasm really pisses me off, if you're going to write an article do it in an unhateful and intelligent manner.

the article is filed under feminism yet the tone of the article is sarcastic and hateful towards women and femininity.

Rachel said...

Losing weight to the extreme that you're skin and bones is probably the furthest thing from femininity there is. It's not feminine to resemble a starving African child.

I don't think its anti-feminist to ridicule something which in itself is anti-feminist.

Kelly said...

“I think it is clear from my designs that... visible tummies or behinds are not part of my aesthetic...What I try to express is elegance and femininity."

I always find it hilarious when fashion designers say they're designing because they love the feminine shape, but then their designs have absolutely nothing to do with the feminine shape at all, as they prefer there be no visible tummies or behinds.

Unknown said...

~rachel~ eating disorders are a relatively new phenomenon collar bones have been a sign of beauty since the 17th century.

the fact that a woman's bone is prominent is not a signpost to eating disorders and this articles patronising tone is offensive to anyone who has this elegant build and to all healthy models in the fashion business.

as one who sees (and cares for) healthy, stunning women on a daily basis as well as some sick girls, it's even hurtful

Firehand said...

...acolytes of the stylist Rachel Zoe, including Nicole Richie and Keira Knightley.
Really? They're supposed to be ideals? Last time I saw a picture of either my first thought was "Damn, she needs some pizza and cheeseburgers!"