The idea of the flattering silhouette is dead, and Gen Z’s the culprit. Clothing, styles, and silhouettes being considered as either “flattering” or “unflattering” is a concept that has dictated mainstream fashion for generations… until now. It seems, in 2023, fashion is no longer abiding by the laws of the appropriate silhouette; instead we’re seeing proportions stretched, expanded, and inflated. But, what’s the reason?
If an outfit is “flattering”, in most cases this means that it hides your so-called imperfections and accentuates your best features. For example, a flattering pair of boots elongates your legs whilst a flattering coat cinches the waist. It’s arguable that the use of the word “flattering” is merely a substitute for saying “as close to society’s desired body type as you can get”.
Which is exactly why Gen Z’s move away from conforming to the rules of the flattering silhouette is kind of revolutionary. Whilst once considered the blanket standard for dressing which we all were meant to live by, the concept of clothing as needing to flatter has been reduced to a mere suggestion in 2023, or even something to subvert.
From Prada’s pillowy puffer jackets to Rick Owens’ bulging silhouettes, it seems we’ve developed an infatuation with the oversized, a trend in FW23 which saw the “flattering silhouette” largely abandoned, replaced with powerful and dynamic lines, shapes, and styles. Our decision to move away from wearing a silhouette which flatters is evidenced in Balenciaga’s broad tailoring, Loewe’s inflated fur coats, and even MSCHF’s big red boots.
Before, the concept of some clothing as flattering and others as not pushed us to dress in a way that totally subverted the actual silhouette of our bodies – almost like using clothing as a kind of fun-house mirror, exaggerating this part and minimising that. Which is why we’d argue that the boom in oversizing and the move away from the traditionally “flattering” silhouette is a good thing.
It shows Gen Z’s decision to take ownership of the silhouettes they wear, flattering or not, and is body-positivity in its own right. Loving your body doesn’t have to manifest itself in tight, fitted clothing; it can also be seen in shoulder-pads and puffer coats. Confidence comes in a million silhouettes. Hence, whilst the oversized silhouette might appear ridiculous, a closer look reveals that it’s actually a symbol of rebellion.
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