The latest slew of shows (Spring Summer 2017) had the world’s top designers boasting body parts like upper abdomens at Fendi, obliques at Celine and hips at Louis Vuitton. These are more obscure than the traditional décolletage and legs which traditionally were revealed by women.
Abbie was interviewed by Harper’s Bazaar and asked to share her perspective as a nutritionist who works with all shapes and sizes, what her thoughts were on this evolution by the fashion industry. The article is in the March 2017 Australia Harper’s Bazaar Issue.
Read below for the transcript of the full interview to see where Abbie sits on the topic of fashion, body types and more importantly, how important body confidence is, when working with the women of the world.
1. The latest slew of shows had the world’s top designers boasting body parts like upper abdomens at Fendi, obliques at Celine and hips at Louis Vuitton. These are more obscure than the traditional décolletage and legs which traditionally were revealed by women.
What are your thoughts on this evolution by the fashion industry?
It is a fascinating move by the fashion industry to reveal other body parts and cover up the cleavage in a bid to reduce the constant objectification. It feels like a contemporary feminist movement, where the designers are using fashion as a political statement. Women are getting sick of the creepy media attention, and I feel like the designers have given women who enjoy fashion, the option to look on-point and sexy without having to reveal their cleavage.
2. Breasts have recently been declared out of fashion – do you feel like this is a deliberate statement?
Everyone loves breasts so good luck convincing us. My interpretation though, is that it is cleavage, not our physical breasts that has been declared 'out of fashion'. But if you also consider the levels of objectification and misogyny that the anonymous online world has created, a stand needs to be made somewhere.
Vogue is not commanding us to cover up this season, but acknowledges that the recent shows (S/S 17) have created a new trend. This trend could be a line in the sand nonetheless and would be a powerful message for those who want to conceal against perpetrators who don't give our beautiful, all-feminine and nurturing breasts the respect they deserve. The point is we can achieve all types of sexy and should have the options - if we want to reveal or conceal any part of ourselves.
3. Do many of your clients dietary concerns reflect what’s going on in the fashion world?
How do you advise them?
I would say the fashion industry starts the conversation, but doesn’t necessarily have the last word anymore. Look at how many social media influencers are spawned out of reality TV alone every year. Some of my clients follow hundreds of instagram accounts laiden with an array of photoshopped/filtered body types. So while it’s a reflection, it isn’t cut and dry as it’s a two way dialogue now between the industry and a mass scale of individual operators. What they both have in common is that they both set unrealistic standards for their audience. As a result, what I see and work with every day, is a broad range of dietary concerns all stemming from the insecurity this causes.
My clients have physical goals which are often influenced by the fashion industry and while it is easy to simply write a plan based on the science of nutrition, what most people don’t appreciate is that these goals are actually based on feeling good about yourself. So really, their goal is psychological as well.
So while I educate my clients about nutrition and the parameters around what their particular bodies can achieve, what is most important is that they gain a positive body image along the way - it’s not all just weighing in and making tweaks to the menu. I do this by focusing on health and vitality as we work on their physical goals along the way. The net result is that due to their new understanding and appreciation of their own body, they feel in control, empowered and body confident. This is the necessary platform for women to hold themselves with confidence and dress in a way that makes them feel good. That for me is real success.
4. Are these new ‘fashionable’ body parts practical for your average client?
The areas, upper abdomens, obliques and hips, are typically considered ‘problem areas’ for many women, and to expose these areas creates a vulnerability. On the other hand there are women who are a size 6-8 but have a low level of body confidence and feel worse than our size 14-16 females who are healthy and feel confident in exposing many parts of their bodies. So again, I guess it comes down to getting your head around feeling good about yourself. From my experience, it comes down to evolving your sense of self worth to the point where you feel empowered by what you are wearing.
5. What kind of nutritional suggestions can you give to a woman trying to fine-tune her upper abdomen/obliques/hips?
Carrying extra weight in the mid section has been linked to high levels of the hormone cortisol which is secreted in response to stress. Interestingly enough, when we want to lose weight in this area, we tend to over train or under eat which in turn increases our stress hormone production.
The best approach to adjust the occurrence of fat storage in this area, is to reduce our stress response. We can achieve this by reducing caffeine as it is a stimulant that can make feelings of stress worse. Also, reduce your intake of refined sugars and processed foods with little nutritional content as they can cause blood sugar to spike and then crash rapidly which makes you feel fantastic temporarily but are left feeling fatigued and craving high fat and high sugar foods.
Try to alleviate any anxiety around your food, as this can impact your self-esteem and confidence which adds additional stress.
Now let’s concentrate on what you can include! Fresh fruits and vegetables contain lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Specifically, oranges and broccoli contain Vitamin C which works to reduce blood pressure and strengthens your immune system. Spinach provides magnesium, which reduces stress, and you can also find large amounts of magnesium in pumpkin seeds, black beans and avocado.
Fish and eggs are both a fantastic source of B vitamins and Omega 3’s. B vitamins are vital for support of neurobiology and supporting adrenal function, while research has shown that omega-3s prevent cortisol and other stress hormones from spiking.
When stress strikes, we tend to crave sweet treats, so keep temptation out of your life by keeping healthy snacks on hand like, baby carrots, almonds, and avocado.
Thank-you for reading, from Abbie at Feel Fresh Nutrition.
I always invite you to share your comments and thoughts so please do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org