Sarah Jessica Parker lives on earth with the rest of us

UPDATE: One size 18/20 reports the clothes don’t fit any better than other lines’ larger sizes: “You can’t just take a shirt designed for a size 2 body and add more fabric. Clothing cut for an average size woman WILL NOT fit a fat girl no matter how much you increase the pattern size. We just don’t have the same kind of body. We need more boob room, larger arm holes, more allowance across the shoulders and a wee bit more length in our shirts and sweaters. Give us more room in the thigh of pants, more ass room, more forgiving waistbands.”

Sarah Jessica Parker has put her name on a line of clothes. Her manifesto states: “It is every woman’s inalienable right to have a pulled-together stylish, confident wardrobe with money left over to live.” The prices? Not Hollywood-affordable. Real People Affordable, with a helluva lot of pieces at $10.98.

Now, of course, it should also be every woman’s inalienable right to wear clean, pressed clothes and think no more on the subject and get jobs and promotions and dates because of who she is and what she does, not how she looks. But even men aren’t that lucky. We judge everyone by appearance, which I think sucks, but where it differs for women is that we’re constantly being told we must spend more than men do on clothes, we must not wear the same item over and over like men do, we must wear trendy crap even if it looks bad on certain body types and we should feel bad about our bodies when we don’t fit every trend the designers spit out. In short, that we should be slaves to the fashion industry – eager, willing, self-loathing slaves – or forfeit the right to expect anyone to treat us well.

This is bullshit. The older you get, the easier it is to see that, but in the meantime there’s always a huge bunch of young women and teenage girls on the planet who are bombarded with these messages and have not yet figured out how hilariously stupid they are.

SJP’s clothing line isn’t just affordable; it’s non-trendy. The pieces are classic styles that don’t need to be thrown out at the end of the season after everyone is, like, so over that. They’re also styles that look good on various body types. Whether they will or not, I don’t know, but at least the pitch is different from the usual crap we hear. For example:

The BITTEN collection was designed for women of all ages and sizes, with a full size range from XS-XXL in tops, 0-22 in bottoms, and 5-11 in shoes.

Clothes shouldn’t be hugely important. But since we have an industry that’s capitalized on making them tremendously important and using messages of shame and blame to pressure women into thinking there’s something wrong with them, it’s good to see a different message coming from someone who’s right in the middle of the appearance obsession, and knows it for the joke it is.

Comments

  1. scarlett says

    Wow, flat, stylish, cheap shoes. TWO PAIRS!!! I want! Quick, what’s the US equivilant of an Aus 8 :p

    I do like the sentiment behind the line, though; classic, affordable clothes. I think women are far more the victims of trends than men are, with higher expectations and higher prices.I really like that it’s being promoted by someone who’s considered a fashion icon – maybe that will make women stop and think. ANd it doesn’t surprise me that it’s SPJ of all people who’s promoting it… she’s always struck me as a little outside the hollywood sqauare.

  2. says

    Wow, flat, stylish, cheap shoes.

    *faints*

    I hate hearing people on this or that makeover show being told, “You don’t have the body for this.” Would it kill them to say, “This isn’t the right style for you”? Wasn’t there a time when clothes were cut to fit our bodies and make them look good, and not the other way around? I seem to recall our bodies were here first.

    And it doesn’t surprise me that it’s SPJ of all people who’s promoting it… she’s always struck me as a little outside the hollywood square.

    There’s a “Square Pegs” joke there, but I am biting my tongue and won’t make it.

  3. says

    Scarlett, unfortunately these clothes aren’t available outside the US yet, but they say they’re working on that and they will be. I don’t have one of the stores where they’ll be sold in my area, either, so it looks like we’re both out of luck for the moment.

    Thal, that’s exactly it – clothes should fit our bodies, not the other way around. “This isn’t the right style for you” is such a different message than, “Oh, honey, you just can’t get away with that!”

  4. Mecha says

    In a bit of sadness, while you don’t live close to one, I live very close to one of those stores. In the wrong direction for ‘I drive by it on the way to work’ close, but it’s less than 5 minutes away. I’m tempted to go just to support the store model of affordability. A little cruising reveals that the stores (Steve and Barry’s) also seem to do do inexpensive sports shoes (Venus Williams being one of the celebs involved) and in general try to keep low cost/high quality.

    -Mecha

  5. says

    Cheap clothes for normal-sized women is certainly a noble cause. I just wish that Sarah Jessica Parker wasn’t involved. It’s kind of hard to take her seriously about this stuff, when she was the protagonist of Sex and the City, a show which routinely showed women to be vain, silly, naive, and clothing-obsessed.
    Am I wrong?

  6. says

    I didn’t watch SitC much, but from what I did see, it didn’t impress me.

    That said, she didn’t write the series, and it’s not like there were loads of better roles for women that she could’ve chosen instead. She probably has a great deal more options when it comes to product endorsement, so I see SitC as indicative of where the writers and filmmakers are at, and this choice of clothing line as indicative of where SJP is at.

  7. MaggieCat says

    Wasn’t there a time when clothes were cut to fit our bodies and make them look good, and not the other way around? I seem to recall our bodies were here first.

    Not really, no. You have to go back centuries– many centuries, millennia even– to find a period in which women were not expected to conform to a certain physical standard, be it through dieting, confining and restraining clothing, surgical intervention, or a combination of all three. The so-called “ideal” changes wildly over the years, but it’s almost always been something that only a very small portion of women can attain naturally.

  8. says

    Oh of course, silly me, I keep forgetting. *sigh* I saw a vintage ad for a maternity corset the other day. It was…gah.

    The so-called “ideal” changes wildly over the years

    Oh, I could blather for ages about our culture’s perception of 21st century U.S. beauty standards (eternal, unchangeable, and justified by Evo-Psych (TM)!!), but usually I just end up thinking what a shame it was that pre-modern artists never realized what hideously ugly women they’d selected to depict Roman goddesses and such–such poor, ignorant fools, those Renaissance masters…

  9. says

    Oh, Evo-Psych. And I remember when big breasts weren’t in fashion. It was some ancient time in the past known as the 80′s. And the 70′s. And the 60′s… but doncha know men are hard-wired to lust after big gigantic jugs, because they’re, um, really necessary for, um, no particular reason, seeing as they can’t do anything that smaller breasts can’t… but it’s hard-wired for sure, yep! ;)

  10. MaggieCat says

    Heh, I can (and have) been known to go off on random boring tangents of varying length about the history of fashion, including the disturbing coincidence where almost every time women gain some sort of advancement in rights, the beauty standard goes into something particularly appalling and difficult to reach.

    but usually I just end up thinking what a shame it was that pre-modern artists never realized what hideously ugly women they’d selected to be Roman goddesses and such–such poor, ignorant fools, those Renaissance masters…

    I know, whatever were they thinking? Of course no one in the future could possibly have such a reaction to say, Calvin Klein ads. ;-)
    (Oh, I just gave myself a bad bad flashback to 10th grade global history class and people mocking Rubens… )

  11. says

    doncha know men are hard-wired to lust after big gigantic jugs, because they’re, um, really necessary for, um, no particular reason, seeing as they can’t do anything that smaller breasts can’t…

    Pishposh, boobies don’t need to DO anything–their whole purpose is to make men think they do something. They’re lures, just like the little lights on the heads of angler fish, that for some reason make women look like good mothers. Of course, as you say, size matters not, but apparently men will fall for the same trick literally forever.

    MaggieCat, my favorite disturbing beauty coincidence is the one where the villainesses and other women we’re not supposed to like in books or movies fit the beauty standards of their time, while the plucky heroine or love interest lives in shame because she fits the beauty standards of OUR time. Then the reader gets to feel all smug because they, unlike all these mean fictional characters, actually appreciate the Ugly Duckling, and the male lead gets to flatter her and be her hero, because…blah blah it’s totally screwed up and I’ve gone on long enough blah.

    I know, whatever were they thinking? Of course no one in the future could possibly have such a reaction to say, Calvin Klein ads.

    Inconceivable. We have found True Beauty, and it is us. …Well, 1% of us anyway.

  12. Lea says

    Alas, my friend Carrie tried on some of the items in SJP’s line back in early December, and her prognosis was not good.

  13. sbg says

    Ah, Lea, that’s disappointing. I was actually really happy SJP had even made the leap with a good size range…and didn’t even consider that she wouldn’t consider there are different body needs with those sizes. Heck, I’m not plus sized but I have tremendous difficulty finding a top or dress that fits in the arm (and isn’t tent-like everywhere else, because I have to go up umpteen sizes just to get my fat arms in the sleeves without constriction…).

    I saw her pimping the line on an Oprah re-run and I should have clued in, since all the models were rail thin. It would have been nice to see the proof in the pudding by having her show her clothes with variously sized models.

  14. says

    but doncha know men are hard-wired to lust after big gigantic jugs

    Ha!

    :)

    As someone with “big gigantic jugs” I can tell you that guys only like to talk about how they are “hard-wired to lust after” them. In my experience, they mostly just like to point at them and make comments about them and use them as an excuse to ignore the person who has them.

    I figured out early on that if big was really what men wanted, Victoria’s Secret would carry bras in my size.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.