Curves and the free market


The obesity epidemic, where couch potatoes consume too many, well, potato chips and end up looking like overstuffed potatoes, rages on. So, too, the corresponding popularity of diet crazes, allowing hope to people aspiring to a heroin chic waif—like look.

And now a reaction to all that in the happy realistic middle——or bottom.  Responding to changing women's shapes, as exemplified  by such movies pointedly titled Real Women Have Curves, and such personalities as Jennifer Lopez with her celebrated rounded rump, along come clothing manufacturers with some fuller jeans in the rear and curvier, much curvier, store mannequins on which to display them. 

Retailers looking to move more pairs of curve—clinging, butt—hugging jeans are turning to a plastic humanoid named "Sex." And this single—named mannequin, with shapely 35—inch hips, is helping to sell 'em.

With molded fiberglass arms folded seductively over her chest, Sex wants you to focus only on her tush. And, obviously, wants you to buy the low—slung jeans that she's likely wearing in store windows and on sales floors at the Limited, Express and some Saks Fifth Avenue stores.

She may still be an unrealistic size 4, but "the Sex mannequin is different because we've added to her behind to fill in the jean," says Dwight Critchfield, creative director at mannequin maker Goldsmith LLC. "I designed this not as a political statement, but the trend in the largest—selling item in the world —— jeans —— needed a better way to be displayed." With rounded hips 2 inches larger than usual mannequins, Sex takes a backward approach to the bottom line.

Well, good for them.  Those aging female baby boomers have gotten a bit thicker——not heavier or obese mind you, just a little thicker, but still want to look good.  Those hipless mannequins and the clothes draped on them just weren't them.  So in fine free market fashion the powers that be reacted quickly to satisfy them. 

And that should make everyone happy.

Ethel C. Fenig   7 7 05