Friday, May 11, 2007

Food and fashion

I have to admit unabashedly that I like fashion almost as much as I like food. However, given a choice between a meal in a Michelin three star restaurant or a pair of expensive shoes, I would actually choose the restaurant. I'm more likely (not that I actually would) to spend $400 at Thomas Keller's Per Se in NYC than I am on a pair of Manolos at Barneys.

The problem is that nowadays, fashion and food are diametrically opposed. It is very hard to advocate butter, cream and chocolate in a world of 6ft tall, 120lb (and they are the fat ones) models, actresses, and wannabes. I pretty much decided that I would stop watching TV when I heard that "America's Next Top Model" was branching out to feature "plus size" contestants who were 6ft tall and wore a size 12...gasp! Reeling from the news that I am now almost "plus size" (being 6ft tall and a size 10), I decide to opt out of TV pop culture.

The last straw for me came today when I read an article in the NYT Fashion pages called "The Collar Bone's Connected to Slimness." The latest news out of NYC and LA is that the clavicle, yes the collarbone, is the new sexy. And how well one's clavicle protrudes is a sign of one's thinness. Having a thin clavicle is very important if you wear the season's trapeze dresses (aka, a very short tent w/ armholes) because the dresses suggest girth and clavicle protruding demonstrates that one is actually skinny under that tent!

By far my biggest issue about fashion is that women develop an antipathy towards food because of their desire to look or to try to look like the latest waif du jour. Waif. It used to be a word that connoted a poor, hungry child. The fact that "waif " is now a fashion descriptor means that we've reached the height of vulgarity. We are more concerned about looking waifish than about real waifs.

It is so easy to get sucked in to this body image race for perfect clavicles or whatever. Even a food lover like me sometimes has guilt about eating a certain whatever because it was too fatty or sugary. It is not OK to have guilt about eating. Eat, drink, and be merry. We are so lucky that we enjoy abundance. We are so lucky that we are alive. We must enjoy the good gifts of the earth that we have so readily available to us.

So starting today, I vow never to utter the word "diet" again. That is not to say that I won't aim to be healthy. Rather I am banishing all thoughts of body image and food-related angst from my head. Bring on the chocolate cupcakes...with a dollop of creme fraiche, please!

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