Less Skin

By Manolo the Shoeblogger

Manolo says, look at this story!

Hip-hugging jeans and tight-fitting tiny tops are out. Less skin is back in for the young American.

U.S. fashion experts say a trend toward modesty is evident in new fall styles for clothing aimed at girls in their early teens, and will become more common with spring 2006 designs.

“We’re seeing skirt hemlines that are at the knee and are very demure, very proper pants, prim tops and large pearl necklaces,” said Gloria Baume, fashion market director for Teen Vogue. The magazine showcases fashion and photography much like its parent publication Vogue.

Baume, who said she looks to European fashion runways to spot what will be hot for American teens, said designers have been focusing on “ladylike and almost old-fashioned” styles that were inspired by the 1950s.

That would phase out the belly-baring, skintight numbers championed by the likes of Britney Spears. “There is nothing form-fitting about the latest fashions,” Baume said.

Does that mean the low-rise jean fad is over?

“I hope so,” said Baume. “I don’t like them. That style has been around for four years and I think girls are getting tired of it.”

CosmoGIRL! magazine fashion editor, Tara McBratney, agrees there is a new trend toward modesty in fashion, but she says it has little to do with pressure from conservative elements in society.

“Fashion is a cycle,” McBratney explained. “We got to the point where the jeans were as low as they could go, shirts were as cropped as they could go, baby tees were as tight as they could go, so the natural progression is for fashion to go the other way.”

This woman, the Tara McBratney, she is wrong. Yes, to some of the extent, the fashion it is the cycle, with the hemlines going up and down in the somewhat predictable manner. However, the Manolo he believes that this it is indeed the beginning of the partial return to the standards of the dignity and the comportment that once ruled.

Do not forget that our muse the Miuccia Prada, she has been talking about this very issue. For the example, here in this recent interview in the GQ.

With women, the more unhappy they are, the more undressed they are. This is true. Dignity’s another very important part of this. Sex and the City is the opposite of dignity. You have to have dignity for your body–this is with men and women. You need to have dignity towards how you are, how you dress, how you behave.

This it is so perfectly true, and so perfectly self-evident that the Manolo he cannot understand why it took so long for so many persons to realize it.


24 Responses to “Less Skin”

  1. Schelau Says:

    How refreshing! I love the comments by Miuccia Prada on having dignity for ourselves as women. That is a message we all need to hear and encourage one another with. Here’s to Confident, Healthy, and Dignified Women!!!

  2. La Cabrita Says:

    Finally, someone in the fashion world brave enough to speak the truth about Sex & The City. Any time a friend would refer to some thing or some concept from the show I would have to remark that I just couldn’t watch it. It embarrassed me and I feel sorry for those who model their lives after those women.

    Certainly, sexual freedom and liberation are good things. No doubt about that. But it’s what people do with it that is bad. Simply because we’re free to wear certain things doesn’t mean we should.

    Most of the men I know and respect (father, brothers, brothers-in-law, boyfriend) all agree that “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” doesn’t translate to “dress like a Hooters waitress.” “Flaunting it” can be very subtle. Flaunting it in a subtle way is very empowering.

    Sure, if a piece of ass is handed to a man on a gold-plated platter, depending what’s going on in his life, he may take it. And I understand that. I have a pulse. But I guarantee he won’t treat it with respect, dignity and love. Most men’s first reaction to boobs on the half-shell and ass-crack jeans is “whoa, wow.” And some go past that and hit it. But more and more the men I know, post “wow, jeez,” ask themselves, “what’s she hiding? who hurt her? has she no self-respect?”

    Thanks for this. It made my day. Honor, respect and dignity are timeless trends.

  3. LF Says:

    I don’t know what cracked me up more — the great Manolo or La Cabrita with his “boobs on the half shell” and “ass-crack jeans.” What a visual!!! Bravo!

  4. shmarollynn Says:

    Thank God.

  5. DAFINA GIRL Says:

    So, so true. Thank goodness for the return to dignity. Of course, you can still be a ho in pearls, which should be a relief to many.

  6. The Scarlett Says:

    The Scarlett prefers to be a lady in public and assert her inner ‘ho in pearls’ in private with her hubby. Both parties are very satisfied with this arrangement.

    The Scarlett shall raise a flute of Krug to toast a return to modesty … right after she dons her Mikimotos.

  7. deja pseu Says:

    Have to chime in to agree with the Manolo and the Miuccia. Dignity is a very underrated commodity these days. Classy can be sexy.

  8. Camera Obscura Says:

    The fashionistas, they have been proclaiming the “return of modesty” for a year now. Alas, it has not come across the Camera’s field of view yet. Perhaps it is punishment for the Camera, who moved away from L.A. and back to the flyover where the latest fashion is late in arriving. But even on the television, the Camera is still seeing the so-tight tops and the mini-skirts that start at the top of the crack and barely continue beyond the other end. And would someone please inform the girls of teenager-ness that if the skin rolls over the top of the low-cut jeans and skirts, perhaps the clothes are a teeny bit too tight, or better yet completely inappropriate?

    (cough, cough) Scuzi, the Camera will put away the soapbox now.

    The Scarlett, she has it right.

  9. Virginia Says:

    While I’m all for dignity, Prada’s statement is, strictly speaking, b.s. If “with women, the more unhappy they are, the more undressed they are,” then, conversely, burka-wearing Afghans must be the happiest women in the world. And American women were a lot happier a century ago. Why does Prada show her legs? Is she unhappy?

  10. anne arkham Says:

    Beautifully put, Manolo.

  11. alex Says:

    They were heralding a return to modesty back when they were simultaneously praising Britney Spears as a return to chastity. One can make the clothes, but one can’t make the fourteen-year-olds wear them.

  12. karla Says:

    In the same vein, I remember an economist who woite that the more unsatisfied and unsettled the world is politically, the more extreme and ornate the fashions go. The more confident and satisfied with the economy, the fashions are simpler.

    Which kind of fits the way fashions are now…extremely ornate and funky, with an unsettled world, and then think back to the 90’s, when everything was black and simplistic (The Monastic look anyone?) and the economy was booming.

    Anyone else ever hear that theory? It does hold up….

  13. Annalucia Says:

    The Annalucia, she is not sure if the theory reported by Karla will hold up. The fashions of the nineteen-thirties were soft and drapey and flattering to the woman’s figure but not at all immodest; those of the early nineteen-forties were sharp, smart and tailored. And to say the least, the world was very much unsettled economically and politically during that period.

    Other than that, the Annalucia can only second the remarks made by the Scarlett and the Camera Obscura. And it is not only the teenagers who need to know that the super-tight is not sexy on the billowing figure. The Annalucia has just returned from the thirtieth-anniversary college reunion with her husband, and the sight of the fiftysomething woman in the tight white sweater and the sharply-outlined belly rolls was enough to sour the wine in her glass.

  14. Tania Says:

    Oh, thank heavens. Maybe I’ll finally be able to buy a fashionable pair of pants again without looking in horror in the mirror in the fitting room as I realize I have grabbed a pair with a one-inch zipper. Perhaps the girls who are built like 12-year-old boys have been able to wear these things, but for the Tania, it has been despair. Not that I am particularly offended by nakedness–in 90-degree New York weather, I understand that it becomes pretty nearly a tropic here and all kinds of people shed dignity as they seek comfort–but as a woman of some vanity, I prefer clothing that can hide a bit. Nakedness may be comfortable, but it certainly doesn’t let you skew the truth to your advantage. So I am glad that we will be leaving the stripper clothing to the strippers, and perhaps some clothing that covers the body will show up in the store. So long as we do not return to the armpit-high pants of yesteryear. I don’t want to see the exit of one-inch zippers only to find a return of the 10-inch zipper.

  15. dowdydiva Says:

    Hootchie couture will always be with us, as will understated sexiness. But it is certainly nice to see the starlets and the junior misses underplay that front and back cleavage and dress more age-appropriate.

    I now have to work “boobs on the half shell” into every sentence I say today.

  16. Tia nieve Says:

    The Tia is proud to be associated with a woman such as the Scarlett, with her Mikimotos and her oh so appreciative husband. Brava!

    And it is the opinion of the Tia that the aptly named Tara McBratney has not been observing fashion long enough to have witnessed a complete cycle of which she speaks.

    Perhaps one could call it “return to dignity”, but the Tia hopes it will be a “return to quality and classic style.”

  17. La BellaDonna Says:

    La BellaDonna, she agrees with the Annalucia; she thinks that this economist has perhaps heard vaguely of the theory that the economy, it is tied in with the length of women’s hemlines, and has taken that ball and run with it. The “ornate” and “funky” styles of “today”, if the Karla is referring to ethnic influences on the Western fashion designers, come to us from cultures where they have been worn for the generations, regardless of the turmoil in the rest of the world. The poor ladies in their burkhas, they are not wearing the “funky” and “ornate,” yet there is the great turmoil.

    La BellaDonna, she buffs her pearls and raises her glass with the Scarlett, the Annalucia, the Camera Obscura, the Tia, and all others so inclined.

  18. Gina Says:

    Hooray! I work near the Jr. section in a dept store, and I’m soooo tired of seeing flabby teenaged bellies and butt crack.

  19. Muffy Wong Says:

    When, oh when will the fashion practice of women be “Knowing their bodies and wearing what fits” rather than wearing what is “in?”

    It’s as if 85% of women (and men) don’t check the mirror before leaving the house. Trends come and go but they’re pointless if people just mindlessly follow them. Large pearls are great but only on the right necks. Low waist jeans are fabulous, but not when they pinch and all flab is hanging over and out.

  20. Giabella Says:

    The Giabella agrees with the alex, and silently thanks the Madonna that the only offspring of the Giabella, he is the boy.

  21. tia nieve Says:

    The Tia is interested in the theory of the Karla, that extreme and ornate fashions are popular during times of turmoil while simple fashions are popular in times of confidence, and she would like to research it.

    However, the Tia wonders if perhaps the horse is following the cart — that is, as economists look back they assess a fashion period as “simple” or not subjectively to fit their theory. The granny skirts and disco clothes of the seventies might equally be considered more, or less “extreme” than the clothes of the sixties, while the big hair and huge shoulderpads of the eighties might equally be considered a step more extreme or less extreme, depending on one’s point of view.

    The Tia points out, also, that one reason the fashions of the forties included shorter skirts and less flowing fabrics than the fashions of the thirties was the effort by US and British governments to conserve fabric and divert resources to the war effort — no more bias cut gowns, my dears, rather the spare and simple suit-skirt for the use of less yardage.

    The Tia is grateful to the Manolo, the Karla, La BellaDonna and the Annalucia for posing this topic to divert the Tia from the oh-so-dull duties the Tia should be performing this morning!

  22. JoeB Says:

    The JoeB would only like to echo the many brilliant comments in the thread. I shudder to think of what my own daughter might be wearing if the trends did not shift. When we reach a point where the barbarians at Aberzombie and Bitch are selling thongs to preschoolers, we must bring things back into a more respectable place.

    Besides, demure is so sexy.

  23. Moledog Says:

    Giabella, you are a chauvanist.
    What Italian mother would not prefer a boy?
    I know, I’ve got one. (an Italian mother)

  24. VeddyVeddyBadMan Says:

    I just wonder why these girls don’t feel uncomfortable with all their skin showing. I’m 32 and in okay shape and I still feel uncomfortable showing too much cleavage or if my belly accidentally comes into view. Maybe it helps that I grew up in a house with a father and three brothers (plus a Mom who wouldn’t all my skirts to be too short, within reason). I remember in the late 80’s and early 90’s, we would wear those tight knit tube skirts that would ride up when you walked – those could certainly be kind of risqué. But they did come up to our waists, and on the top, we wore big oversized sweaters and shirts. These days, you don’t just show off one part of your anatomy, like in the good old days of “pick one thing and go with it”. Now, you have to show off your cleavage, your belly, your butt and your legs! All at the same time! My husband and I walk through the mall in amazement, wondering just how much more these kids can show – I think it’s about at the limit right now. Hence the (hopefully!) trend of going back to being stylish, not slutty.

    And on the topic of waistband-flab: I can’t help but smile in amazement whenever I see the big fat rolls sticking out of the tops of pants. It’s so embarassing, but they seemingly have no idea.

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
Copyright © 2004-2009; Manolo the Shoeblogger, All Rights Reserved

Manolo Blahnik Says
"Manolo the Shoeblogger?
Sorry, not me. But it’s very
funny, isn’t it? Hilarious!”

Manolo Recommends

Free Overnight Shipping at Endless.com

Shop Shoes.com

NORDSTROM.com - Shop Boots Under $100

Saks Fifth Avenue

Net-a-Porter US


"The King of the Fashion Blogosphere" ~ Linda Grant

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Mr. Manolo Blahnik. This website is not affiliated in any way with Mr. Manolo Blahnik, any products bearing the federally registered trademarks MANOlO®, BlAHNIK® or MANOlO BlAHNIK®, or any licensee of said federally registered trademarks. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the author.

Follow the Manolo on TwitterBefriend the Manolo on Facebook!


  • Abel Munoz
  • Alber Elbaz
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Anne Klein
  • Aquatalia
  • Ask Miss Plumcake
  • Ayyyyy!
  • Bad Fashion
  • Balenciaga
  • Bargains
  • Be Super Fantastic
  • Bernardo
  • Betsey Johnson
  • Beverly Feldman
  • Bloch London
  • Books
  • Boots
  • Botkier
  • Brian Atwood
  • Bruno Magli
  • Build the Outfit
  • Burberry
  • Camper
  • Carmen Steffens
  • Carnivale of Couture
  • Carolina Herrera
  • Celebrity
  • Chanel
  • Christian Dior
  • Christian Louboutin
  • Cinema
  • Clothing
  • Coach
  • Cojo
  • Cole Haan
  • Consolation of the Shoes
  • Crocs
  • Culture
  • Cynthia Rowley
  • Delman
  • Diane von Furstenberg
  • Doings of Manolo!
  • Dolce & Gabbana
  • Dolce & Gabbana
  • Donald J. Pliner
  • Donna Karan
  • Due Farina
  • El Dantes
  • Elie Tahari
  • Fab Four
  • Fashion
  • Fashion Designers
  • Fashion History
  • Fit Notes
  • Flats
  • FN Shoe Star
  • Forums
  • Franco Sarto
  • Frye
  • Giambattista Valli
  • Giorgio Armani
  • Giuseppe Zanotti
  • Gucci
  • Handbags
  • Hasselhoff!
  • Horrors
  • How To
  • Is It a Shoe?
  • Isaac Mizrahi
  • Jerome C. Rousseau
  • Jewlery
  • Jil Sander
  • Jimmy Choo
  • John Galliano
  • Jonathan Kelsey
  • JP Tod's
  • Kate Spade
  • Kenneth Cole
  • La Canadienne
  • Liam Fahy
  • Lin Yu Chun
  • Loeffler Randall
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Malene Birger
  • Manolo Blahnik
  • Manolo's Internet Friends
  • Marc Jacobs
  • Media
  • Men's Shoes
  • Michael Kors
  • Miss Plumcake
  • Missoni
  • Miu Miu
  • Miuccia Prada
  • Moschino
  • Music
  • Nicolas Ghesquiere
  • Nicole Brundage
  • Nicole Miller
  • Oscar de la Renta
  • Pedro Garcia
  • Platforms
  • Pour La Victoire
  • Prada
  • Project Runway
  • Pucci
  • Pumps/Court Shoes
  • Pure Evil
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Rebecca Taylor
  • Reed Krakoff
  • Rene Caovilla
  • Robert Clergerie
  • Roberto Cavalli
  • Roger Vivier
  • Rupert Sanderson
  • Salvatore Ferragamo
  • Sandals
  • Sergio Rossi
  • Shoe Personalities
  • Shoemaker Saturday
  • Shoes
  • Sigerson Morrison
  • Sneakers
  • Stella McCartney
  • Stuart Weitzman
  • Tabitha Stevens
  • Taryn Rose
  • Television
  • Thakoon
  • The Manolosphere
  • Tory Burch
  • Trends
  • Ugg
  • Uncategorized
  • Valentino
  • Vera Wang
  • Versace
  • Via Spiga
  • Wedges
  • What the Manolo Is…
  • Whose Shoes Wednesday
  • Will's Fancy
  • Yves Saint Laurent
  • Zac Posen