Don’t Be So Cheeky
By Dixie Feldman, Contributing Writer
Esther Williams looked super sexy even with all her curves demurely covered.
One of the many things I cherish about “old movies” is the way their denizens are refreshingly clothed. This era of scantily clad Britneys and Christinas is enough to make one pine for the soothing subjection of a burka. My classic movie heroines can always be counted upon to do their livin’ and lovin’ without the alarming possibility of me glimpsing their hoohas dangling above my head like the Sword of Damocles. Amazingly, stars like Irene Dunne and Esther Williams always remained delectably dressed, with no danger of my ever having to see either squirm, writhe or crawl oily and half-naked.
But today, just when you thought the fashionistas had exhausted body parts to expose and espouse, it has uncovered yet another way for those with long legs and short attention spans to demonstrate their appeal. Take a walk through any suburban shopping mall, and you’ll notice “buttage” has become the new cleavage, as the behind leads the way in a relentless parade of cheeks peeking out over the top of their inadequate denim prisons. Forget hemlines rising or falling, the only thing dipping these days is waistlines.
Tsk, tsk, Tara. The leading ladies of Hollywood's Golden Era relied on talent, not tailbones.
Of course low-rise pants’ ubiquitous buttage also means miles of midriff. Has anyone ever seen Tara Reid in public without an expanse of precariously pubic flesh on display? This eternally disheveled four-minutes-twenty-seven-seconds-and-counting-on-the-fame-o-meter “It Girl” is clearly smitten with her belly and throws her midsection’s paunchlessness in our faces in a seemingly bottomless array of bottoms hovering mesmerizingly close to her starlet crotch. But then why shouldn’t lithe, little Tara celebrate this all too transient window of midriff-exposing opportunism? Since the brevity of her outfits is eclipsed only by her even briefer moment in the spotlight, why shouldn’t she take full advantage of this fortuitous convergence of scanty fame, scantier clothing,and the scantiest of all, the sweet waistline of youth.
If these grapes seem awfully sour, well, you’re probably right. The rise of low-rise pants is fine if you’re young, super-skinny, and not averse to having strangers picture placing a tiny cocktail umbrella in the crevice of your bum. (Okay, maybe that’s just me.) However, if you’re in the 99th percentile of females who don’t always feel lucky in their Lucky Brands, you’re likely to feel rear ended by the buttage juggernaut.
Irene Dunne kept her pants up and still managed to snag Cary Grant in The Awful Truth.
Nowadays, women whose hips are freakishly wider than their waists (imagine!) are somehow driven to wear clothing that is at best unflattering, and at worst, faintly obscene. I’m personally reluctant to wear my pants ultra-low. Not only will my legs put one in mind of a dachshund, these low-slung waistlines are designed to give one hips, and Mother Nature has already beaten them to it.
But thanks to Fashion’s torso totalitarianism, a woman without hip-huggers looks hopelessly un-hip. Thank goodness designers’ mercurial dictates have decreed the high waisted pant “in” for fall. (Why do they always say “pant” instead of pants?) While the hip and hipless will likely keep their crotch-hugging trousers, the rest of us fleshier females can now emerge from our closets with our dignity and our chic intact. We can once again look forward to a bright future behind us.
Dixie Feldman is a prolific writer and public speaker, popular television personality, and die-hard retrophile. She is currently working on a book about The Lost Art of Being a Dame.