The fashion blogosphere has been a buzz for days as a result of news that male mannequins are dropping some serious pounds. That’s right, British mannequin purveyor, Roostein has said that it will soon debut its skinniest male form ever–one equipped with a 35″ chest and a 27″ waist. Even more shocking however, is the fact that “there’s evidence that the new paradigm has given rise to male anorexia,” New York magazine argues. Their proof: Roostein’s original male mannequin from 1967 featured a 42″ chest and a 33″ waist and from then on things have only downsized. (New York also points out that the number of men with eating disorders from 1990 to the present has more than doubled from 10% to 25%.)
Calorie counting aside, I’d argue that these slimmer mannequins are really just more of the same. Fashion’s appetite for increasingly slender male forms in fact originates from the same thin-loving core that has collectively turned size zero into the sample size around which entire ready-to-wear collections are based. No, I’m not just arguing that men are being affected by the same anti-curves proponents that make size 4 models think they’re fat (although there’s something there for sure). The fact is, garments look better in smaller sizes. And women, err girls, with next to no curves double better as hangers than do the Crystal Renns of the world.
This is the reason that at high-end boutiques size 2 and 4 garments are consistently the ones left on the racks, while if you’re looking for a bigger size you’re encouraged to ask a sales associate so she or he can then fetch it from the back. Besides, if you really want someone to blame for men’s wear’s obsession with thinness, talk to Hedi Slimane. The man single-handedly changed the male silhouette. And, now it seems mannequins are finally catching up.