Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The boogeymen of fashion

I was interested to come across this article from the Times of India, which chronicles many of the threats fashion may pose to one's health. I'd thought I'd respond, because, well, I am a scientist. A really important one. I have one the Nobel Prize four times and I am a Professor Emeritus at MIT.

The fashion culprits here are the common ones, but I can't help but feel that the article could be a bit of an exaggeration. Here are some excerpts.

On skinny jeans:

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According to Dr Abraham, problems could be as varied as tight, skinny jeans causing blockage of pores and leading to infections around the waist and thighs to full blown hair loss and damage due to frequent changes in hair colour, texture or even hair attachments...Bone doctors say, wearing tight pants also limits the mobility of hip joints and adversely affects the spine. Medical studies show that "a too-tight waist constricts the abdominal area filled with vital organs, causing problems such as reduced lymph flow from the pelvis, improper immune system function and poor circulation."

...My word, just how tight are these hypothetical pants? Unless their fit begs the comparison to a tourniquet, noose, or the jaws of an aggrieved pit bull, I think Dr. Abraham may be overreaching here. The pants he seems to be describing would make a lady's midsection look like the top of a tube of go-gurt.

On oversized handbags:

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Says Dr Madhavi Gunasheela, a specialist in rehabilitation medicine, "Carrying heavy shoulder bags can cause both acute and chronic injuries. The shoulder strap can directly compress on the clavicle or the collar bone and other muscles in the region. Excess load borne on one side could also lead to tilting of the body to that side with associated postural problems. These altered biomechanics can change the gait and produce hip and knee problems in the long run."

...I can see why this would be a compelling argument were it in regard to backpacks or bookbags, which can indeed get very heavy. Indeed, 20th Century history is probably quite detrimental to my clavicle. But handbags? I daresay that the heaviest thing in my purse is my wallet. I wish that was heavy enough to cause long-term muscle damage, because I'd be able to afford the medical treatment. And a treehouse made of Rolexes.

On high heels:

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Researchers link high heels and knee osteoarthritis, a painful, degenerative joint disease, characterised by the breakdown of the cartilage surrounding the knee. Doctors now advise that low-heeled shoe or no heels as woman's safest bet against osteo-arthritic knees. Those in the glamour industry have no choice but others have to be careful.

Note: As a fashion blogger and human being I cannot endorse the wearing of the particular shoes pictured above.

Out of the many items this article indicts, it seems to me that high heels are probably the most dangerous. But are they as threatening as they seem here? I am tempted to say that the majority of damage of which heels are capable is probably ascribable to walking in them improperly. The heel-toe rolling motion is an important nut to crack. One needs only to examine the sole wear on pairs of used shoes to prove the fact that many walk incorrectly in heels.

Call it vanity, (go ahead! it probably is!) but I am unwilling to give up my heels. I am quite happy here in Denialville. The community is so friendly. The neighbors brought me a fine casserole when I moved in. The property taxes are low, the schools are good, and the business district boasts a variety of independently-owned shops.

If I love the look of it and it doesn't draw blood, I think I'll go right on wearing it.

13 comments:

K.Line said...

Ah, the good schools. That's how they get you :-)

Hailey @ stylesymmetry.com said...

Lol, I agree with all 3 based on my experiences. I've worn a pair jeans that were so tight they left bruises and cut off circulation, a purse that made my shoulder ache and heels (as you would know by my blog) have scarred me for life :-)
great post.

Elissa said...

I suppose the best way to avoid fashion-related injuries is to dress like Christina Ricci in Black Snake Moan? No shoes, no bag, no jeans!

Cosmonaut. said...

I loved the 'treehouse made out of rolexes'. brilliant.

Nadine said...

I also can't imagine to live without my heels ;).

Kim said...

I love the way you write, Dr. Whimsical Nerd. Because, of course, you have your PhD in fashion. Fashion Scientist. Good post. I hate skinny jeans, but it's probably because they don't make me look skinny. Love high heels, and I'm willing to accept the punishment.

Isa said...

haha, amazing post. I´d love to say article because it is so well written, I love it!
I think there is so much exaggeration when it comes to fashion.
I understand people pointing at what certain magazines do to your self esteem and thereby make you adapt eg. eating habits that are unhealthy.
but.. skinny jeans changing the colour of your.. natural hair?
I´m moving to denialville, do you know any nice place`
I´d love something with a garden and huge windows.

xx

the iron chic said...

Uh-oh. I may have some long-term skinny jean health issues....

megan said...

The heavy bag one is definetly true (and my handbags do get heavy sometimes... I just keep stuffing things in them and they become bottomless pits!), I am a bit tilted because of the past 20 years of carrying my backpack on one shoulder...

Isabel said...

Wow, they make skinny jeans sound really awful! I think its just too-tight jeans in general they must be talking about, instead of skinny jeans!

Maybe doctors are just pissed cause they have to wear scrubs all the time?

Stephanie said...

Ahahahaha I should move into Denialville with you. And I think I own that pair of skinny jeans the doctor described - when I run in them they start to cut off my circulation! Sort of.

Kieya said...

i won't be giving up my skinnies, oversized bags, or heels. guess i'll look forward to the hospital!

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