Letting it all hang out is in fashion (again)

23:41, Jun 11 2013
Elizabeth Olsen
FREE AT LAST: Elizabeth and MaryKate Olsen embrace the loose layers look at the 2013 Council of Fashion Designers of America awards.

For the past decade I've expelled more energy putting on clothes than I have at the gym.

Special compression exercise tights, boned corsets and control panties - you name it, I've squeezed, tucked and yanked my flesh into it.

How Bridget Jones wriggled her pert size 12 derrière into a beige chastity belt without breaking a sweat is beyond me.

According to a former male flatmate I sound like I'm wrestling crocodiles when I'm pouring my bottom half into a pair of suffocating yet seamless bloomers. Funnily enough I'd rather go 12-rounds with a cranky 12 metre saltie than wear those damn things again.

I've always thought Spanx and the Hervé Léger bandage dress (and the vast array of "replicas") belong to people who don't have muffin tops, not those - aka me - who enjoy consuming the odd blueberry infused baked good.

As summer rolls around in the northern hemisphere, designers such as Philip Lim, Theyskens' Theory and Isabel Marant are championing the high-end gypsy look and loose, frayed denim. Think Talitha Getty with a blow dry and a brightly coloured Mulberry bag.   


Meanwhile we here down under have a whole winter of deliciously buttery leather separates by Ellery, exaggerated drop crotch bassike tuxedo pants, Josh Goot puffer vests and OTT bombers by Emma Mulholland to look forward to.

On June 1 the first thing I did was toss out the control panties and punched the air with more vigour than Judd Nelson in the final scene of The Breakfast Club because this winter will be all about oversized and exaggerated shapes. Just in time for the Cronut craze.

The biggest compliment one can receive when the chill sets in this year is something along the lines of: "You could look good in a potato sack. Where on earth did you get the one you're wearing? It's divine!"

The relaxed, "let it all hang out" silhouette is having its moment in the limelight thanks to Gatsby's 1920s drop waists, sportswear becoming a catwalk staple and the number of celebrities literally looking like coat hangers at the recent Council of Fashion Designers of America awards held in New York.

Nicole Richie in a molten gold Marc Jacobs slip, Donna Karan in what appeared to be a bed sheet and an Olsen twin in her usual layer, upon layer, upon three layers look stole the show at the CFDA awards, the US fashion industry's version of the Oscars, last week.

I've been a fan of the shapeless look for some time now so here's some unsolicited advice in case you decide to try it yourself. Because even though your skin will be liberated from restrictive reams of fabric you better develop some thick stuff. 

When your waist isn't cinched and your ribs are free from the crushing cotton prison of a fitted t-shirt be prepared to be on the receiving end of the following questions/comments:

"How long have you been backpacking for?" - I was a little crushed when my crush asked me this... in my home town.

"Brunch is at 11am. Don't be late and don't wear a crop top." - text from a close friend.

"I didn't realise the dress code was 'The Hunchback of Notre-Dame piggybacks a wombat'." - another friend who has a PhD in Bitchiness.  

"Wow! You are quite slim under all that fabric aren't you?" - an aunt after hugging me hello.

"When are you due?" - a tradie who I attempted to make small talk with at a Bunnings sausage sizzle.

"What the f..k are you wearing?" - my boss.

- Sydney Morning Herald