when a size 4 isn’t good enough…

…there’s something off.

It’s been interesting following Fashion Week in NYC this year because not only have beauty magazines tweeted about the shows in real-time, but articles have also come out about body image and our society’s standards. While people might know that having a size 0 standard isn’t healthy or even appropriate, small voices are making it known that it’s not ok.

The Daily News ran an article yesterday (see I’m getting better with my time lapse) on the runways most recent cast off: Coco Rocha. She’s a 21-year old model who while advocating for industry reform has been seen in shows like Diane von Furstenberg and Zac Posen this week.


However, the demand for her services has waned, thanks to an occasional hamburger habit. She’s a size 4.

So who’s getting booked instead?

…stick figures with jutting collarbones, thighs the size of their ankles and not a whisper of a womanly curve.

They’re following in the footsteps of waifs like Kate Moss, who recently gave us her words of wisdom: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

It didn’t feel good for Ana Carolina Reston, the 88-pound Brazilian who died in 2006 of complications from anorexia.

Oh, good. That’s just what we need to help society feel good about themselves and excited about fashion.

An interesting fact too is that some models are actually leaving the runways to go model for Victoria’s Secret so they can be healthy and happy.

Doutzen Kroes, a Dutch model, did just that. She doesn’t do shows anymore because she didn’t fit into the sample size so she moved to be a Victoria Secret angel.


I eat and I am happy. I want a healthy lifestyle, and I hope other models can have choices like that.

I bet guys will love this, but it makes you wonder that if someone has to be a VS angel to actually be healthy, and that’s in lingerie, why are the heads of the runway allowing these models to be so thin?

To discuss this, the Council of Fashion Designers of America held a panel talk where Zac Posen, Aerin Lauder, Vogue‘s Tonne Goodman, agency executive David Bonnouvrier, casting director James Scully, and the above Doutzen Kroes discussed raising the “sample size,” the industry standard set for runway and magazine photo shoots, to a size 4.

Right now, it’s a size zero.

I can open up any magazine or pick any show and tell you what girls are taking Adderall, how many girls are taking Vicodin, how many girls are throwing up, how many girls are carrying flasks. Girls are really resorting to incredibly dangerous thing, said Scully, a former model.

And while they all knew something had to be changed, there were fingers being pointed as to who should start the process. Until Anna Wintour. (Have I told you how much I respect that woman?)

I asked someone who works a lot with the shows if the Initiative was helping the problem at all. And I very sadly report that this gentleman said, No, it wasn’t. So what I would like to know is what can we do to help the problem. Because obviously we’re not doing enough. Because we’re not making progress.

After that one question, a female designer in the audience simply stated that everyone in that room discussing this issue had the power to change the iindustry if they actually had the will.

Trends start by agreement. We keep saying ‘They started it,’ but we are ‘they.’ We are they. Amen.

I’m sure if you’ve followed me enough, you’ll know my opinion on this article so I decided to ask two of my guy friends, Juan (who has a background in fashion) and V, to read the article and then honestly tell me their initial reactions. I thought a man’s view would be interesting. This is what was said…

This is horrible. Although [Coco’s] not the skinniest on the catwalk, probably becasue she’s not the tallest either (she’s 5’10”) and although I am a big fan of skinny, this madness needs to stop somewhere,” said Juan before adding, I think Coco is perfect size.


My other friend V immediately said, She’s gorgeous before saying [he’d] kill for a hamburger right now (in response to why she was released).

He also brought up the Doutzen Kroes and her move to Victoria’s Secret. Saying she doesn’t do shows because she doesn’t fit into the sample size and instead does the Victoria’s Secret shows is kind of funny. At least your looking at a company that can promote sexy while having more realistic women.

And on a final note, damn… articles like this are weird. It makes me wonder if the industry will ever get the picture.

Me too V, me too.

What do you think? Is a size 4 too big? What would like you like to see on the runway?


3 responses to “when a size 4 isn’t good enough…

  1. I can tell you that I look much healthier as a size 4 than a size zero. My proportions are right at that size. I’m healthy and happy at that size. But it’s a fine line. For me personally the difference between a size 4 and a size 6 is about 7 pounds. The difference between a 0 and a 4 —- hmmm. I actually have no idea. Probably about 12 – 15 pounds. (and FYI the difference between a 6 and 8 is 5 pounds too.)

  2. Is size 4 too big? Absolutely not. What we are dealing with here is a shift in the fashion industry towards the body type they want to be seen in their clothes. In the 80’s top models such as Cindy Crawford were de rigeur and therefore sample sizes were created to that body type, which will still thin, were certainly not as thin as top models now.

    Time and time again there is a blame game played here – eg. it’s the magazines fault, it’s the buyers fault, as to why so many models are so thin and the impact this can have on others. But to me, this all boils down to the sample size. If fashion designers made sample sizes that were bigger than what can fit an average 12 year old – things would change. As long as a woman in the industry wants to model – if she doesn’t fit the sample size – it isn’t going to fly unless she can find work as a plus size model.

    Change the sample size = less drive to be thin = more healthy shapes on the catwalk = magazines being able to put a diverse range of models in their pages. We won’t see this in magazines on a regular basis until sample sizes changed. Why? Because they shoot fashion spreads months in advance of clothes being in stores and therefore must shoot with the sample size.

    And……we come full circle.

    • I couldn’t have said it better! But as amazing you are at communicating this vicious cycle, I wish there was more we could do to change it. I want to get on the inside somehow to change it. Hmmm…

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