Is skinny back in style?

90s fashion trends mean the return of heroin chic. Shift asks whatever happened to body positivity?

Undeniably 90s fashion has made a huge comeback. From low-rise jeans to baggy silhouettes, we have recently seen a number of throwback looks walking past us on the street and on our screens.

However, the return of some key 90s styles, also means regressing to the old fashioned mentality about how womens’ bodies should look. The trend is sparking interest across social media and the fashion industry, and examining how different body types become ‘trendy.’ Controversially referred to as heroin chic, at the time, fashion fans are seeing the return of ’90s thinness’ back on their screens.

Women have been scrutinised for their appearance for years across the fashion industry. There has always been a beauty standard for them to follow, and in an age where social media is so dominant in our lives, it is very easy to observe and copy what we see on our screens. 

The infamous 90s heroin chic look glamourises a gaunt and extremely thin appearance. Associated with high fashion, many fashion consumers will engage in the activities which romanticise this appearance, such as heavy smoking and extremely restricted diets.

LCF BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bags and Accessories student Zayna Al-Rahman said: “There is obviously going to be all types of standards with all fashion for what is most attractive. It’s more triggering as a teenager as you believe that the women in the magazines are the ideal types of women and that’s who you want to be.” 

The most recent and visually obvious change of appearance has been the change from the ‘BBL Era’ to ‘90s skinny’. Known for their curves and fuller figures, the Kardashian/Jenner family have shown a drastic change in size when it comes to their figures in recent weeks.

To fit the new beauty standard, it seems the influencers have traded in their curvaceous silhouettes for a slimmer appearance. They praise themselves when it comes to weight loss – an example being Kim Kardashian fitting into the Marilyn Monroe dress for the 2023 Met Ball.

Whilst it is not as common as the ‘BBL’ procedure, the removal of the buccal fat-pad tissue on the face is becoming common, as well as the use of Ozempic – a medication to treat type 2 diabetes, for rapid weight loss. These steps are taken to mimic heroin chic, reducing the natural roundness of the face and leaving a sharper appearance.

Ending the glorification of damaging beauty standards would help end the toxic cycle of women’s bodies being constantly judged.

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