Zamaron — A Green Lantern Femme-Site

{September 22, 2006}   Arisia’s Fashion Nightmare

Today I’ve been introducing the Internet to a side of me that few online have seen.

Kalinara may be the one in pink, Soyo may be the one who’s small and cute, but I’m the fashion maven.

Oh, I shop very cheaply. I care nothing for designer clothing. I couldn’t give two shits about what’s “in style” at any given season. I do however, know the tricks of the trade. I know how to dress to full effect. I know how to make my breasts look a cup larger or a cup smaller without stuffing. I know how to hide the little fat deposit in my belly. I can make my legs look longer and my torso shorter, or vice versa. I can make my butt disappear, or appear twice as large. I can look taller and shorter at will. I am not a Martian, I just know what to wear.

And I know why Arisia’s new costume is a bad idea.

I’ve tried to explain this to a lot of people today (so many that I have made today into an informal Arisia Day!). I blogged about it on Blog@Newsarama, and had to give a fashion lesson there. Just to be safe, I blogged on Written World that same fashion lesson, in case my regular readers needed it. I started a thread on Comic-Bloc about it a few days ago, but didn’t check back until today. Guess what, they needed it there too!

So, because I’ve had to explain it to so many people, here it is one more time (And so I can say I blogged this across three blogs today):

1) Dark colors make bodies look smaller. Light colors make bodies look bigger.

2) A tight outfit, when it’s well-fit enough that no flesh hangs over, will make bodies look smaller.

3) Just as a flared skirt makes your butt look bigger, a straight skirt makes your butt look smaller.

4) Necklines can be used to great effect on your bustline. A V-cut makes your breasts look larger. A square or round cut makes your breasts look smaller.

5) Here’s the complicated one. A Backless top serves to draw attention to the front. I’m not sure exactly how it does this, but it does.

Any one of the above tricks gives a subtle impression, and hides a feature that you may feel a slight bit self-conscious about.

If you feel a need to use a number of them, in conjunction, and it has nothing to do with your chosen profession — you probably should look into self-esteem building measures. (As an aside: everyone has body issues, but (and here I digress into real-world things) they’re better off confronted on an emotional level than on a physical level.)

Just about all of the above tricks used together are major overkill.

I’ve rarely seen an adult woman use all of the above. I have, however, seen teenaged girls use the above tricks because they feel larger breasts and smaller butts will make them look older. Those same teenaged girls tend to dress in as little clothing as they can get away with, because that also makes them feel as though they look older.

Arisia’s costume uses all of the above tricks to make her breasts seem as large as possible, and her butt unnoticable. It makes her seem like a person who feels her breasts are too small and her ass is too big. And her costume history implies that the artists also believe that less clothing is more mature.

That costume to me is still filed under “stuff a teenaged girl thinks adult women wear.” Arisia’s entire character arc is about maturity. This is not good. Because as much as Geoff Johns might work to retcon away the old story, the next writer could very well be of the “I prefer Arisia as a teenager” camp and undo it. That means the stigma of the Hal-Arisia relationship is back in full force. An immature outfit can only help that to happen. The last thing that needs to be near Arisia is teenaged girl logic.

On the bright side, maybe they’ll turn her over to GLC and Patrick Gleason can do something with this dressing disaster. He did manage to make a to-the-navel cleavage cut on Dr Natu seem tasteful and respectable.


SallyP says:

I presume this was the outfit she was wearing when the Manhunters
dug her up, which unfortunately means that Guy is a little kinkier
than I thought he was. But with the retcon, she ISN’T a teenager
anymore, and I really hope that they can slap some clothes onto her.
Most probably tight form-fitting clothes…this is comics after all…
but maybe something with sleeves! Give her black tights, they look
great and her butt will disappear just as well. For the love of
God DON’T bare her midriff! That NEVER works!
By the way, wouldn’t it be fun it they did move her over to GLC?

soyoerika says:

Most artists seriously need to be beaten over the head with a “less is more” stick. And by less, I don’t mean less actual fabric in costumes.

While I still find the Soranik Natu design somewhat problematic, I’ll admit that Gleason makes it work considerably more than most artists. There’s something to be said for the fact that Natu has a costume with sleeves and legs, for instance, and the collar makes it less like she’s just wearing body paint. I don’t know why, it just does. On top of that, she’s got an extremely practical haircut, and Gleason gives her consistently serious facial expressions, so it’s not like the narrative is interrupted by pornface, or anything. Frankly, I’d be even happier if the “cleavage cut” had a zipper, so it didn’t have to be a cleavage cut all the time, and if Natu were wearing a tank top underneath. I think we see her in a tank top in one of the issues? So it isn’t implausible.

I totally wish I could draw.

As for Arisia, I should probably think of some redesign ideas for her, too, to keep this on topic. First of all, like Karen says, the miniskirt’s got to go. Shorts would be more practical. The top could be fixed in any number of ways– personally, I’m in favor of something with sleeves or at least straps, and I’m definitely voting against the cleavage cut. If the low back must be kept– and actually, I don’t mind low backs as long as the front of the outfits are supportive and said backs aren’t ridiculously low– then I think the cape should return, too. But maybe that’s just me.

Frankly, it feels to me like the writers can’t pick a consistent look for Arisia, and want to straddle the fence between swimsuit model and cute elfin being. While I’m all for mashing up looks, this is a time where I think they should just pick one style and stick with it.

soyoerika says:

Looking at Sally and I’s responses, wouldn’t it be fun to have an Arisia Redesign Contest?

SallyP says:

A design contest? That would be wicked cool. Now if I could only get my scanner to work.

Ragnell says:

I think that’s a great idea.

Though I can’t draw. But maybe I can find a Barbie with a Green outfit that’s up for alterations.

Athelind says:

You know, Soranik Natu’s uniform is one rare instance in which the practicality of a female costume design may actually be better-addressed by a male.

I didn’t see her particular customization as a “cleavage cut”, though I did note that it moved her Lantern insignia to one side, emphasizing her mammalian traits.

The collar itself, however, didn’t seem particularly exhibitionist to me. It simply looked like she didn’t like the constraining feeling of a tight collar around her neck. As a veteran of the necktie, I understand THAT quite well. Look at the standard uniform; it’s VERY high-necked, almost a mock-turtleneck or nehru. It may be an amazingly comfortable fabric, but there will always be someone who finds even that much constraint around a vulnerable spot to be disconcerting.

Ragnell says:

Athelind — I think its the collar that gives the impression she’s uptight, which is supported by the writing so far.

Combined with the cleavage slit, she seems like the sort of person who thinks showing a little boob will make her seem like less of a tightass than she is.

[…] We discussed it over on this thread, and I already had a volunteer in my comments on my regular blog, so it looks like people have ideas. So its time for The Arisia Makeover Meme. […]

Nick says:

Question, are you sure that’s a miniskirt? I haven’t read the whole issue, so it may well be clear in other panels, but in the panels I’ve seen, Arisia could be wearing shorts rather than a skirt – it’s not entirely clear. Either way, they’re pretty damn short, but the shorts would be more practical, at least.

i like body paints because it could be used to portray art using your own body~~~

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