My History of Fashion Model Poses

Please don't think I pay attention to fashion all that much, because I don't. You should know me better than that by now. But for the past two weeks I've been in bed with the worst bronchial flu in my life, and I've spent some time in Pinterest. Oh, okay, I've spent a lot of time in Pinterest and believe me, if you spend any amount of time there, you quickly become knowledgeable about "repurposed" mason jars (why can't people just say used, second-hand, or recycled?), knitted anythings, 105 ways to use Nutella, "cute" resurrection terrariums for Easter (look Mommy, it's a tomb!), and fashion...

Being a bit obsessive-compulsive, I notice things that repeat themselves. In fact, I notice them so much they start to really drive me a bit over the edge. Then I have to blog about them to get rid of the obsession. This is how it works, you see, and you're on the losing end, I'm afraid.

Anyway, fashion. Just take a look around Pinterest and you'll notice a lot of women's clothing. I don't see it all that much, what I see are the poses these photographic models, fashionistas, and celebrities strike. But first, let's go back. Back, all the way back...

Here are the 1920s, '30s, '40s, and '50s, respectively. I've grouped these decades together because the most obvious pose is what I'll call the Best Foot Forward. It's attractive, relaxed, lengthens the leg and gives the garment a bit of movement. There's a different one, however, in the '40s picture. The woman on the far left has introduced a pose that is known by some people as the I Have to Wee pose. In the '50s picture the woman on the far left has stretched her leg out as if to do the Hokey Pokey, adding an air of command that is rivaled only by the edifice behind the models. Still, the poses are pretty much alike; each of the women simply faces a different direction to add whatever disengaged interest they can. It's not working.

Here come the fun times and a lot of new poses, each of them a bit quirky: Pigeon-Toed & Knock-Kneed, the Stork, the Lean, and again, the I Have to Wee. Well, the 1960s were quirky times. It was the beginning of the Youth Culture and the Sexual Revolution, and fashion represented everything that was young, energetic, and individualist, even if that individualism became conformist. Gone were the rigid shoulder pads of the 1940s and the dowdy grey flannel of the '50s. In their place stepped baby doll dresses, geometric angularity, and high-stepping knee boots. I suppose the poses had to reflect these qualities.

The 1970s arrived then, and with the advent of the Women's Movement, fashion poses took on a more in charge look. Mostly. We still saw the Pigeon-Toed & Knock-Kneed and the Stork poses. Oh, and look! We still had the I Have to Wee pose! We'd come a long way, baby. Well, maybe not. Let's moved on and see...

I can't speak with any real authority about the '80s and '90s because I wasn't there. I mean, I was there, but I was so busy working on my career in classical music that most of my wardrobe was your basic Concert Black. In 1983 I turned my back on the modern world and slipped into a worm hole that kept me pretty much in the 18th century until 2009. But I had friends who were younger then me, and they pulled me out from time-to-time to slip a nice little pill in my hand that kept me tethered to the present until it wore off. While there, I noticed that the '80s still had the Pigeon-Toed & Knock-Kneed pose, but in the '90s it seemed that everyone had taken Robert Palmer's 1986 "Addicted to Love" video a bit too seriously, resulting in a generic woman look. Still, in that photo I see the I Have to Wee, the Pigeon-Toed & Knock-Kneed, and an almost-Stork.

This brings us to today:

the Pigeon-Toed & Knock-Kneed pose

the Stork

the I Have to Wee,
now being posed by everyone from models and celebrities to everyday people.

and a new one I call the Bow-legged Huh? pose.

And coming full-circle, we have a variation of
the Best Foot Foward pose.

Maybe I've spent too much time in Pinterest...


  1. As a kid my favorite comic book was "Millie the Model," and I grew up loving all fashion mags. Still do. This was a fun stroll down the memory lane runway. These days I all-too-familiar with the "trying not to pee" pose. ;)

  2. Yes you do! I hope you are on the mend.

  3. @Jayne: I've been striking the "I Have to Wee" pose a lot during this flu--so much violent coughing is embarrassing at our age!

    @Merisi: Glad it made you smile. There are far too many of those going around.

    @Badger: This is a bad flu. I think I'm feeling better and then it strikes me again, with a vengeance. Today I've entered week three. What doesn't help is that it's complicated with financial woes and upcoming back surgery. Sheesh. But you know what? I haven't had my coffee yet, and I'm up and writing this. I think I AM better today!

  4. haha! I strike the "I have to wee" pose myself when I cough or sneeze or laugh really hard. :)
    Models now seem so SNARLY. They make me afraid. ;)

  5. I think that tougher-than-nails, no-mercy look came around in the 1980s. I don't like it either.


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