T Nation

Classic V-Taper, Gone?

For the past few years I have talked to my university classes about the body and how it is perceived/judged/valued, etc. within Western culture. I have been getting blank stares when I mention changes in men’s fashion to accentuate the V-taper (goes back to roughly 1920) they stare at me blankly. I asked if they know what a I am talking about - release the crickets. Funny thing, some remember the power shoulder pads for women in the 1980’s. My students are evenly divided from urban, suburban and rural areas generally from the Northeast- if you are curious.

I have talked about this with my wife some. And it strikes me that in today’s fashion the outline for men is nearly straight up and down and women now have claim to the v-taper. Male models (and it seems in general) lack back muscularity, especially width. I think it stems partially from the not to have a body that looks like it picks-up heavy objects, i.e. that of manual labor, so in some ways it is a class based look.

So I guess the question is, has the v-taper switched teams?

from what you describe, it would appear so.

But if you ask people what they think (especially in an undergrad glass) they’ll most likely spit out the most recent garbage they picked up from E! news or whatever style magazine they read.

But if you were to conduct a preference study using different physiques and/or styles you might find differing opinions.

The fashion industry is profoundly gay. Nothing against homosexuals/homosexuality, but it’s a fact. What women want =/= what the fashion industry supplies. Not everyone is as educated about symmetry and proportion as your average T-man/woman, and your class’ reaction is evidence of this.

The fashion outline for men is that way because that is what men look like when they don’t lift heavy. Male fashion models are grungy dudes who smoke and drink a lot and have to fit into size 28 skinny jeans. Not exactly anabolic activity. Women have begun to work out with weights so their shoulders are getting wider.

My writing is very confused because I’m coming from a sick workout, but the point is that men and women prefer a male body with a taper, they just don’t know how to get it or haven’t seen it. I suppose women are trending up while men are trending down.

[quote]polo77j wrote:
from what you describe, it would appear so.

But if you ask people what they think (especially in an undergrad glass) they’ll most likely spit out the most recent garbage they picked up from E! news or whatever style magazine they read.

But if you were to conduct a preference study using different physiques and/or styles you might find differing opinions. [/quote]

As a whole these students do not seem all that dependent on the ‘news’ sources you site above.

[quote]Tex Ag wrote:

[quote]polo77j wrote:
from what you describe, it would appear so.

But if you ask people what they think (especially in an undergrad glass) they’ll most likely spit out the most recent garbage they picked up from E! news or whatever style magazine they read.

But if you were to conduct a preference study using different physiques and/or styles you might find differing opinions. [/quote]

As a whole these students do not seem all that dependent on the ‘news’ sources you site above.[/quote]

so do they go from their own observations? I’m not sure what type of class you are reffering to nor am I familiar with the types of students you have in class.

I guess I think it is indicative of several larger cultural trends that culminate in a less masculine “power” outline for men and re-appropriation of said power outline by women.

Such trends:

  • masculine largess bad
  • manual labor bad, white-collar work good - thus, built/bulky/strong body bad, toned body good
  • focus on bodies of youth (thin, lithe, some muscle) and not of manhood (well muscled, thicker, solid)
  • women gaining power in business, education, medical fields, etc. and building a stronger outline, either through weights or shoulder pads
    • in reaction to this I think it is reflected in the trends toward breast implants and the apparent need to make sure women’s breast are wider in silhouette than their backs thus feminizing the power silhouette. (open invitation to post picks as needed)

Counter trends:

  • increasing availability of more trim fitting office clothes for men that help show off a taper if it exists

[quote]polo77j wrote:

[quote]Tex Ag wrote:

[quote]polo77j wrote:
from what you describe, it would appear so.

But if you ask people what they think (especially in an undergrad glass) they’ll most likely spit out the most recent garbage they picked up from E! news or whatever style magazine they read.

But if you were to conduct a preference study using different physiques and/or styles you might find differing opinions. [/quote]

As a whole these students do not seem all that dependent on the ‘news’ sources you site above.[/quote]

so do they go from their own observations? I’m not sure what type of class you are reffering to nor am I familiar with the types of students you have in class.[/quote]

Its a general intro class with pretty good down-to-earth students. In other words, not all that concerned, in general, with what E! tells them while at the same time not critical of it either. So, their observations then.

Do you see any difference in opinon between the different groups you mentioned earlier (the urban, suburband, and rural)? Do any groups differ as far as what they think the “ideal” is?

We have not discussed ideals this years. I have tried in the past but it has been a rather forced conversation. The female ideal was an ‘easier’ discussion than a male ideal. There was, of course, a female and male vote for BPiFC.

[quote]Tex Ag wrote:
For the past few years I have talked to my university classes about the body and how it is perceived/judged/valued, etc. within Western culture. I have been getting blank stares when I mention changes in men’s fashion to accentuate the V-taper (goes back to roughly 1920) they stare at me blankly. I asked if they know what a I am talking about - release the crickets. Funny thing, some remember the power shoulder pads for women in the 1980’s. My students are evenly divided from urban, suburban and rural areas generally from the Northeast- if you are curious.

I have talked about this with my wife some. And it strikes me that in today’s fashion the outline for men is nearly straight up and down and women now have claim to the v-taper. Male models (and it seems in general) lack back muscularity, especially width. I think it stems partially from the not to have a body that looks like it picks-up heavy objects, i.e. that of manual labor, so in some ways it is a class based look.

So I guess the question is, has the v-taper switched teams? [/quote]

maybe for current emo fashion, but in studies on what is sexually attractive, men always answer large “hip to waist ratio” in women, and women answer large “shoulder to waist ratio” in men.

btw, my current gf has a 19 inch waist and a 40 inch ass…and i know pics or it didnt happen, but she’s hindu and won’t let me:(

Yes, I definately agree that the traditional expectations of what it means to be a man in general have been almost completey discarded in this country over the past decade.

Unfortunately, it seems that the first thing to go was the idea that men should be big and strong. Things seem to be more feminized (sp?) and it appears that anyone who does train anymore is going for the “Im doing more cardio because you cant completely see my ribs from my backside” look.

And, for those who dont even train, the V-taper has been cashed in for a more modest, spherical shape.

This is strongly appearant in the fashion industry as well. As a 25 year old male, I still like looking good with nice clothes. However, trying to find any that fit properly, good luck. Jeans that are far to small through the legs (with crotches that hug your genitals like no other) and shirts that have absolutely no taper to them. So a shirt that should fits good around the waist (not too baggy) is far too small through the chest and shoulders, and a shirt that fits good in the chest and shoulders is far too big around the waist, they have no taper!

The average drop (difference between chest and waist measurement) in suits is six inches. Deconstructed suits, latest trend I have heard about, even less. The Greek Ideal at my height would call for a drop of 12 inches. When I got a jacket altered to a 8 inch drop my tailor said any more and I would look like a women.

If you wear a professional wardrobe, get a tailor. Even “athletic” or “tailored” fit dress shirts have too much fabric around the waist, and every suit you buy off the rack is too boxy if it is cut to fit your chest and shoulders.

I had all my suits tailored to fit, and they all present a proper v taper now. I find that people still respond to it too. The tall, muscular guy in the well tailored power suit is respected and deferred to, even if he looks 10-15 years younger than the schlub-looking putz in the short sleeve shirt and baggy pants who is nominally in charge.

People may say that men shouldn’t look like they could physically dominate others anymore, but they still respond to it.

[quote]devildog_jim wrote:
If you wear a professional wardrobe, get a tailor. Even “athletic” or “tailored” fit dress shirts have too much fabric around the waist, and every suit you buy off the rack is too boxy if it is cut to fit your chest and shoulders.

I had all my suits tailored to fit, and they all present a proper v taper now. I find that people still respond to it too. The tall, muscular guy in the well tailored power suit is respected and deferred to, even if he looks 10-15 years younger than the schlub-looking putz in the short sleeve shirt and baggy pants who is nominally in charge.

People may say that men shouldn’t look like they could physically dominate others anymore, but they still respond to it.[/quote]

I do not spend much time in professional attire, but I do love a good fitting suit! I am just referring to your everyday jeans and shirt type of wardrobe.

I agree with you on the response to the masculine look. You can actually establish dominance in a group of other men simply by your posture, and adding a few lbs of lean mass to it exponentially increases its affect.

People really are trying to feminize men, saying they shouldnt look like they could physically dominate others, ridiculous. Thats the whole premises on which man has evolved. Its what makes men men, and women women.

“Modern Fit”

I was shopping for work button up business shirts…the ones you wear to work in a suit and tie…most are now “Modern Fit” and the description is “Narrower in the chest”. Needless to say these would not work for me AT ALL.

Ghey.

[quote]Rockscar wrote:
“Modern Fit”

I was shopping for work button up business shirts…the ones you wear to work in a suit and tie…most are now “Modern Fit” and the description is “Narrower in the chest”. Needless to say these would not work for me AT ALL.

Ghey.

[/quote]

Depends on where you shop. I tend to buy dress shirts at Brooks Brothers…I know they’re expensive but they last years and years. They have “slim fit” shirts that are tailored to the V-taper.

But if you go to, let’s say, Express Men…“slim fit” there is for anorexic male models.

I think this has been an ever present trend. I can’t remember the last time I was able to buy a shirt off the rack that actually fit well.

I would have to take everyone of my shirt in for waist altering if I really really cared about this. I do hate that my shirts billow out or are bunched up like crazy in the back, but this is the only way they fit my shoulders.

If I cared more about my appearance (directly related to how little I care about my job), I would no doubt clean it up…

BTW- Normally this ends up being one of those self-righteous threads about ‘how I’m too big for my shirt’ or some shit like that, but this has actually been pretty good…

did any of you guys happen to catch the article that was on cnn (i think) that said women on birth control tend to prefer the company of men with more estrogen. so they prefer smoother more feminine looking men as a companion, whereas the women not on birth control tend to flock to men with higher testosterone and muscle like someone that does manual labor and their relationship tends to fit into more traditional gender roles? id say that might be on par with what Tex Ag might be saying, whether its correlation or causation. but, i can say with 100 percent certainty that when a dude in tight jeans and an extra small tight shirt is talking to my womann that 1) im not nervous at all about her prefering his look 2) as soon as he realizes that she has a 280lb boyfriend that doesnt care for hipsters he is very quick to end the conversation.

i dont think anyone in T lifts to be fashionable or to be a model, we like looking huge and we like lifting something heavy because its badass. so, v taper is a byproduct of heavy deadlifts and therefor i have one.

Just because the fashion industry is pushing a product, that does not necessarily mean majority of people will adhere to it as the “it” look. How long have fashion models been anorexic skinny, though a small waste and large boobs are what most women go for, fashion models rarely have above an A cup and have a completely flat ass.

It’s the fashion industries job to constantly create the next “it” trend. So you will see them pull away from certain trends and then go back to them because every year their catalog has to incorporate new in innovative style to keep up with the rest of the industry.

Just my 2 cents.

[quote]Rockscar wrote:
“Modern Fit”

I was shopping for work button up business shirts…the ones you wear to work in a suit and tie…most are now “Modern Fit” and the description is “Narrower in the chest”. Needless to say these would not work for me AT ALL.

Ghey.

[/quote]
Oh. Bloody. Hell. Thanks for the warning.

I got some Pima cotton Land’s End polos lately that had enough give to fit my chest and shoulders well while not ballooning around my waist. They do not fit me like the guy they have modeling them (the sleeves come to my elbows, not mid arm), but they are a good option for those looking for shirts. I do not know about the long sleeve polos.