So I was casually shopping yesterday at the mall. Something I don’t get the luxury of very frequently these days since it involves so much with two babies in tow.

While purchasing a few items in Glassons I was given a little catalogue (“lookbook”) of their winter fashions. So I took this home and later when getting the clothes out of the shopping bag I had a look at it. I felt quite let down by what I saw.

Glassons is a New Zealand brand. I think most NZ women and girls would have shopped there at some stage for an item of clothing. They aren’t too expensive, and have affordable basics.

Glassons Catalogue
Glassons Winter 2011 Lookbook Page 3/4

So why in their WINTER catalogue is it necessary to show models wearing only blouses and showing lots of skin to sell clothes?

See page 3/4 (to the left). Is a girl really going to wear only a blouse and cardigan in the middle of winter? In New Zealand?

I can count one picture in the whole catalogue that shows a model with more than half her body skin covered. The rest are in singlets and shorts, perhaps with a cardigan and wool hat on for good measure.

And perhaps I would think I’m being prudish – but I’ve seen the girls at the sports fields at 9am on a Saturday morning in frosty conditions, wearing their singlets and miniskirts as they cheer on their boyfriends at rugby, barely able to lift their arms from cold. I’ve heard from my high school teaching husband about the 13 year old girls who show up at year 9 and 10 dances or on school mufti days wearing only singlets and male boxer underwear.

Other than the fact that these fashion trends I’m sure is decreasing immune systems and increasing cold and flu medication spending, what does this really say about the sexualisation of our culture? Why is it necessary for a clothing chain to include bare legs and lots of skin in a winter catalogue in order to sell clothes?

I found it frustrating in summer finding clothes that were both decently fashionable (not made for over 60s!) and covered more than the top 5cm of my legs, and didn’t reveal what I had for breakfast in the top half.  I never expected to have to do the same in winter. This doesn’t mean I have any less desire to be fashionable – I just want to maintain some self respect in not having to walk around half naked in doing so.

I know when I was a teen, Glassons was the place we shopped – it was really the best we could afford with our pocket money and babysitting earnings. At 13 if I’d seen that catalogue full of half naked girls inserted into my shopping bag who knows what would have happened to my early pubescent self image and confidence.

Glassons should show some trendy girls in jeans, leggings, shirts and cardigans (which I know they sell, I bought some yesterday), that show a realistic image of winter fashion in New Zealand, and don’t limit girls to having to wear next to nothing in order to look good.

Raise the bar. Let the girls at the rugby fields be warm and confident in themselves because they themselves are beautiful NOT because they are showing three quarters of their skin.

Oh and I’ve sent a letter to Glassons letting them know this. Hope they will do something about it.