Keeping Up with the Kardashians aired in 2007, but I didn’t catch the premiere. In fact, I didn’t start keeping up until earlier this year. While I blame missing the premiere on being 9 years old, I attribute the rest of my absence to basic channels and downloading Netflix only after KUWTK left. Sure, I craved a love affair with reality TV drama and pop culture, but Netflix was only $10 a month.
This March, I got Hulu, and seeing KUWTK as a featured show, realized I could pursue that love affair for only $20 a month. I caught up with the Kardashians – crying with Kris, laughing with Khloe, hating Scott then loving Scott then hating Scott again. Aside from the drama, however, one of the most intriguing aspects of the reality show was Kim’s style evolution from 2007 to 2017.
When Kim started dating Kanye West in 2012, he revolutionized her wardrobe. She lamented the idea of parting with her bright pink pumps, and viewers got to watch as she bid adieu of hundreds of pieces of designer clothes.
Kourtney and Khloe were at first skeptical of Kim’s sudden change in attire. They scoffed at the neutral palette. As a viewer, even I wondered how many variations of body-con styles one could rep. Despite our concerns, Kim rocked her new style with poise. Even Kourtney and Khloe started taking cues from Kim’s look.
As Kendall and Kylie Jenner grew out of their DASH Kids outfits and into their own, I could recognize aspects of Kim’s style in their looks as well. Kylie, especially, was a loyal follower of the body-con brand. However, long before anyone took style cues from Kim, the sisters were often caught in clothes that didn’t highlight their assets.
Fashion magazines are rife with guides about what to wear to conceal certain parts of our bodies, so everyone can have the “perfect” slender figure. The Kardashians didn’t go so far as to hide their bodies, per se, but they certainly didn’t sport tight, short, figure-hugging clothes on the daily.
It was easy for me to buy into this fad when I had the perfect, slender figure, because I didn’t have to worry about dressing to hide anything. Then, I grew up, I gained weight, and I had nothing to wear. I was an hourglass shape, but not the skinny kind I wanted to be. My waist was 14 inches smaller than my hips. I couldn’t find a consistent pant size to save my life. This, though, was all pre-KUWTK for me. I had no idea Kylie’s figure was just as in vogue as Kate Moss’. Instead, I desperately searched for clothes to conceal my figure and make it look like I hadn’t changed since freshman year of high school. A-line skirts, because nobody can tell how big or small you are under those. Long cardigans, not for style, but for camouflage. Most importantly, nothing tight, because I couldn’t stand the idea of someone again comparing my figure to Kylie’s. I wanted to look like Kate Moss, and I was determined to only buy clothes to accentuate my body ideology and not my actual body.
Then, I started watching KUWTK. I wondered why Kim was wearing so many A-line skirts in the first season. I didn’t understand why she would wear anything that didn’t accentuate her curves. Of course, I couldn’t apply the same logic to myself, because why would I wear anything that did accentuate my curves?
Well, I watched KUWTK at the gym to motivate myself during workouts. I watched it when I tossed a salad for dinner instead of pouring a bowl of cereal, inspired by Khloe’s health transformation. As I lost weight and got fitter, I realized that I, at 19, was never going to look like my 14-year-old self again.
Just as I was feeling defeated, Kim was embarking on her style transformation on-screen. She paraded through Los Angeles and owned her runway every step. She completely defied the idea that she should try to hide her hips. I don’t think she’s worn baggy anything anywhere on the show since Kanye overhauled her closet.
If Kim could find clothes to flatter her body, why couldn’t I? Or, a better question is: why wouldn’t I? I could walk into any story and find form-fitting clothes, but I didn’t buy them, because I guess I didn’t want anyone to see that I didn’t look 14 anymore. All of that is fine, if you like baggy clothes, but I completely betrayed my style for years to hide my body. My self-confidence took more of a hit from wearing clothes I hated than it would have if I had simply embraced my body shape and dressed in clothes I loved.
Fashion shouldn’t favor me at 110 pounds and defy me at 130 pounds. People can bash the Kardashians all they want, but they proved to me that style is more than hiding a not-so-skinny figure and instead dressing in what makes you feel best.