Friday, October 10, 2008

The Muffintopitis Pandemic!

In the August 28, 2005 edition of the New York Times, William Safire described the muffin top as "the roll of excess flesh spilling out primarily in front but possibly all around." At some point within the past 10-15 years, slovenly sloppiness became commonplace. I'm not sure if the blame lies with the grunge movement, business casual, or more form fitting clothing on pregnant women.

I didn't start noticing this proclivity for untidiness until Hollywood moms-to-be started showing off their bumps. While I'm not a proponent for any kind of belly-baring (whether it's six-pack abs or layers and layers of rolls), an expectant mother gets more of a pass. Frankly anyone else exposing their gut shares the physical aesthetics of an abusive drunkard. Wife-beater anyone? Pasty-haired paunchy potbelly in a stretched out ribbed white undershirt with beer stains down the middle. That's the mental image the ubiquitous muffin top evokes.

I remain under the impression that no self-respecting woman would leave her house with her gut spilling out over her low rise jeans. Low rise jeans. Yes! They contributed to this dreadful mess of a movement as well. At the turn of this century the incomparable Sisqo bellowed "Let me see that thong!" So the young women of America obliged. Showing off their tail whale tattoos and vibrantly colored g-strings, it seemed as if ladylike behavior had gone the way of the VHS tape. Only old farts still believed in it.

Girls bought copious amounts of hip huggers in every rinse available. Britney was their patron saint. At the time she had abs of steel was able to rock the look. Tarty, but not exactly unkempt. Nothing jiggled and bits and pieces remained in their place. Then one day either the jeans shrunk in the wash or women started putting on a few LBs. Either way, they continued wearing them as if nothing had happened. How an appendix has never ruptured is a miracle. Around 2002, UGGs, the muffin top of footwear, gained momentum. Somehow a gut spilling over a waistline corresponded well with the wooly stuff at the top of the boot. Picture a volcanic eruption at Mount Etna. Add a cropped, velour zip up and a look was born. And it refuses to die!

I'm perplexed as to why the loved ones of these girls and women haven't staged interventions. Luckily, none of my friends are guilty of this most egregious of sartorial offenses. Like most of my mates, my weight fluctuates in my midsection. Depending on the time of the month or if I've had an extra hearty brunch, my tummy can expand significantly. But if I wear anything remotely close to a low-rise, I take the precautionary measures: a blazer, cardigan, or loose fitting top. When I say loose fitting, I don't mean something that will create gratuitous volume. I mean just enough to conceal that additional order of roasted potatoes.

If you (or someone you know) suffer from muffintopitis, it's not too late to seek help. Simply discard any jeans, trousers, or skirts that don't fit and allow yourself to look marvelous in clothing that's your size! If you need professional help, go to the Stanton + Williams Style Therapy website ( and make an appointment. Do not mistake pride in appearance for vanity. It's self-preservation. Your appendix, large intestine, small intestine, spleen, and pancreas thank you in advance.

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