Images of beautifully sculpted bodies are everywhere. Magazines, newspapers, television, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram… the list goes on. What exactly is the elusive body, the one we think we should imitate? Let’s look back in time to see what previous generations thought. Searching this topic brought a resounding answer from

Starting in 1910, Charles Gibson’s illustration of the elusive body was trendsetting. A Corseted look was accomplished with a very tight undergarment that hooked and laced the trunk below the bust and below the hips. The look was a long neck and round soft body with a tiny waist and tall stature.

Then just 10 years later, a new look with a flat chest was the new elusive. Now a straight frame with a waist moved a few inches below the navel with short hemlines to show off the new focus on the legs. But this was short lived as well with just a decade later the return of the natural waist with a small bust and the new diet was bread!

Then in the 1940’s, the Broad shoulder fit and bullet looking bras were the look.  Military shoulders were “in.” The elusive look is now taller and has a square silhouette. In the 1950’s everyone needs to be 36-21-36, but if you’re not quite there padding is now available.  Women are now told to take weight-gain potions to help with the needed curves.

The 60s brings back the thin twig look. No curves allowed to simulate the new model Twiggy who had a doll-face and was very slender with a petite frame. Girdles are no longer in style and that means a flat stomach is a must. Weight Watchers is established in 1963. But, here comes the 70’s Disco era and once again a long leg, slim body and flat stomach are needed for the new fashion trends of the disco era.

The Supermodel Legs are the rage of the 80’s. The elusive body must now be tall and have long legs. Fitness makes its debut with high impact aerobics pounding the elusive look into the new look of a tall muscular frame. Now really from fit to waif, the 90’s look is a total opposite look from the 80’s.  This gaunt looking, unathletic looking, small framed look is the look of weakness. Now the strategy is to eat no fat or you will be fat.

Bring on the next ten… it’s the year 2000, and now we are encouraged to be buff and muscled, with chiseled abdominals.  Hiring a personal trainer is recommend to help with acquiring the look. And lastly the 2010 look is all about the booty driven by celebrities, with large booties.

After researching this information, I look at the elusive body and ask: who decides, and why do we mindlessly follow their directives?  Decade after decade perfecting the perfect body sends women and now men on a journey of an elusive, unattainable quest, only to change and send them in another direction each decade. We are now in 2018 with the internet sending information at a constant pace with recommendations from new experts daily. So after more than 100 years of ideals, the elusive body will remain elusive and I will look for a confident, healthy, happy body instead.  I hope you will as well.