The impact of fashion on body image is a slightly complicated issue, made so by several factors. Fashion plays an important role in society because it has come to define people in a lot of ways, but unfortunately has some negative consequences on the perception of body image. It is this influence of fashion that gives it the leeway to affect the body image of members of society. The main impact of fashion on body image is that it projects a sense of what is ideal in terms of looks, making some people who do not look that way have feelings of inadequacy.
Fashion in any society is simply what is generally promoted and accepted as the best way to dress and look. It encompasses factors like the right accessories, best places to go, and even acceptable mannerisms. From a global perspective, fashion cannot be said to be universal because what is fashionable in one society is not necessarily true of another one. Still, the impact of fashion on body image is a global issue that transcends international borders.
For instance, in western societies, the fashion industry constantly projects the image of thin, beautiful people that have been airbrushed to perfection as the ideal way to look. People see these images everywhere: magazines, TV commercials, billboards and runways. The message often perceived by people constantly barraged by such messages is that this is the right way to look.
The reverse might be the same in some cultures. For instance, in some African cultures, plump women are considered more desirable and fashionable than thin women. This may lead to feelings of inadequacy on the part of women who are naturally inclined to be thin. In some Asian cultures where small, dainty feet are considered fashionable and attractive, those who do not have such features may also experience feelings of inadequacy. Feelings of inadequacy often results in low self-esteem and bouts of depression.
The fact of the matter is that many members of society do not look "ideal," so many people take measures to try to attain something close to the way the models look. One impact of fashion on body image is that people may resort to drastic surgery to “fix” features they consider to fall short of the accepted standard. Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are often the result of the dissatisfaction of those who suffer from the conditions with their looks and an attempt to conform to the accepted fashionable standard of looks.