It’s just a guess, but an answer might be that the magazine’s publishers let that happen. But that would surely worry them that thin women wouldn’t buy their mags.
There is a grudging place reserved for ‘normal’ women who somehow still want a bikini for the beach, but those ‘normal’ women are still expected to do the decent thing and disappear. No wonder so many women hesitate over the holiday packing, wondering whether they can still get away with a bikini. When they can.
Designers have been warned that, by making clothes in impossibly small sample sizes, they were driving models to become ridiculously thin for women like me who are quite ‘normal’.
But it reveals much about that industry that even mild deviations from a rigidly policed ideal of beauty – young, skinny, white, impossibly beautiful – are considered commercially risky. Fashion sales essentially rely on convincing us that there is a “right” way for women to look, and that the 99% who don’t resemble the model can get there for the price of the dress she’s wearing. Relax the definition of perfect, accept that more women are fine as they are, and who needs the dress?
The pragmatic reason for using impossibly attractive models, however attractiveness is defined, is meanwhile, as Boden’s eponymous founder Johnnie Boden once put it, that “you can’t hold up a mirror to customers. If you make it too real, it becomes mumsy.” Put a normal woman in a bikini and it’s obvious how little of the magic is down to the clothes, how hard magazines have to work just to make them look interesting. Some bikinis are prettier than others, but it’s just something you wear to go swimming. There’s only so much a few triangles of cloth can achieve.
And it’s your life, not wardrobe, that creates the real interest in you in which the clothes look less interesting than the person inside them. Hurrah, at least, for that.