Vanity is more complicated than it needs to be. Even the simple act of looking into a mirror is fraught with questions and decisions: Do we want a mirror that’s exceedingly flattering — a “skinny” mirror? One that tells us exactly what we look like? Something that makes us look and feel worse? (Okay, it’s definitely not that one.) Should we even look at all?
Vogue took a crack at this eternally frustrating question in a new article asking, “Which Reflection Can You Trust?” and invoked Robert Frost not once, but twice. The article’s author had a crisis of sorts after trying out an outfit in a store mirror and then catching a reflection of herself in a different, less flattering mirror. “My five-seconds-ago perky butt was now 10 butts,” she wrote. “Ten butts?!?!?!” we wondered. “Is that even possible?”
We also wondered: Who among us liked to be lied to? And who wanted the truth served up every time we caught a glimpse of our reflection? And is it even possible to know what we look like?
Gabriella Paiella, staff writer: My take is that I love a skinny mirror. Please lie to me.
Izzy Grinspan, senior editor: But you don’t want to know about the lie. The best skinny mirror is a stealth skinny mirror.
Kathleen Hou, senior beauty editor: Yeah, an accidental one.
Claire Landsbaum, staff writer: I have a theory that all mirrors you buy at Target for your college dorm are stealth skinny mirrors.
Véronique Hyland, senior fashion news editor: I am always puzzled by why the mirrors in dressing rooms are the most unflattering and overhead-lit.
Jessica Roy, news editor: Yeah, you would think the ideal marketing strategy would be to outfit every store with skinny mirrors.
Claire: And soft front-lighting.
Gabriella: As someone who has had a panic attack in an H&M dressing room, I know that’s not the case there. Anywhere else?
Claire: Not at Forever 21.
Véronique: Yeah, not at the stores I shop at.
Claire: For SURE not at Urban.
Jessica: Don’t the depressing tiny sizes of designer clothes negate their skinny mirrors though? LIE TO ME, VANITY SIZING. WHY, YES, I AM A SIZE 2, OLD NAVY.
Gabriella: As an aside, I think our bathroom mirrors here are very flattering.
Kathleen: Don’t some ballet studios purposely have fat mirrors? I recall a ballerina telling me that ballet studios have the worst lighting and mirrors on purpose.
Jessica: Pure Barre lighting and mirrors make you look as skinny as possible. I look amazing in a Pure Barre mirror.
Véronique: My issue with this [Vogue] story mainly centers around its mischaracterization of Robert Frost, whom she drags into both the lede and kicker. “The other day, I experienced a fashion crisis on the order of a Robert Frost poem.” So you … argued with a fellow farmer about a wall? You were confused about which road to take?
Gabriella: Robert Frost definitely loved a skinny mirror.
Kathleen: I think skinny mirrors should be an act of generosity. All stores should have subtly flattering mirrors and lighting and never tell anyone about it. It’s like putting a filter on a pic of your friends — just do it to be nice.
Gabriella: It really does seem like the smartest business move. What about at your homes though? I know that I purposely picked out a more flattering mirror for my new apartment and I love it.
Kathleen: Pro flattering mirror for the house. Why be mean to yourself?
Izzy: I think buying a Skinny Mirror totally defeats the purpose. It’s like when they’re really nice to you at Pret a Manger because it’s company policy.
Gabriella: I thought they just liked me!!!
Susan Rinkunas, health writer: Yes, ignorance is bliss. Except when you see yourself in a regular mirror and then are utterly confused.
Gabriella: But what is a “regular mirror?” Is there even a regular mirror?
Claire: Technically you can never actually look at yourself, because you’re always trusting a reflection or a photo. So there’s no way to ~ really ~ know for yourself what you look like.
Izzy: We’re all surrounded by lies and illusions at all times. There is no truth. This Vogue article has opened my eyes to the Matrix.