We've all been there: You're lying on the bed, sucking in your stomach so you can finally zip up that pair of skintight jeans. Or, maybe you've got a boning-lined dress that starts digging into your side even though it fit just fine at the beginning of the evening. Little moments like these served as the inspiration behind IMPRESSION, a series from San Diego-based photographer Justin Bartels, documenting a group of women after they've taken off their clothes — and the marks of these too-tight pieces that remain.
Bartels used the images to comment on society's standards of beauty, especially when it comes to dating. "The IMPRESSION series came about from my dating experiences in college, noticing the different trends and styles that women wore," he explained. "It interested me that so many women would wear binding or uncomfortable clothing to either impress or attract others, or for their own self-esteem."
While we might argue that "sexy" clothing doesn't have to mean figure-hugging — certainly not restricting — silhouettes only, the images are stunning nonetheless. And furthermore, for Bartels, the project has a greater message. As he put it, "I hope this series would reach women, and inspire them to question what they wear and why they wear it."
To further comment on how women and their style choices can be manipulated by the media, he named each photo after admittedly absurd titles he pulled from actual fashion magazines, which, he told us in an email, "[shows] how we market to women to [get them to] wear these clothes, regardless of how it affects them." We've added his titles to each image, to really drive the point home that, just maybe, we're being asked to suffer for fashion a little too much. Click through the slideshow to see for yourself.