But it turns out I’m just fashion-forward! On the heels of New York’s Fashion Week, the style press has been abuzz with the latest apparent fashion trend: a stylishly gap-toothed smile.
Gap Teeth on the Runway
Fashion model Lara Stone (the face of Calvin Klein) is one of the most visible expressions of this trend. A beautiful woman with space between her front teeth, she was voted 2009’s girl of the year by Vogue UK.
Of course, supermodel Lauren Hutton has been known for decades by her signature gap-toothed smile. When she began her career in the 1960’s, she was advised to “fix” her smile. Though she would often wear a removable device to hide her gap, the space between her teeth is actually the feature for which she’s best known.
A number of young models have found their gappy smiles a professional advantage, at least this season. Industry insiders attribute this trend to a desire for models who look more “real” and “imperfect” — faces with “character,” as they say.
Gap Teeth as a Style Statement
In 2008, fashion designer David Delfin made a bold and unusual choice when he had an orthodontist create a gap between his front teeth. “It was a metaphor for the separation I was feeling,” he said of the procedure, which he had done not long after the death of his father. He went on to name his spring 2009 collection “Diastema.”
A number of celebrities are well-known for their gapped teeth. The list includes Madonna, David Letterman, Elton John, Elisabeth Moss (of “Mad Men”), Anna Paquin (of “True Blood”), model Georgia Jagger (daughter of Mick Jagger), and models Jessica Hart and Ashley Smith.
But will the trend jump off the runway and on to Main Street? Will braces become a thing of the past? That seems unlikely.
“Feh. Call me when cellulite becomes the new favorite flaw,” said one online commenter.
Gap Teeth in My Mouth
My own personal dentist is relatively conservative; she practices cosmetic dentistry, of course, but she doesn’t push unnecessary treatments on her patients. When we were discussing tooth whitening, she casually mentioned that veneers were another cosmetic option.
“Any that way we could close the gap, too, if you wanted,” she said delicately.
I was momentarily taken aback, as I’d never noticed a gap in my own teeth. “Well, no, I don’t think that’s something I’m concerned about,” I replied. But it turns out I’m just cutting edge!
Gap Teeth Throughout History
In east Africa, gap tooth smiles have long been considered attractive. Some psychologists that this may be because children naturally have gaps between their teeth, and many physical indicators of childhood (like large eyes and an oversized head) are often considered attractive in adults.
In Western cultures — particularly in the works of Chaucer — gap teeth were once viewed as an indication of lustfulness and sexuality. Other historians suggest that gap teeth were viewed as a sign that a person would travel. as their teeth had already begun to travel.
Read more: We Don’t Mind the Gap: The Fashionable Flash a New Smile (Wall Street Journal)