In the past, Billie Eilish — who first broke out into the music scene when she was just 14 — has made no secret of the fact that she tends to favor loose-fitting attire to prevent people from sexualizing her body. Now that she's 17, however, the reason Billie Eilish wears baggy clothes and doesn't see that changing in the near future also includes a concern about being slut-shamed if she does "want to look desirable," and it's actually pretty upsetting. In a Thursday, Sept. 5, cover story for Elle, the star got real about why commentary about the way she dresses has undercurrents of slut-shaming and why she wants to change that.
If you've been following along with the hitmaker's meteoric rise, you know that Eilish first stepped into the limelight back in 2016 when the then-14-year-old uploaded a version of "Ocean Eyes" to Soundcloud. In recent years, she's grown up in the public eye and her material has definitely become more mature with the release of "Bad Guy" and "When the Party's Over" earlier this year. Known for her quirky style and aesthetic, the singer has previously opened up about why she tends to go for clothing with a looser fit, saying that she's done so to avoid people from sexualizing her body.
In a June 24 interview with Vogue Australia, she told the publication that her choice of baggy threads is freeing.
"It kind of gives nobody the opportunity to judge what your body looks like," she told the publication. "I want layers and layers and layers and I want to be mysterious. You don’t know what’s underneath and you don’t know what’s on top."
However, this hasn't prevented her from being sexually objectified, such as when Nylon Germany posted a photo of her as a bald and topless robot without her consent or when a fan, who described Eilish as "thick," shared a photo of her wearing a form-fitting tank top back in June and the image went viral Twitter.
"My boobs were trending on Twitter! At number one! What is that?! Every outlet wrote about my boobs!" Eilish told Elle about the incident. "I was born with f*cking boobs, bro. I was born with DNA that was gonna give me big-a** boobs."
While the singer is comfortable with her current choice in attire, it's also made her restricted about what she can wear in the future. As a young woman who's still a minor, Eilish said that she feels like fans have come to expect the looser style of dress and that she doesn't want her own more modest style to be an avenue for people to shame other women who do choose to show off their bodies.
Eilish told V Magazine in an Aug. 19 interview, "Positive [comments] about how I dress have this slut-shaming element. Like, 'I am so glad that you are dressing like a boy so that other girls can dress like boys, so that they aren’t sluts.' That’s basically what it sounds like to me. And I can't [overstate how] strongly I do not appreciate that, at all."
In fact, the "Lovely" chart-topper says that she's scared of how her fans will react should she decide to show off more of her body in the future.
"I'm gonna be a woman. I wanna show my body," Eilish told Elle. "What if I wanna make a video where I wanna look desirable? I know it would be a huge thing. I know people will say, 'I've lost all respect for her.'"
At the end of the day, it's Eilish's choice whether she chooses to wear baggier clothing, chooses to show off her body in more form-fitting attire, or a combination of both, and it looks like she doesn't have anything to worry about as fans are already rallying around her on social media after the publication of the Elle cover story.
As one fan summed it up, "It's her body and she should be able to decide when and how she wishes to display it." Amen to that.