In Praise of the Title Nine Catalog Models

by Abe Sauer

Starting with its very name, Title Nine is clearly shooting for some kind of women’s advocacy position. The clothier’s catalog and website are full of tangents on fitness and personal stories and recipes and feelings. Do I care about any of that? I do not.

Are Title Nine’s clothes cute? I have no idea. They look comfortable. Are they too expensive? Do they carry petite sizes? Plus sizes? Don’t know. Don’t care. Such are not the concerns of a straight man who finds himself paging through a women’s clothing catalog. My interest in women’s clothing begins and ends with the models in each brand’s respective catalog. So why the hell don’t Title Nine’s get more attention?

Title Nine says its models “are ordinary women capable of extraordinary things.” Maybe. For sure one of the extraordinary things they are capable of is being hot. Hot like no other catalog models are hot. Hot because they look fun, something no other models ever seem to be having.

Take this one Title Nine model for instance: Caitlin “grew up on a commune and has 11 siblings.” Eleven siblings? A commune? Do you know what Gisele probably talks about when she’s not at work? I don’t know either, but I promise it’s less interesting than childhood commune anecdotes. Plus, pigtails and a chainsaw?

Sure, Title Nine models may not boast the measurements of other catalog beauties; but what are guys lusting after anyway, math?

For example, a Title Nine-Victoria’s Secret comparison:

Christ lady, why so serious? You’re at the goddamn beach. Look over to your right. That’s what fun at the beach looks like. For god’s sake, you’re not even wet.

It says more about those who would take a Victoria’s Secret model over one of the Title Nine gals than it does about the models themselves. Specifically, such a choice says “I just like to look.” Those are the same guys whose original Star Wars figures are still in the box, accumulating value.

For those of us living in the colder environs, the Title Nine gals are made even more attractive by not just regularly appearing in some cold weather gear, but by sexing it up with fun… in the snow. What good is some Brazilian thoroughbred who’s just going to sit inside and whine about how the Alberta Clipper stings her face?

Of course, a particular appreciation for the Title Nine catalog has as much to do with the gams as the games. To look at a Victoria’s Secret or J. Crew model is to ask, “How do their legs not break?” (As a matter of fact, her thighs are what consistently make Angelina Jolie unbelievable in any action film.) Indeed, thighs don’t lie. A Title Nine model has legs a man can ogle without fear of causing damage. For example, here’s a model from the latest J-Crew catalog with a hockey stick.

I can only assume she’s leaning on the stick due to early onset osteoporosis.

I don’t know much about Title Nine. The Title Nine mission statement is the quirky kind of thing one would expect. It’s charming, but often in a calculated on-brand kind of way. “We’re quirky!” “We like dessert.” What I do know is that it’s run by founder Missy Park, who, beside looking kind of like a former Title Nine model herself, actually shows up in the comments on blogs to respond to customer complaints. That’s hot.

I understand that Gap Inc.-owned Athleta is similar to Title Nine. Well, for starters, none of those catalogs come to my house. Would the fact that Athelta is owned by some conglomerate run mostly by men matter to me? Probably not.

Despite the brand’s “real women” models claim, some real women harbor ill feelings toward Title Nine. In fact, Title Nine’s “real women” claim may make catalog model body issues frustration even worse (as evidenced by this full thread from a few years ago).

But what do I care about that? Mine is simply the conventional male catalog-model-ogling. It’s about time it’s admitted that just because you pose a model being adventurous or active or fun doesn’t mean she looks adventurous or active or fun. And a man looking for an 82-second fantasy doesn’t have time to imagine “fun” as well.

Abe Sauer writes for a number of publications. He is writing a book of North Dakotan humor. It is doomed.