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UK Women Less Shapely Now 2011-05-29

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest.
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Forget the hourglass;  British women are more likely to be a ‘rectangle’, it seems. There are now five times as many rectangular-shaped women as those with the classic Marilyn Monroe hourglass, research suggests.

Despite this, many of the fashions sold on the high street still apply this outdated silhouette, as a result, nearly 60 per cent of women complain that they are unhappy with the fit of clothes labelled as being their size.

Almost one in two British women fall into the rectangle category, where there is  little difference between the bust, waist and hip measurements. Examples include actresses Keira Knightley, Cameron Diaz and Nicole Kidman.

The figures have been collated by clothing fit analysts at Alvanon, which develops size models used by designers and retailers.

Using 3D imaging technology to measure 50 000 women in the UK and Europe, it has produced ‘more accurate’ templates.

Its “size 12″, for example, measures 90 cm on the bust, 80 cm on the waist, 90 cm around the high hip and 98 cm on the low hip.

Once applied in the high street, the proportion of women who find an excellent or adequate fit rises from 40 per cent to 63 per cent, Alvanon insists.

There are three other mainstream body types in the UK, a spokesman added: one in three women is a ‘spoon‘, where the hips are at least 10cm wider than the bust. And slightly more than one in ten are ‘inverted triangles‘, where the bust is at least 10 cm greater than the hips.

[graphic of women's shapes]

Nearly one in ten falls into the hourglass category, where the bust is at least 18cm bigger than the waist while the hips are within 10 cm of the bust.

Christina Hendricks, who starred in hit U.S. TV series’Mad Men’, fits this shape. It is still seen as the ‘ideal’ form, and shops report strong sales of corsetry designed to achieve this.

Alvanon chief executive Ms.Janice Wang said:

‘People are frustrated and confused by the different sizes and fits they find on the high street.
‘The industry uses an hourglass figure, which has not changed for many years.
‘However, the reality is that the most prevalent shapes are  the rectangle, which is not as curvy, the spoon and the inverted triangle. Brands need to adapt to reflect this reality.’

The research suggests there are some significant differences between British women and those on the mainland.

  • Here, the average bust size is biggest – at 1 metre.
  • Dutch women, who are the tallest in Europe, have the thickest waists at an average of 81.5 cm. Britons rank second at 80.2 cm
  • In terms of hips, the Germans and Dutch are most bottom heavy at  a metre.
  • The British are at 98.5 cm, slightly above the Italians – who are smallest in every category – at 97.5 cm.

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