They say that fashion fades but style is eternal however this isn’t strictly true when you consider the ever-changing shape of the female body. The 21st Century has seen the average dress size rise to a more shapely size 16 so it’s no wonder that ladies dresses for curvy girls are becoming the norm. Today’s post takes a look at the ever changing shape of women.
If we were to go back almost one hundred years to the 1920s, a woman’s ‘vital statistics’ would look something like this; 31-20-32. Their small frames could be put down to the fact that post-war Britain saw an increase in people living in poverty and under-eating, which became common. Cars were not commonplace so walking everywhere was the norm; women in their 20s exercised without even knowing. The 20s also saw a rise in women dieting – wealthy women who ate a rich diet craved a toned, fashionable figure.
The fifties saw a UK-wide survey of women’s body shapes which revealed that the average woman had a 27inch waist, a 32B bust and was 5ft 2in. Probably the most iconic 50s pin up has to be Marilyn Monroe to give you an idea of how this female ideal looked. In the present day you’re looking at sizes like a 34in waist, a 38C bust and 5ft 4in.
This might have something to do with the consumer-culture of the 1960s in which most homes had a TV set, a vacuum cleaner and a washing machine. As people spent more time sitting down and cleaning became less labour-intensive, naturally you’d expect people’s shapes to change. Interestingly, from the 60s emerged the ever-popular pear shaped body as the bottom half of the hourglass figure changed to become bigger than the top half.
Fast-forward twenty odd years to the 1980s and you’d see a massive increase in the popularity of exercise classes – think aerobics classes and lots of neon Lycra! Video and computer games became really popular which might explain why physical exercise took a bit of a back seat…
Skip to today and it’s clear we’re all aware of the importance of getting fit and being healthy. However, we live in an ironic world because although our body shapes are clearly changing, the models we see on the catwalk don’t reflect this change.