Marilyn Monroe hourglass figure? British women are more likely to be a rectangle
By SEAN POULTER
Last updated at 7:03 PM on 28th May 2011
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Despite this, many of the fashions sold on the high street still apply this outdated silhouette.
Perfect proportions: Christina Hendricks, left, and Marilyn Monroe, right, both have the iconic hourglass shape
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.
Right angle: One in two British women have rectangle body shapes just like Keira Knightley, left, and Cameron Diaz, right
Its ‘size 12’, for example, measures 35.4in on the bust, 28.3in on the waist, 35.4in around the high hip and 38.6in 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 four inches wider than the bust. And slightly more than one in ten are ‘inverted triangles’, where the bust is at least four inches greater than the hips.
Nearly one in ten falls into the hourglass category, where the bust is at least 7in bigger than the waist while the hips are within 4in 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 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 continent.
Here, the average bust size is biggest - at 37.5in.
Dutch women, who are the tallest in Europe, have the thickest waists at an average of 32in. Britons rank second at 31.6in.
In terms of hips, the Germans and Dutch are most bottom heavy at 39.6in.
The British are at 38.8in, slightly above the Italians - who are smallest in every category - at 38.4in.
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