While the media promotes being tall and thin as the ideal body type, the realities are actually much different. Back in the early 2000s, data revealed that the average American woman was a Size 14, which wasn’t hard to believe. However, nearly 20 years later, that information is no longer the case and in fact, the average woman is between a Size 16 and 18.
- This change is hardly surprising. The new data was published in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education and to many, the new revelation was hardly a surprise. After all, even a Size 14 isn’t very large, but do we know we’re getting bigger as a nation, so it seems right that the average has shifted upwards.
- Waist circumference has gone up by 2.6 inches. Researchers studied the measurements of more than 5,500 American women over the age of 20 in combination with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From this, they calculated an increase in waist circumference of 2.6 inches over the past 21 years.
- Noting this change is really important. Not only do women in general need to understand that there’s nothing wrong with being a Size 16 or 18 (or any size for that matter). In fact, understanding that many women are this size might help them not to compare themselves to unrealistic standards. The researchers hope “that women may be relieved in knowing the average clothing size worn is larger than [they] thought.”
- The public needs to be less judgmental too. This could help clothing brands to begin catering to women of different sizes as they readjust their idea of “average.” As lead study author Deborah Christel, Ph.D explained, “I am hoping this will help nudge the fashion industry to seriously consider expanding their sizes.” The researchers added, “In light of this overlap in sizing classification, frequent reports of female customers being frustrated about the general fit and sizing of clothing is understandable.”