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A Question of Size


Size UK used the very latest technology in 3D body scanning to measure and chart over 11’000 men and women across the United Kingdom. The Department of Trade and Industry set up the project along with an injection of funds from a consortium of retailers – such as; Arcadia, Oasis, BHS and the John Lewis Partnership.

The findings are primarily to improve and modernize clothing and sample sizes for the 16 retailers that helped finance the survey. For a fee, however, other retailers can access the data through Bodymetrics, the organisation handling the license for Size UK.

Published at the end of last week, the gist of the report suggests – as we suspected an increase in overall size for both men and women. It seems the shapely hourglass figure is in decline, as the average waist measurement reveals an increase by (6.5) 16.5cm. Bust and hip measurements have also increased but the most notable difference is in the waist area, revealing a more tubular silhouette. Men are also becoming more tubular with chest, waist and hip measurements slowly but steadily converging.

Improved clothing fit for the individual will not be the only benefit from the Size UK survey. The measurement data was cross-referenced with marketing questionnaires covering information that included shopping and lifestyle habits. The correlated information provides a detailed survey that may not just be of use to fashion retailers but could help other sectors, such as the transport industry, or furniture manufacturers, to improve the dimensions and comfort of their seats.

A new average size revealed:

Average measurements for women in the UK were: bust 38.5 waist 34 hips 40.5 with an average height of 5’4.5

The average male meanwhile, turned out measurements of: chest 42 waist 37 hips 40.5.

Survey participants ranged from all ages (16  – 95) and backgrounds. Volunteers were asked to walk into body-scanning machines that can record 130 body measurements within seconds.

Other countries have followed the Size UK initiative by conducting studies of their own. The British Standards Institute, along with its European counterparts plan to use the data to create a new range of sizes to be made available across the continent.

Who knows, 3D body-scanning machines could well become the changing-rooms of the future, taking away the hassle of having to physically try anything on, making ill-fitting garments a problem from the past.

For more information or the possible purchase and use of the results of the UK National Sizing Survey visit:


Or email info@bodymetrics.com

By Jo Iles






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