Long Tall Sally data shows disconnect between industry standards and women's shapes

Specialist fit fashion retailer Long Tall Sally has released new research showing that the traditional body shapes the industry is driven by (pear, apple, hourglass, rectangle and inverted triangle) “do not reflect modern women.”



Long Tall Sally

The company said it has come up with 10 new body shape illustrations based on new data that “supports the movement to expand body shape definitions”.

The term ‘pear-shaped’ has been used to describe the female body since the 1800s, but the research from the company highlights how “outdated and unrepresentative the five standard body shapes are.”

Based on in-depth analysis of body measurements from women in the UK and US, It said that over 40.1 million women “struggle to identify with any of the classic body shapes [and] that the reason for this is because the classic body shapes fail to account for how a woman’s height affects the shape of her body.”

The company, which offers sizes for taller women, said that data of 2,000 women - including their height, shoulder width, waist, hips, inside leg and torso length - was collected and analysed by a body expert to find the most common combinations of height and body part measurements. 

The firm’s garment technologists then transformed these groupings of measurements to create its series of 10 new body shapes that “champion diversity and showcase a more inclusive and representative range of contemporary women’s body heights and shapes.”

It also said that “one particularly striking element of the research is the astonishingly negative words that women use to describe their body shape, with 99% of participants using shaming terms, such as ‘an ugly mess’, ‘potato’, ‘repulsive’ and, the most popular adjective ‘fat’.” Just a tiny 1% of women used positive descriptions such as ‘beautiful’, ‘strong’ and ‘perfect’.


Long Tall Sally


With that in mind, the company added that it “has adopted empowering adjectives” to name the new body shapes, coming up with Extraordinary, Courageous, Inspiring, Determined, Passionate, Powerful, Graceful, Strong, Fearless and Invincible.

Creative director Camilla Treharne said the research wasn’t exhaustive but was eye-opening and will be used by the company “as a starting point" to make sure the fit of its new fashion ranges suit a more inclusive set of body shapes. It’s also feeding into its #TrueToMySize campaign.

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