What size am I Decoding womens clothing size by gabyion

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									What size am I: Decoding women’s clothing size
by Kate Kennedy

Biography: Kate has over 25 years experience in clothing design and development, working as a designer, patternmaker and product manager. She has specialist skills in Computer Aided Design. As a qualified teacher she as also taught fashion and design at a tertiary level. For the last 15 years, Kate has specialised in the design and development of corporate apparel for Fletcher Jones, Dowd Corporation and for the last 9 years with Yakka. She has developed corporate wardrobes for major Australian corporations including, Australia Post, Telstra, ANZ, NAB, AMP, CML, The Department of Defence, and the Australian 2000 and 2004 Paralympic Team. She is currently undertaking a Masters of Technology (Textiles), and is researching issues relating to the problems associated with the inconsistencies in Women’s apparel sizing in Australia, from both a consumer and industry perspective. Abstract: This paper aims to critique the system of size codification for women’s clothing sold in Australia. It is broadly accepted that the fit of women’s clothing sold in Australia is inconsistent and does not conform to a size standard. But why, what size are we really, and what influences our perception of size? An ad hoc system has evolved, that labels clothing size as defined in Standards Australia; AS1344-1997: Sizing coding for women’s clothing of 10, 12, 14, etc, but disregards the specified measurement data. Identified during research undertaken for a Masters of Textiles, this paper examines factors that have influenced this evolution, in particular by the use of a codified rather than an empirical system. Given that the consumer perception of size has been distorted by industry non-compliance to AS1344-1997, this paper examines data from “The Real Australian Woman”: A survey by the Research Institute for Gender and Health, University of Newcastle1, to identify this perception. As an alternative method, the paper explores the viability of adopting a non-codified system that references clothing size to body measurement. Key words: anthropometric, clothing size standards, fashion, body scanning, figure types.

What size am I: Decoding women’s clothing size Introduction The popular press regularly reports on the changing shape of the average Australian woman. We are told she is getting bigger in all dimensions. A feature article “NOW & THEN” in Sunday Life, The Sunday Age magazine, describes body size as having change significantly. “NOW a SIZE 10 measures 95centimetres (bust), 75(waist), and 100(hips). THEN in 1970’s it was 80-60-85”.1 The article suggests a size 10 women’s clothing size has increased 15 centimetres in the bust, waist and hip since the 70’s. This is not the case and this paper seeks to present data that contradicts this statement. This irrational focus on women’s size; is inextricably linked to dialogues on obesity, eating disorders, and other less attractive aspects of our aging population; “the demographic bulge”.2 As the Australian population ages, it gains weight. This applies to both men and women3. Yet discussions on our changing shape focus almost exclusively on the aberrant female form. Contrary to popular assumptions this high profile debate is largely unsupported by reliable data or methodological rigor. This paper explores how the absence of both such elements contributes to a distorted view of women’s size. A distortion that is supported by the historical legacy of disputed standard AS1344-1997: Sizing coding scheme for women’s clothing.4 When body size or changing body size is discussed in academic writing, the focus is usually on cultural/scientific perspectives, e.g. body image, anthropometrics, nutrition, and health. For the apparel industry size definitions are reported in professional and trade literature in technical/practical terms. It could be thought that such literature generated by the industry does not provide valid points of insight for an audience viewing dress as a social and artistic medium. This paper seeks to indicate aspects of this professional literature that resonates with and will inform a more general audience. At the same time this paper endeavours to highlight the ambiguous and inconsistent aspects of the professional technical reference data that contributes to misinformed assumptions by the industry and cultural commentators on this question. These margins of uncertainty or ambiguity themselves contribute to the complexity and volatility of the debate. The background to size dysfunction It is broadly considered that the fit of women’s clothing sold in Australia is inconsistent and does not conform to an acceptable size standard. This generates much confusion and frustration for women when determining clothing size. A quote from Maggie Alderson in an article “Size Matters” summarises the issue;
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“What dress size are you? I’m a size 4. Well, that’s what it says in the label of my Donna Karan jacket, so I must be. But on my Zimmermann dress it says 14. I’ve got Collette Dinnigan garments in small, medium and large. My jeans are 30, my agnes b. skirts are 38 and my Giorgio Armani jacket is 44. I’m a size 10 trouser at David Lawrence, but a size 12 jacket. My Easton Pearson new best dress is a 10, but I can’t even fit into a size 14 Alannah Hill. “So what size am I really? Damned if I know” 5 This confusion over size is mainly attributed to the general non compliance by the apparel industry to a size standard. The standard that defines the size and shape of women’s clothing and underwear AS1344-19976, is a voluntary code and is considered to be based “on body measurements that are not representative of the Australian population”7. This view is supported by Kath Berry and Maciej Henneberg, who propose that body shape….. “has increased substantially over the past few decades”.8 Size designations are identified by an ad hoc single size scale (scalar) e.g., size 12. As they have no obvious relationship to garment measurements they are able to be manipulated. The premise of this ad hoc code is to define size by a single scalar, rather than a different size for different body dimensions. For example if body shape determines that a different size is required for a different part of the body, a size 14 upper body garment and a size 16 lower body garment, this change suggests that the body shape does not conform to that size. This adds to the sense of size uncertainty as highlighted in the quote by Alderson. The impact of this uncertainty on body image was acknowledged by Phillipa Seagrove, Standards Australia’s Director Consumer Standards, to the clothing industry at CS-092-F0000: Sizing Forum in December, 2003. “Also, there is evidence that such stresses during shopping can lead to shoppers questioning the accuracy of their body perception, “Do I see what others see” or “I must be bigger/smaller than what I thought”. There is also some evidence that this has led to some people grossly overestimating the size of certain body sites (such as waist and hip size) when compared to objective measurements, which can lead to body dysmorphic disorder”.9 By way of comparison size inconsistency is not an issue for men’s clothing. Male clothing is commonly identified by body dimensions; i.e. trouser size “87R” which fits a waist measurement of 87 centimetres, or shirt size “42”, which fits a neck that can be identified by a measurement of 42 centimetres. Size definitions are treated as separate elements that relate to body dimensions rather than as the unquantified unimodal code of AS1344-1997. But while the relevance of AS1344-1997 for the modern woman is widely discussed, it is questionable if it has ever represented the physical dimensions of the average woman. The Standard(s) history
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It is possible to trace the data tabled in AS1344-1997 to 1959 when the first standard L9 was developed at the request of the Apparel Manufacturers Association on NSW. Based on a US Department of Commerce Standard (CS 215-58), its preparation was assisted by Berlei whose founder Fred Burley conducted an anthropometric size survey of 6000 women in 1926. This standard was reviewed late in 1969 by data supplied to the Women’s Weekly from a self reported survey. 11,455 women responded with height, bust, waist and hip measurements and,10 as acknowledged by Standard Australia in 1998, …. ‘people measuring themselves can take liberties, and decide to make themselves a little bit smaller”.11 The unreliability of this survey was later confirmed by Standards Australia in the minutes of CS-092-F0000: Sizing Forum: “In 1969 the Australian Women’s Weekly did a national survey of size. The public cheated and the information wasn’t accurate. The impression was given that they had much smaller bodies than reality”.12 Published as Imperial Standard L9-1970, with non-empirical data the standard was a hybrid version of L9. More variables were added with the 1972 metric conversion, which: “was made on the basis of 5cm steps in bust, waist and hip measurements and where the conversion was not an exact arithmetical one, figures were roundedoff to give clarity and flow within the size coding charts”13. In short, forget the impact on the female figure: just round off the numbers to make them easy to read. The new metric size 12 of 85-65-90 centimetres was a conversion from the equivalent size 12 imperial 34-26-36 inches. What became AS1344-1972, was subsequently amended in 1975 AS1344-1975 to include body measurements for “brassieres and bodysuits”,14 an addition which provides the greatest insight into its idealised form. The last edition AS1344-1997, when published, confirmed “the data in the previous edition, due to the absence of a more up-to-date survey”.15 It is plausible that the current size definitions of AS1344-1997, directly linked to the culture of the late 1950’s via standard L9, may never have been representative of the average figure, but more to the ideal hourglass figures of Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot.16 The importance of the discourse on the “modern glamorous body promoted by Hollywood films” has been identified by Sue Best from 1920’s Berlei advertising images. . “In the glamorous body model, corsets enhance the body”. 17 To this end achieving an hourglass silhouette is conditional upon wearing foundation garments. This is stated in the forward of current standard AS1344-1997, as the mandatory condition for determining size for outerwear: “…….tables A1, A2, A3, and A4 are body measurements taken over foundation garments….”.18

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The outerwear tables summarised in fig. 1, define a shape for the average size woman that is hourglass in proportion. As described by Simmons et al: “The hourglass shape has the appearance of being proportional in the bust and hips with a defined waistline”19. This table shows that the shape is replicated in a proportional lineal progression from smallest to largest size.
Fig. 1 in cms

SIZE CODING CHART FOR AVERAGE FITTINGS 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 To fit Bust 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 cm 75 To fit Waist 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 cm 55 To Fit Hip 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 cm 80

24 115 95 120

26 120 100 125

However the key to decoding the size of the uncorseted woman can be found in the forward of AS1344-1975, by the inclusion of data for foundation garments”.20 The associated tables for “brassieres and bodysuits” are presented as “related measurements for underbust and bust circumferences….and are actual body measurements”. 21 It provides insight into the conditional extent of the shape definitions presented in the outerwear tables and defines the differences between the constructed body (for outerwear) and the unconstructed body (for underwear). Consideration must therefore be given to what effect foundation garments have on the shape and size of the body, and can the effect be calculated? Defining size - the blur of the (un)constructed body. The extent of the amount of calculated figure suppression applied by girdles to the body is revealed in the forward of the 1975 edition when describing how to determine the measurements for foundation garments for the lower part of the body: “Girdles of lightweight flexible material are to be based on outerwear tables and manufactured to fit a waist which is 2cm below and 2cm above the measurement in the code and a hip which is up to 4cm above the hip measurement shown in the code”.22 As a result all outerwear tables listed, should be viewed with the variables of; waist +/- 2cms, hip + 4cms. The expectation was that an average girdle would constrain the hip by 4cms. This is almost a full size variation. It was an oversight that this conditional definition was omitted from the 1997 edition, but of little consequence to the standards relevance. It is not commonly understood that there is a different methodology in the calculation of the outerwear tables for the constructed body; measured over foundation garments, and underwear, measured over the unconstructed body, as the size designations are benchmarked at the same size and measurement designations, e.g.: outerwear Size 12 “to fit bust” = 85cms (over foundation garments) brassieres Size 12 “to fit bust” = 85cms (body measurements)
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The size codes and body measurements for brassieres and bodysuits, adds another confused methodology to identify women’s true shape. It defines the range of bust circumference for each size as 10cm (refer fig 2). In contrast the measurement range for each size for outerwear is 5cms (refer fig 1). Thus if we identify our size by our bust size we have more scope for size definition within a size. It is also a methodology that accommodates the variables of bust size in a non idealised (unconstructed) form.
Fig 2 in cms

Size Code and Body Measurements for Brassieres and Bodysuits 23
Bust measurements for cup size Bust size 75 80 85 90 Under bust 65 70 75 80 AA 76 81 86 91 A 78 83 88 93 B 80 85 90 95 C 82 87 92 97 D 84 89 94 99 DD 91 96 101

Code 8 10 12 14 etc
Fig. 3

This confusion is confirmed by what Best describes as a “border dispute, the confusion about what the body is or should be”.24 There is an inherent border dispute within AS1344-1997 with the confusion between size measurement tables for brassieres that identifies “what the body is”, and outerwear which describes what the body “should be”.25 The abandonment of the pantie girdle in the early seventies 26rendered the outerwear tables obsolete, as women’s lower bodies where now unconstructed. Breasts however remain in the constructed zone. The technique first described in AS1344-1975 for determining bra fittings is still current and in common use internationally. This is determined by the difference in the measurement of the under bust to over bust. A sizing system dependent on determinable body measurements makes this approach accountable. However significant AS1344-1997 failings are by using: data from a non-empirical source, a different methodology between outerwear and underwear size definitions and an ad hoc size designation system, it can’t be ignored. It still informs the common practice size designation system and fixed incremental size grade profile used by the clothing industry. It forms the reference points for size identification. Modern creative sizing practices Given the lack of confidence in the standard, it is common for designers and manufacturers to develop their own size specifications based on sales history, customer feedback and professional “hunches”. The obesity debate also has an influence on the perception of size and is contributing to a tendency to increase size specifications.

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For example, the Myer “to fit body measurements taken over underclothing” for their mainstream women’s house brand apparel ranges were inflated in 2000 to represent what the buying office considered a better fit. 27
Fig 3 in cms

Size Bust Waist Hip

Myer 1995 12 92 71 98

Myer 2000 12 95 75 102

Retailers and designers have been accused of the practice of “Vanity Sizing”, by inflating sizes and making them more generous in a bid “to deceive customers into believing they are smaller than they really are” 28. However, size as a marketing strategy is not a new concept. The landmark 1926 Berlei sizing survey of 6000 women aged 15 years and over, conducted in conjunction with researchers from the University of Sydney, was undertaken at time when corset manufactures where seeking new marketing opportunities. Five figure types were defined, via a “scientific” classification of body types: big abdomen, heavy bust, big hips, sway back and average proportions, as a reaction to the 1920’s corsetless Flapper. 29 “In the Berlei Review, founded in 1922 as a trade journal, the brothers warned the willowy 'flapper' against lasting damage to 'muscles and vital organs', or 'excessive figure development in the middle years', and urged her to 'corset for the future'.”30 The Berlei figure type definitions created a campaign identified by Sue Best where the descriptions of body… “types other than average were labelled in extremely pejorative terms”31. This marketing strategy identified the vulnerability of the female shape, fixable, however, by the corset. As previously identified, Berlei were instrumental in the development of the first standard L9 in 1959, and confirmed the importance the foundation garment in the history of AS1344. To continue the tradition, the ad hoc size codification identified in this standard reinforces size vulnerability via its unaccountable nature. Quantifying size But can the issue of clothing size standardisation ever be resolved? “Ever since garments were first mass-produced as “ready-mades”, the problems of what sizes to make and how to label them, have existed”.32 The most interesting development in accountable size designation systems has come from the European standards committee CEN/TC 248/WG 10, which in 1996 started the process of developing a new system for labeling clothing size. European standard EN 13402 for labeling clothes size “is based on body dimensions, measured in centimetres, and aims to replace many older national dress-size systems, most likely
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after the year 2007”. 33 Sizes describing body measurements are accompanied by a pictogram. The standard is based on data from many of the large scale anthropometric 3D body scanning surveys undertaken in EEU countries since the late 1990’s. 3D scanning surveys have also been conducted in the USA (Caesar, and SizeUSA), and are in progress in Mexico, Brazil, South Korea, Thailand, and China.
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New size standards will not necessarily be an outcome of all projects. SizeUSA does not intend to use data to standardize a national size scale. SizeUSA subscribers: clothing manufacturers and retailers, aim to use data to improve garment fit. This amended fit is advertised to consumers via garment tags identifying “Fit by SizeUSA”. Vanity sizing is recognised as a legitimate marketing tool, to be kept in check by a superior fitting garment.35 Australia’s first large scale 3D body scanning project is currently being undertaken by the Australian Defence Force in conjunction with the University of South Australia. The ADAPT Project (Australian Defence Anthropometric Personnel Testing) is currently conducting an anthropometric study of members aged 17-29 by 3D body scanning.36. Data is not currently available from this project. Given the ongoing criticism of AS1344-1997,37 Standards Australia initiated industry forums in 2003 to discuss the process for updating this document. Standards Australia clearly stated their role in this process as recorded in the working group: CS-092-M000, Minutes of Meeting MTG-001 Sizing Systems for Clothing: “The secretary advised the Committee that Standards Australia was also keen to revise the Standard so that it can be of more use to the industry. However it was not in a position to do this with out adequate data. The Committee was informed that it was up to the clothing industry to fund surveys to provide this data”. 38 This decree from Standards Australia to the clothing industry has lead to the formation of the Sizing Consortium of Australia Landmark Evaluation (SCALE)39. SCALE stakeholders include the Textile and Fashion Industry Association (TFIA), the Fashion Technicians Association Australia (FTAA) and the Victorian Government. SCALE is currently seeking industry and Federal Government funding to conduct a survey by “3-D scanning to measure a cross-section of Australians” 40. The project also hopes to capitalise on a growing international body of work of anthropometric 3D body scanning surveys. The Berlei survey of 1926 still provides a significant benchmark definition of the size and shape of the average Australian woman. An anthropometric survey of this size has not been undertaken since. However, to contextualise the methodological reliability of this survey, there is no surviving original survey data of individual measurements. Only summary data exists…. “original reports and numerous tables and hand-drawn graphs”.41 Its greatest legacy is from marketing material, advertisements, trade journals, and the “scientific” body type indicator devise distributed to Berlei retailers from 1927.42
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But there are a few current data sources from which to draw information to help identify the supposed increasing size and shape of the average Australian woman. The most valid source of benchmark data for determining average height and weight is the National Nutrition Survey 1995 (NNS).43 It was conducted between February 1995 and March 1996, by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Department of Health and Family Services. The survey measured survey of 13,800 respondents aged two years and over from urban and rural areas. It was conducted on a subsample of respondents from the National Health Survey (NHS)44 “It is the largest and most comprehensive and recent Australian survey of food and nutrient intake, dietary habits and body measurements”.45 A sub survey of the NNS, How Australians Measure Up 1995, was released in October 1998, and reports on the comparison of self reported data for height and weight against the measured height and weight data from the NNS. It provides insight into how people see themselves, and how they report “often in imperial units: and rounding-off to larger units, such as multiples of 5cm, or to the nearest half stone”. The majority of males and females overestimated their height and underestimated their weight. 46 It further confirms the unreliability of self reported measurement surveys. In 1999, Hestia Pty Ltd, a Berlei brand, commissioned researchers at the Research Institute for Gender and Health at the University of Newcastle to design a study which would explore changes in women’s body size and shape since the 1920’s; as defined by the original Berlei survey and to identify the Real Australian Woman (RAW). 47 Issues relating to body image, health and fitness were also surveyed. 450 women age 25-39 were measured to compare body shapes of women in 1999 of those with women in 1926. Two comprehensive anthropometric surveys have been conducted in Australia since 2002. Both were undertaken as private ventures. In 2002, the National Size and Shape Survey of Australia, co-funded by SHARP Dummies, and the Wood Jones Chair of Anatomy, at the University of Adelaide, measured 1408 volunteers of who 1320 were women at “The Needlework Craft and Quilt Fair” at capital cities around Australia. The project was co-ordinated by Daisy Veitch from SHARP Dummies, and Professor Maciej Henneberg from the University of Adelaide. “SHARP Dummies proposes to use the data to construct a range of charts and mannequins representing the most common body sizes and shapes in the population”.48 The survey data can be purchased and was offered to Standards Australia working group CS-092 in 2003 to update AS1344-1997. It was not accepted by working group CS-092 on the basis that the data was not “sufficiently comprehensive and representative to allow the revision of the current Standard, considering the size of the survey and the average age of 50 of the participants”.49 A summary of averages defined according AS1344-1997 size designations has been submitted to Standards Australia, as a reference for working groups. 50

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The Rip Curl anthropometric survey undertaken in 2003, measured 2300 females aged 12 to 24 over a 12 day period at Surfers Paradise and Bondi Beach, Warringal Mall, Highpoint Shopping Centre and Torquay. Tony Stalls the project instigator and manager reported that there was an overwhelming response from both measurement volunteers and the press. Rip Curl implemented new size standards after analysis of the data in the 2003-04 summer season and reported an 86% increase in sales for that season attributed in part by Stalls to a better fitting product.51 The survey was conducted under the anthropometric supervision of Professor Henneberg. Full survey data has not been released by Rip Curl, but the average size was made available.52 Both The National Size and Shape and Rip Curl survey attracted a great deal of media attention when released, as this topic borders the areas of fashion, popular science, body image and health. To paraphrase the New York Times masthead, it appears “the fit is news to print”. Professor Henneberg has been able to attract much media interest in the topic by presenting a scientific analysis of our changing shape. “Australians growing in the wrong direction”, Penny Fannin, Science Reporter for The Age highlighted our changing shape, based upon research from Professor Henneberg’s Masters student Kathleen Berry. Fannin reported that Berry’s study showed “the average height of Australian women in the 1920s was 161cms. Their weight averaged 59.1 kilograms. But in the 1990s, the average height was 163cms and weight 66kgs”.53 These measurements suggest a comparison of the average sizes for the 1926 Berlei woman to the average “Real Australian Woman” of 1999. At the time Professor Henneberg, was leading a consortium bid of nine Australian universities, the CSIRO and the fashion industry for funding for an anthropometric survey of 25,000 people. The project, to be funded by the Federal Government’s $700 million textile assistance package, did not eventuate.54 A similar story made front page of the Sydney Morning Herald on the previous day. “Fashion and science size up Australia as Marilyn Monroe goes missing”, reported Berry as saying….“once we had Marilyn Monroe figures, with a smaller waist….now we seem to be getting more thick around the waist”.55 Janice Breen Burns fashion editor for The Age, reported in an article titled “Why the nation’s stylish women are having a fit”,… “Now, the worlds of science and fashion are stitching up a deal to accurately map the many forms of the female figure”.56 However, is the subject of our increasing waistline a modern phenomenon? Farid Chenoune cites that the size of the average women’s waistline changed from 22 inches in 1889, to 28 inches by 1922. In this period, women had abandoned their corsets for liberating flapper underwear of flattener bars and cami-knickers.57 The fickleness of this debate is further exacerbated by widely publicised issues of eating disorders and dieting, constantly contrasted against reports of our increasing levels of Body Mass Index (BMI) being in the overweight and obese range.58 The ban
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of models with a BMI under 18 at the 2006 Madrid Fashion Week claims to have “struck a blow for real women”.59 In light of such debates what information can we draw from the data? In an attempt to identify if the average female’s size as cited “has increased substantially over the past few decades”,60 the table below compares averages from surveys: Berlei, RAW, Rip Curl, and National Size & Shape, and the age segmented mean averages for height and weight from NNS:
Fig. 4 in cms Age Range
61

25-39 Berlei 1926

22 – 39 RAW 1999

12 – 24 Rip Curl 2003 164 88 71 97 58 17 21.6 2300

18 – 100 National

62

Size & Shape 2002 162 90 76 101

16-18 NNS 1995

19-24 NNS 1995

25-44 NNS 1995

45-64 NNS 1995

65> NNS 1995

19> NNS 1995

Height Bust Waist Hip Weight Ave age BMI # Participants Fig. 5

161.7 87.5 73 97.5 61.5 28 23.5 6000

164.7 93.5 76.5 101 66 30 24.3 450

164.1

163.9

162.9

161.1

156.7

161

61.4 50 22.8 1320

63.4 23.7

67.3 25.4

71.2 27.4

66.1 27.2

67.7 25.7 >5000

The figures of the figures show a common trend: the average Australian woman is pear shaped and so was the Berlei average woman of 1926. Fig. 5 shows the relationship between hip to bust, hip to waist and bust to waist. By figure shape classifications according to Simmons et al., 63 all are bottom hour glass or pear shaped. A comparison of the Berlei woman’s shape (unconstructed) to the hour glass shape (constructed) of AS1344-1997, shows that the hip to bust ratio is twice the amount for the Berlei woman.
Fig.5 in cms.
Berlei 1926 Bottom H/glass pear 10 24.5 14.5 RAW 1999 Bottom H/glass pear 7.5 24.5 17 9 26 17 11 25 14 5 20 25 Rip Curl 2003
National

Size & Shape 2002

AS1344 Size 8-26

Shape Hip – Bust Hip – Waist Bust – Waist

The Berlei woman was measured in an unconstructed form as reported by Amanda Paterson the project manager for the RAW survey: “in bathing costumes,…….of the time were a one piece design with a ‘singlettype top’ and extended to mid-thigh, but without any bust support”.64
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This was also the methodology used for the RAW, Rip Curl and The National Shape and Size surveys. Other conclusions that can be drawn from in Figure 4 show: That height has increased by 3cms for the RAW woman from the Berlei woman, but a comparison of the Berlei woman to the NNS averages for the 25-44 age group shows only a 1.3 cm increase. The NNS survey data shows in the age group 45-64 height is .5cm less than the Berlei average. A comparison of bust measurements to the Berlei woman shows an increase of 6cms in the bust for the RAW woman, but only .5cm for the Rip Curl and 2.5cm on Shape and Size. Waists have increased by 3.5cms for the RAW woman from the 1926 Berlei average woman but decreased by 2cms for Rip Curl figure and increased 3cms for Shape and Size. This is less than the tolerance allowed for waist expansion foundation garments in AS1344-1975, +/- 2cms = 4cm. Hips have increased by 3.5cms for the RAW and Shape and Size woman but and decreased by 2cms for Rip Curl average shape. Again this is less than the corset suppression allowance in AS1344-1975 of 4cms for the hip. Weight has increased by 4.5kgs for the RAW woman, and decreased by 3.5kgs for Rip Curl figure. The NNS data shows a trend of weight increase with age. As the average age of our population increases, so does the average weight. It appears that the “demographic bulge” is real. We gain weight with age. When comparing the RAW, Rip Curl and Shape and Size average women to the 1926 Berlei woman the changes are less than the standard incremental growth of 5cm between garment size as shown in the standard size table of AS 1344. The major variation is between the 6cm bust size increase from the Berlei woman to RAW. However, it is still within the size range for Bra size tables for the same size. As shown, the shape definition for all four survey figures is pear shaped. A classification of figure shapes from the RAW data shows that only 11% of women fit the hourglass shape, but 66% of women fit the bottom hour glass category. This is followed by 19% rectangle shape (bust and hip in proportion but a bigger waist than hourglass), 3% triangle shape (larger hip than bust, with no waist definition), 8% were inverted triangle and .2% a top hourglass.65 There is no evidence that the average size woman has increased 15 centimetres in the bust, waist and hip since the 70’s.

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Conclusion This paper has presented a comparative analysis of sizing data that demonstrates how arbitrary the conclusions of size are. This has been shown to be attributable to a range of factors including erroneous data, subjective interpretations, and dubious methodology. There is little question that AS1344-1997 is an irrelevant reference for women’s size and shape, that is unless women reclaim girdles. It is hard to justify why this misinformed document remains a saleable product for Standards Australia, except that is: to maintain a (size) myth. The hourglass shape as defined in AS1344-1997 does not represent the shape of the average woman “NOW” and most probably did not represent the average corsetless woman of 1959 “THEN”. The shape was an ideal not real. It does not appear that we have changed shape to the extent of the hype in the media stories that describe expanding waists and missing Marilyn Monroe figures. Using AS1344-1997 as a benchmark for women’s size is not valid. As the Australian apparel industry once again enters the quest to conduct an anthropometric survey of our population, consideration must be given to a number of issues. Is it worth establishing a new standard if the majority of manufacturers and designers will ignore the standard for marketing advantage? There does not exist within the industry, an informed debate, let alone consensus as to the purpose and application of any new standard. For example, this paper has identified the methodological confusion that exists due to the difference in performance requirements associated with the constructed and the unconstructed body. Will a 3D scanning-based anthropometric study simply replicate the errors of the past? Finally, in an age of technologically driven mass customization, where the reality of manufacturing for the individual is increasingly viable, do we really need new (inter)national sizing standards anyway?

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1 Fazzino, V, “Now and Then” THE SUNDAY AGE: Sunday Life Magazine, September 10th, 2006, p11. (data source attributed to Sharp Dummies). 2 Australian Bureau of Statistics:3201.0 - Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, Jun 2005 Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/12/2005.http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs@.nsf/b06660592430724fca2568b500 7b8619/b52c3903d894336dca2568a9001393c1!OpenDocument, (retrieved 21/10/06) 3 Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Nutrition Survey: users' guide. Canberra: AGPS, 1995. (Catalogue No. 4801.0.) p37. 4 SAI, AS 1344-1997:Size coding scheme for women’s clothing – (Underwear, outerwear and foundation garments).Standards Australia. 5 Alderson, M. “Size Matters”, THE AGE Good Weekend, Style Notes, p28 January 30th 1999. 6 SAI, AS 1344-1997, op.cit. 7 Krieken, A., J Kellock, Joint TFIA and FTAA Letter to stakeholders “Preliminary stakeholder meeting on sizing and body measurement”, March 24th 2005, personal correspondence. 8 Berry, K., M. Henneberg, “Australian Fashion Body Ideal is far from Reality”, Challenge the Body Culture Conference Proceedings – Brisbane 1997, p83. 9 Standards Australia, CS-092-F0000: Sizing Forum Minutes: Sizing Systems for Clothing, December, 3rd 2003. https://committees.standards.org.au/COMMITTEES/CS-092/F0000/CS-092CIRC.HTM (member login retrieved 15/10/06) 10 Standards Australia, AS 1344-1975:Size coding scheme for women’s clothing – (Underwear, outerwear and foundation garments), p3. 11 “Solving the Sizing Dilemma”, Ragtrader, p10, 6th March 1998. 12 Standards Australia, CS-092-F0000: Sizing Forum Minutes: Sizing Systems for Clothing, op.cit. 13 AS 1344-1975,op.cit., p2. 14 Ibid. 15 AS 1344-1997, op.cit., p2. 16 Chenoune, F. “Hidden Femininity 20th Century Lingerie”, Assouline, 1999, p180. 17 Best, S. “Foundations of femininity:Berlei corsets and the (un) making of the modern body”, Continuum:The Australian Journal of Media & Culture vol.5 no 1 (1991) p2, http://wwwmcc.murdoch.edu.au/ReadingRoom/5.1/Best.html (retrieved 3/11/06) 18 SAI, AS 1344-1997, op.cit., p4. 19 Simmons, K., C. Istook and P. Devarajan, “Female Figure Identification Technique (FFit) for Apparel, Part 1:Deacribing Female Shapes”. Journal of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management, Vol 4, Issue 1 Summer 2004, p12. 20 AS 1344-1974. op.cit., p2. 21 AS 1344-1974. op.cit., p14. 22 AS 1344-1974, op.cit., p5. 23 AS 1344-1974. op.cit., p14. 24 Best, S., op.cit., p1. 25 ibid
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26 Farid, C., op.cit., p181. 27 Myer Quality Assurance Guidelines 1995/Myer Quality Assurance Manual: QAM 08/12/00. 28 Wells, R. “Does my bum look big in this? Yes and no”, THE SUNDAY AGE, News p3, July 2nd 2006. 29 Fields, J., “Fighting the corsetless evil': shaping corsets and culture, 1900-1930”, Journal of Social History, Vol. 33, 1999. p15. 30 Burley, Frederick Richard (1885 - 1954) http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A130714b.htm. (retrieved 10/10/06) 31 Best, S op,cit., p11. 32 ISO/TC 133 N “Sizing systems and designations for clothes: the development of standard sizing systems for clothes”, South African Bureau of Standards, July 1991, p1. 33 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EN_13402. (retrieved 10/10/06) 34 US - Civilian American and European Surface Anthropometry Resource project. CAESAR. http://www.sae.org/servlets/index and http://www.hec.afrl.af.mil/HECP/Card4.shtml Size UK – http://www.size.org/ Size USA – http:// www.sizeusa.com/ France – European Research Consortium for Infomatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) “Project Made to Measure Garments 2D/3D approach”. http://www.ercim.org/MtoM3D/ South Africa – a joint venture initiative was formed by Ergonomics Technologies, the University of Pretoria, Department of Consumer Science, and the University of Potchefstroom, School of Biokinetics, Sports Science and Human Movement, to be known as AFRICAN BODY DIMENSIONS (ABD). http://cyberg.wits.ac.za/cyberg/sessiondocs/physical/anthro/anthro4/anthro4.htm 35 http://sizeusa.com/ (retrieved 10/10/06) 36 ADAPT project (Australian Defence Anthropometric Personnel Testing) http://www.unisa.edu.au/adapt/default.asp, (retrieved 10/10/06) 37 “Solving the Sizing Dilemma”, op.cit., p10. 38 Standards Australia, CS-092-M0001: Minutes of Meeting MTG-001:Sizing Systems for Clothing, 13 August 2003. (member login retrieved 15/10/06) 39 Murphy, M., “Shape up on sizes, fashion industry urged” http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Shape-up-on-sizes-fashion-industryurged/2005/03/28/1111862325387.html, March 29, 2005, (retrieved 10/10/06) 40 Ibid. 41 Patterson, A., The Real Australian Woman: A survey by the Research Institute for Gender and Health, 1999, The University of Newcastle, In association with the Universtiy of Queensland and Deakin University, commissioned by Hestia Australia, unpublished. 42 Best, S op,cit., p11. 43 Australian Society for the Study of Obesity, 1995 National Nutrition Survey. https://www.asso.org.au/profiles/profs/reportsguides/nutrition/369 (retrieved 10/10/06) 44 Australian Bureau of Statistics. “National Health Survey: users' guide”. Canberra: AGPS, 1995. (Catalogue No. 4363.0.)
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45 Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Nutrition Survey: users' guide. Canberra: AGPS, 1995. (Catalogue No. 4801.0.) p37. 46 Australian Bureau of Statistics, “How Australian’s Measure Up”, Canberra, AGPS, 1995. (Catalogue No. 4359.0) 47 Women’s Health Australia: The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, “Report 14”, June 10, 2000, 1.2.1.1 p 6. 48 Kinathreport, “National Size and Shape Survey”, XVI: 1 January 2003, p35. 49 SAI CS-092-M0001: Minutes of Meeting MTG-001:Sizing Systems for Clothing, 13 August 2003. 50 Ibid. 51 Stalls, T, “Rip Curl Survey Report”:Technology and the Technologist, Australian TCF Technology Network, Workshop 3, October 5th 2006. unpublished personal account. 52 Lunn, J., “The great stitch-up”, http://www.smh.com.au/news/Fashion/The-greatstitchup/2005/01/28/1106850084401.html, (retrieved 12/9/06). 53 Fannin, P., “Australians growing in the wrong direction” The Age, January 5th 2001, p 3. 54 CS-092-00-01-M0002:Meeting MTG-002:Dress Sizing Standard Upgrade, 11th May 2004. (personal notes) 55 Nixon, S, “Fashion and science size up Australia as Marilyn Monroe goes missing”, Sydney Morning Herald, January 4th, 2001, p 1. 56 Breen Burns, J, “Why the nation's stylish women are having a fit”, http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/07/25/1027497382874.html?oneclick=true, retrieved 10/10/06. 57 Farid, C., op.cit., p44. 58 Australian Bureau of Statistics, “National Nutrition Survey Selected Highlights Australia”, op.cit., p13. 59 Kizilos, K., “In search of the model weight” THE AGE, Insight 3, September 16, 2006. 60 Berry, K., M. Henneberg, “Australian Fashion Body Ideal is far from Reality”, Challenge the Body Culture Conference Proceedings – Brisbane 1997, p83. 61 Women’s Health Australia: The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, loc cit., p6. 62 Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Nutrition Survey: users' guide, loc cit., p36-37. 63 Simmons, K., C. Istook and P. Devarajan, op.cit., p12. 64 Patterson, A., The Real Australian Woman: A survey by the Research Institute for Gender and Health, 1999, op.cit, p5 65 Ibid. Some references included in this list are from the author’s personal reference library of working group documents and trade journals. Acknowledgements Thanks to Dr Juliette Peers for her assistance with this paper.

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