Chapter 18. Yesterday’s chubby is today’s voluptuous

The size and shape of the “average” U.S. consumer today is dramatically different from what it was 60 years ago. Nevertheless, apparel companies still develop clothing lines based on a 1941 military study that set sizing standards based on a small sample of mostly white, young (and presumably physically fit) female soldiers. Those standards are finally starting to change based on the fact that the typical woman’s body is no longer as “petite” as it used to be. The most commonly purchased dress today is a size 14; it was a size 8 in 1985!

Standards based upon an outdated snapshot of U.S. women need to recognize the diversity of today’s ethnic population: According to current criteria, fully 78 ...

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