Praise and elevation of the hourglass shape or super thin female bodies have dominated mainstream style for what seems like ages. The societal pressure to achieve such shapes has been all around us, from movies and television to store displays, billboards and governmental messaging, for the better part of a century. These pressures have throughout time spurred whole industries of products and services to “help” women achieve the look that society was pushing. From external body modifications with suffocating corsets to internal injections or rejections (i.e. intense diets, area-targeting exercise classes, liposuction, cosmetic surgery), the womanly body has taken some hard hits when it comes to “satisfying” the mainstream image.
But is all of this necessary? Plain and simply, no. As we’ve said in prior articles, every body is different and everybody is beautiful in their own way.
Attempts to categorize women into numeric sizes began with government studies in the 1940s when ‘ready-made’ clothing began to show up in stores. Data used came from various measurements collected from 15,000 volunteers, all of which were white women.(1) This resulted in the first size charts based on bust size and the average proportions of an hourglass figure. A decade later, the system was updated with more data which this time was gathered from women in the military. This revised standard was adopted but soon the government abandoned the standardization of sizes and left it up to private sector companies to maintain size charts.
Throughout the years, the search for finding a standardized size for the female body has left unrealistic stamps-of-approval for clothing and lack of body appreciation. Even when the American Society of Testing and Materials attempted to normalize the standard size, the world of manufacturers ignored statistical information.(2) Now women swim in a pool of the unknown to what is truly an appropriate size for their shape.
When shopping, we have a sense of the reliable brands that provide us with the clothes that we like and sizes we are familiar with. But even that is hit or miss and at best it limits our selection. For example, JCPenney, Macy’s, Sears, and Foley’s (when it was still around) have been there for me ALL my life. I am familiar with the styles they represent, the sizes that usually fit me, and most certainly, the “sales”. However, as I grow older, I am attracted to other stores, like Rue21, Forever21, or Image. Most assuredly, the latter is why I do not trust shopping online because of the smaller size range that these stores market for.
Bottom line, women’s bodies are significantly extremely diverse! Given the natural flow of our body from hormones, food, work, and other situations, the idealistic vision of a skinny, society-appeasing shape is completely far away from the realistic, natural shape of women. We as women more often than not unfortunately succumb to the pressure of “not being good enough” to fit clothing we like because of impractical expectations and standards. Even today, the large bust and bum with skinny waist overshadows the uniqueness of various body types. Or rather, it is the primary vision that women and girls see and are pushed to become. It is what traditional clothing designers use to create fashion and scale to their “standard” sizes. However, I’m here to say that there are more shapes that matter just as much, and are just as beautiful. One of which is the pear-shape.
Now into the 21st century, we’ve seen different shapes and sizes from J. Lo and Beyonce to Jennifer Hudson and Ashley Graham. All are examples of bold and beautiful women, slayin in confidence!
This is a call for extreme body appreciation! Every natural body type is unique in its own way. We may not be as bootylicious as Beyonce or charming as Heidi Klum, but we are even more amazing when we accept ourselves, maintain good health, and present ourselves with full confidence. With BePear, we aim to encourage you to find your style and flaunt the parts of you that make you unique. The acknowledgement that every woman is different in her own way goes a long way when clothing lines present their garments. In order offer a stress-free experience, BePear has done the homework for you. No need to worry about what size you THINK you might need. Whether its garments we have hand selected from various designers or clothing we have designed ourselves, BePear has standardized them to our own size chart derived from hundreds of measurements collected from pear-shaped women. With you in mind, you can actually shop the style of your choice without having the worry.
Embrace your curves and live in your own unique style!