Friday, 15 November 2013

Embracing the Average Size of Women in the UK - Size 16

Last week, it was announced that Debenhams are changing their size 8-10 mannequins to size 16 mannequins in all of their UK stores. They're urging other large retailers to follow them to help "reflect the average size of women in the UK"

Today, too much emphasis is placed on looks and beauty rather than what kind of person you are inside. To be honest, I can see why - the sexualisation of young teenagers, the constant use and promotion of Photoshop and the stigma against anyone who haven't got a 'thigh gap' or doesn't conform to the 'model look'.
With every size comes a stigma. Whether you're tall, short, skinny or plus size, you're bound to receive criticism from some people for not conforming to their views (which I personally put down to jealousy!) Even though I'm a size 6, I personally find that clothes look better on a fuller sized model. People assume that I'm happy with my size - which I am! I love fitting into children's clothes and not having to worry tooo much about calories and what I'm eating, but reality is, the world is a cruel place. I used to get bullied and even though that's stopped, I still get the awkward remarks about eating food. We all need to think about all ends of the spectrum: what does it feel like for those you're calling fat or anorexic, ugly or fake? It breaks your heart and you're constantly worrying and thinking about what others are thinking about you. But you can't please everybody.

However, we need to think of what image this is portraying to the audience. Just because you're skinny doesn't mean you're healthy and neither does being fuller sized mean you're unhealthy. Of course, there is the fact that yes, there is a problem with obesity at the moment, but that's not a reason to 'tar everyone with the same brush' . We could all embrace this opportunity to portray the average UK sized woman but also promote living a healthy lifestyle at the same time.
What is off-putting is the constant Photoshopping of models and practically anything and everything in magazines. The question is, when looking at all of these images you need to wonder what is real and what is altered to conform to 'beautiful'. Another irritating point is that most of the mannequins used in stores may have a size 8-10 waist, but if you look closely at the proportions of their legs and arms, they are VERY MUCH out of proportion. This therefore does not represent a woman's shape, whether that's the average size 16 UK woman or even an average 8-10. It MAY spur people on to get fit and healthier, but it's creating the image of something that is unachievable. - I'm a size 6 and I do not look like that!

I am totally behind this change and I hope that other major retailers follow and help change the fashion industry from using size 0 models and out of proportion mannequins to style clothes. This would be beneficial to the customers viewing products that are viewed on a 'real woman' and also improve the image of the retailers embracing the shape of the average woman in the UK however, we need to keep track of living a healthy lifestyle at the same time.
Everyone is beautiful, it's just a shame not everyone sees it that way.
What do you think about Debenham's changing their size 8-10 mannequins for size 16? Do you think retailers need to embrace the average size of the UK woman?


  1. "Average" according to who/ what calculation? I can't help but think they've manipulated the numbers to make a statement.

    But anyway, whilst for the most part I agree with what you are saying, I think a size 16 may be slightly too big. I'm no medical expert, but I think the majority of those women that are a size 16 are slightly overweight and not as healthy as they should be... whilst I don't want to encourage extreme vanity, I do want to encourage good health. For a lot of people, mannequins being a size 8-10 serves as (positive!) motivation to get fitter and lose weight. I don't want to be telling people that it's completely okay to be a size 16... if that size is natural for your body type etc, then yes fine, and I bet those women look beautiful for it, but for those who it isn't... well, they shouldn't stop thinking that they need to get fitter.


    1. Thanks for your comment.
      I partly agree with you. Although some parts I think you're overlooking.
      The average UK woman is a size 16 - so why not portray this in shop windows if that is the average size? I understand that yes, a fuller figure may portray unhealthy living, but why use out of proportion models? I work in retail and I know the size of mannequins. The way the clothes are portrayed and the way they look and hang on the mannequins are totally different to what they look like on the customer. And that goes for a lot of high stress stores.
      Yes, a healthy lifestyle needs to be promoted but at the moment I can't see how the current mannequins are portraying this either? I'm a size 6, and a lot of the mannequins in my fave stores are smaller than me.


Thank you for taking the time to read my blog - I hope you enjoy it and I'd love to know what you thought about my posts! If you want to ask any questions directly, please don't hesitate to contact me via Twitter; @KirstyWorstyy or direct email and I will get back to you ASAP!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...