High street retailer Debenhams has revealed that Britain’s perception of what an ideal woman should look like is changing.
After five decades of worshiping tall, thin, slim-hipped women, society is moving towards favouring the traditional hour glass figure, sales figures suggest.
Demand for shape wear saw a sales peak of +225 percent last year, creating the impression of a classic Marilyn Monroe style figure, as well as women’s clothes, which create the perfect body silhouette.
Debenhams spokeswoman Michelle Dowdall said: "It looks like big busts, big hips and narrow waists are on their way back.
"We’re returning to an age when all women looked like Jane Russell, Ava Gardner and Rita Hayworth.
"It’s bad news for stick thin models – but great news for ordinary women on the street with healthy, fuller figures."
Debenhams believes the trend towards ample proportions may have been inspired by recent hit TV series Mad Men. The increasing popularity of music by singers such as Duffy and Paloma Faith, who base their image on 1950s style film stars may also be having an effect, claims the retailer.
However, there is also evidence to suggest that the definition of feminine beauty is cyclical. Nude body forms chosen by artists and painters across the last two centuries have alternated between thinner and fuller figures every fifty or sixty years, experts say.
Since thin female bodies have been popular since the 1960s, this trend, combined with Debenhams sales figures, suggests that Britain may on the cusp of change. A propensity for hour glass figures would have a dramatic impact upon the clothes and fashions worn by women in the future, says Debenhams.
An hour glass figure demands sharp, tailored clothes which define the body’s curves rather than hide it. Pencil skirts, fitted jackets and strapless dresses would all rise in popularity – a major shift away from today’s boyish, androgynous styles. Deep v-neck sweaters, tight fitting blouses – and good underwear hiding bumps and lumps will also become even more essential. Corsets are also seeing increase in popularity, with designers such as Velda Lauder experiencing high demand on the back of the new trend.
Michelle Dowdall continued: "We’re watching this development very closely because it could have a major impact upon fashion in the future.
"Like all good businesses we look at trends way ahead, so if hour glass figures are going to return – and current evidence suggests that they are – then we need to begin planning for that major change now.
Current popular hour glass figure icons include Christina Hendricks, Nigella Lawson, Scarlet Johansson and Salma Hayek.