Almost 25,000 women have now tried our body shape calculator, so we thought it would be very interesting to share the results. We make no claims for this being the most scientific or accurate measurement but it’s certainly the biggest sample size we’ve seen documented and we’ll keep this page updated as we receive more responses.
The results surprised us quite a lot to be honest as we expected that the Pear shape would be the overwhelmingly dominant shape as 60% of women aged 18 to 30 are said to be Pears and this is generally accepted but the results from 24514 respondents show a very different picture.
Shape Percentage Respondents Hourglass 16.9% 4135 Bell 16.4% 4017 Skittle 12.4% 3039 Pear 8.7% 2124 Goblet 8.4% 2063 Vase 7.9% 1930 Brick 7.1% 1736 Apple 6.3% 1545 Cornet 5.8% 1428 Cello 3.9% 953 Column 3.3% 800 Lollipop 3.0% 800
As you can see the biggest groups are Hourglasses and Bells with 16.9% and 16.4% of women getting this result from our calculator. So what it exactly is going on here?
We think what’s happening is a combination of three things:
- The demographic of women using the calculator.
- The actual shape of women and how it can be misinterpreted.
- The calculator itself.
As Hourglasses are so closely followed by Bells as the most common body shape and the Bell is very often a shape associated with women heading to or at middle age, we did wonder if this age group is more likely to use the body shape calculator than younger women so skew the results to make the Bell such a common result. We’re considering adding a question about age to the calculator to get some idea of who exactly is using it.
So that could explain the Bell but what about the Hourglass? Maybe there are just more Hourglasses out there when you consider the whole body, not just three vital statistics?
We know that women have been steadily getting larger over the past 100 years or so with the average UK bust measurement growing by 4 inches (10.2 cm), hips by 6 inches (15.2 cm) and waist by a whopping 8 inches (20.3 cm) during this time. This growth means the average UK female has a 36.5 in (92.7 cm) bust, 30 inch (76.2 cm) waist and 39.5 in (100.3 cm) hips. Although technically this seems to point to the generally accepted predominance of Pears (namely the hips and thighs are the largest parts), we think that these figures do not include the general “feel” of the body shape and do not consider the size of the shoulders as a “vital statistic” which it absolutely is when trying to determine shape.
These average measurements also certainly contain an abundance of curves which is the very essence of the Hourglass so could it be that this is what we’re seeing reflected in the results? Quite interestingly, if you run these average figures through body shape calculators that rely only on measurements many also return the result of Hourglass.
Because the results weren’t as expected and the sample size was more than large enough to negate any statistical blips, we also considered if we might be doing something wrong in the calculator itself.
Initially we thought maybe because a lot of women want to be a classic Hourglass they might be inclined to play with the calculator until they get this result, or to see what they would need to change to become an Hourglass but this seems not to be the case. From our analysis of the calculator software data, it appears unlikely this would affect the overall results significantly. Of course we can’t tell if respondents are more likely to (ahem!) flatter themselves a little with their responses!
As mentioned above, we have avoided a simple “tale of the tape” style of calculation because this method is very rigid and does not account for other characteristics of the body beyond simple vital statistics but the weakness of our method is that it is somewhat subjective, so could be open to optimistic interpretation.
We then took a look at the questions in the survey to see if any of them seem difficult to answer objectively and honestly as there are a couple of pretty tough ones in there, “Do you have saddlebags?” and “Are you a plus size?” sprung immediately to mind! Basically if you get to the question “Are you a plus size?” you either say no meaning you are an Hourglass or yes meaning you are a Cello. Maybe the reluctance to answer yes to this or defining exactly what constitutes a plus size is the issue here?
We are considering changing this question to ask if you are over a certain size but it is surprisingly difficult to get consensus on what a plus size actually is. The fact that many UK shops offering plus size ranges start these at a size 14 but Marks and Spencer now use a size 14 as the base size for all their ranges illustrates the issue.
“Do you have saddlebags?” was another potentially difficult question and leads to a Pear with a yes response or a Skittle with a no but these results didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary so we discounted this as a problem question.
Maybe it simply is that there are more Hourglasses out there than we think? The generally accepted figure of just 6% of women being this shape seems quite low to us, particularly as feminine curves are such a feature of the modern average female body shape.
Whatever the reason, we will keep tracking responses and post further updates!
What do you think about these results? Are you surprised, disbelieving or do you have some insights into them that we may have missed? We’d love to get some feedback on this and welcome input from our body shape seeking visitors!