Investigating women's plus-size body measurements and hip shape variation based on SizeUSA data

Marina Alexander, Gina R. Pisut, Andrada Ivanescu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The women's plus-size apparel category is a growing market segment in the USA as more than two-thirds (64%) of American women are considered either overweight or obese (Flegal et al., 2010. Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 1999-2008. Journal of the American Medical Association, 303 (3), 235-241. Available from: [Accessed 6 July 2010]). Pisut and Connell (2007. Fit preferences of female consumers in the USA. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 11 (3), 366-379) and Simmons et al. (2004. Female figure identification technique (FFIT) for apparel, part II: development of shape sorting software. Journal of Textile and Apparel Technology and Management, 4 (1)) reported that women today reflect a more pear-shaped silhouette than in previous decades. Kurt Salmon Associates (2000. Annual consumer outlook survey. Paper presented at the American Apparel and Footwear Association apparel research committee, Orlando, FL) reported that more than half the women have trouble finding well-fitting clothes. Consumers' figure types play a significant role in affecting sizing measurements of apparel (Njagi, R.K. and Zwane, P.E., 2011. Variation in measurements across different brands of same style ladies' pants in Swaziland. International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education, 4 (1), 51-57). Apparel patterns are made for hourglass-shaped women and are graded from an average size, assuming that women's measurements increase proportionally as size increases. Based on SizeUSA, a national dataset, women were classified into each size category based on their bust, waist and hip measurements, and their measurements were compared to American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. Results showed a significant difference for most size categories. Within each size category, fewer participants satisfied all three measurements of bust, waist and hips. From these measurements, women's hip shape was determined and evaluated for sizes 14W-32W. Analysis of hip shape revealed that different hip shapes exists within a given apparel size. Research methods and implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2012


  • USA
  • apparel sizing
  • hip shape
  • plus-size clothing
  • women


Dive into the research topics of 'Investigating women's plus-size body measurements and hip shape variation based on SizeUSA data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this