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You might think you have the figure of Marilyn Monroe but according to research the truth is likely to be far more prosaic.|
A study found nine in ten women didn’t know their body shape – with many mistakenly believing they have a wasp waist and hourglass curves.
In fact, the majority have a straight up and down figure, known rather unflatteringly, as ‘the rectangle’. Rectangles – who include Kim Cattrall and Nicole Kidman – have bust, hips and shoulders of the same width. They also have no waist to speak of.
Some 240 women had body scans to obtain their measurements and proportions. These were then used to identify their body type. Options included hourglass, rectangle, pear and triangle – a woman with a big belly and hips.
The scans revealed 63 per cent of the women to be rectangular, with waists getting bigger and their curves becoming less defined with age.
Just 38 per cent of 18- to 35-year-olds had the rectangular proportions but 80 per cent of those aged 56-plus met the criteria. Similarly, 30 per cent of young women had an hourglass shape, but the figure fell to 4 per cent in older women.
The results, said shopping website isme.com, were even more telling when women were asked to pick their own shape. Whether they're an hourglass, rectangle, triangle (a leaner version of a pear), bottom hourglass, inverted triangle or top hourglass - only one in ten women can identify their own body shape.
On top of this, a quarter don’t believe their figure fits in with any of these traditional body shapes.
A common frustration for women when buying clothes to fit their shape was spending money on adjusting a garment to get a more appropriate fit, according to nearly half (42 per cent) of those questioned.
On the back of this, 63 per cent of those surveyed also stated they would like more help and advice from retailers when shopping to fit their size and shape.
The report goes on to reveal that women are out of touch with their true shape because of the body’s tendency to change and shift with age.
A spokesperson for Manchester Metropolitan University, who carried out the survey with isme.com, said: 'The research so far has shown that a woman’s body size, shape and posture can change - sometimes substantially - as a result of the ageing process.
'The study confirmed this, and also highlighted that shape change occurs not only into terms of posture and body shape but also in terms of circumferential measurement differences between the front and back of the body in the waist region.'
Carol Vorderman, ambassador for isme.com, added: 'It's no surprise that women's body shapes change so dramatically as they get older, with motherhood and a slowing metabolism taking its toll.
'My body shape has changed a lot over the years but the key is understanding what styles your body suits and then finding clothes that fit properly.'
'Size is just a number and varies from retailer to retailer, it's important that shape is the main consideration when choosing items for your wardrobe.'