The Plus Size Figure & Lingerie
If you believe the glamour magazines, the "ideal" woman, portrayed by models, actresses and Barbie… is 5'8", weighs 100 lbs, and wears a size 4. However, in the real world the average American woman is 5'4”, weighs 140 lbs and wears a size 14; and that one-third of all American women wears a size 16 or larger! The American woman of today has plenty of curves and is proud to show them off. In fact, plus size lingerie is red hot these days!
The history of lingerie is repeating itself with the adoration of the full figured woman. Women today have plenty of soft curves and love wearing intimate apparel that promotes those assets. Corsets and bustiers are being worn to enhance and show off the beautiful silhouette of the full figured woman. Gone are the binding and uncomfortable undergarments that were made to flatten the breasts making a woman appear waifish and thin, which was popular during the 1960’s Twiggy era. In return fashion has come full circle celebrating the voluptuous Big Beautiful Women, better known as “BBW!”
Lingerie Industry Sizing Standards
In the early 1950’s, the National Bureau of Standards conducted a comprehensive study of women's body measurements to develop a sizing standard for women's ready-to-wear clothing. During this study of sizing, it was determined that a “minus” would be used to represent those who were smaller or shorter than the sizing average, and a “plus” would be used to represent those women who were larger or taller than the sizing average.
However, over the years the standard for the average size became outdated. Both American men and women were becoming heavier. The hourglass figure (beauty magazines conception of the ideal body shape for women) which influenced early sizing systems for women’s clothing, was now becoming the more realistic pear-shaped, with a thicker waist and fuller hips. At the same time that the average woman's body was changing shape, manufacturers discovered the advantage of appealing to women's vanity. They began selling bigger clothes labeled with smaller size numbers.
Today, online lingerie shopping for full-figured women is at an all time high. Plus size lingerie is sexy, provocative and beautiful. Women who love to feel sexy not just inside and out, but underneath as well; underneath their blouses and sweaters, underneath their skirts and jeans, the right intimate apparel can do just that, make you feel incredibly sexy – no matter what your size.
Famous Plus Size Lingerie Models
Melissa (Emme) Aronson is recognized as the first BBW plus size model by many elite members of the fashion world. She burst onto the scene as the world’s first full-figured supermodel and, as host of E! Entertainment Television’s "Fashion Emergency", she quickly became a popular icon not only in the United States, but around the globe. Angellika was the first plus-sized model inducted into the Modeling Hall of Fame in April 1999. She was also the first African-American model to break into the German fashion scene.
Whitney Thompson, a 20 year old model from Florida, made history as the first plus size winner in the 10th season of America’s Next Top Model. It is also the first time in history that a plus size model has even made it into the top three of the reality show. After winning Thompson was quoted as saying, “I want other women in America to feel good about themselves.”
All of these women paved the way for plus size BBW all over the world. Women, finally, have been recognized and accepted in every shape, size and form. Beauty is no longer defined by single digit clothing sizes.