Friday, May 15, 2015

Silk Dresses: Big and Beautiful?

It is a long time since most women have been happy with the regular parades of skinny girls that present the latest creations of the top fashion designers. If the average woman was ever like these anorexic wraiths it was long before the stretch of living memory, and as Body Mass Indices continue to mount there are increasing demands for new fashions to be presented on figures that are more representative of the general population.

The healthy range of Body Mass Index (BMI) is from 20 to 25. The average for all English women in 1951 is reported to have been 24.4, within the healthy range but tending towards the upper limit. By 2004, the mean BMI had risen to 25.2 and the average woman was a little overweight. At the same time a typical fashion model had a BMI of about 18. It is obvious that this could not be representative of the typical Englishwoman and only a very small proportion of the population could relate to the models on the catwalk.

If BMI is a somewhat abstract concept, actual body measurements are easily understood. In 1951 the average waist measurement of Englishwomen was 70 centimetres (27.5 inches), and by 2004 this had increased to 86 centimetres (34 inches). How can a model with a 65 centimetre waist (25.5 inches) provide any indication of how a new dress style would look on the average woman?

But it's not only the average woman who yearns for adornment that is flattering, there are increasing numbers of women who are well above the recommended range of BMI. The proportion of Englishwomen who were considered to be obese increased from 17 percent in 1993-5 to 26 percent in 1011-13 and 45 percent of women now need dresses of size 16 and above.

While their figure shape bears little relationship to that of the typical fashion model, bigger women have their own special attraction that is appreciated by increasing numbers of men as well as by other women. This was recognised by Carole Shaw who in 1979 coined the phrase Big Beautiful Women (BBW) and started the popular women's magazine with that name. The familiarity of these initials testifies to the wide-scale appreciation of this band of sisters who are now variously described as Rubenesque, voluptuous and cuddly.

The fashion industry has been accused of waging psychological warfare in making average women feel unsatisfied with their body shape. A more sympathetic approach would seek to create various styles adapted to enhance the beauty of women of average and more generous proportions. The ultimate objective should be to help all women maximise their confidence in their own unique beauty and personality.

Ladies of discerning taste and voluptuous proportions who would like to share the glamour and prestige of high-quality silk dresses hand-made in Vietnam, an ancient home of silk production, can learn more from: and

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