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...to think that it might not really be true that the UK average clothes size for women is UK size 16?

(304 Posts)
which1 Fri 18-Oct-19 18:51:47

I just can't help but think that that's not true. That this is the average has been floating around for years I know.

But whilst I do see some people who are size 16 or above, I do not think I see so many as to tip the scales to the extent that 16 becomes the average.

I would say that the average is a UK12.

(I'm not talking about on Mumsnet as the vast majority here are pretty slim and around size 8 average from all the threads that I see either about clothes sizes or posters who mention in passing on a related topic.)

allthepeoplethatcomearound Fri 18-Oct-19 18:53:32

I don’t know, I think it’s pretty hard to tell what size some people are sometimes... I think some women can look incredibly toned, perhaps a size 12-14 but in actual fact be a 16

Brexitstash Fri 18-Oct-19 18:53:47

No the vast majority say they are a size 8. I suspect you live in a middle class bubble.

kitk Fri 18-Oct-19 18:54:04

I think you might live in a relatively thin healthy area. I used to live in Bristol and world have agreed then. I wouldn't agree based on where I live now or some places I've visited, so not saying you're wrong but I'm not sure you're right either

Billballbaggins Fri 18-Oct-19 18:54:59

Well it depends on where you live, in my area there are a lot of very fat people. Also lots of very slim people. Not much in between really. So I suppose round here the very large sizes would bring the average up. In other areas you won’t see many of any women over a size 12. In some places you get a good mix of slim and big.

Billballbaggins Fri 18-Oct-19 18:55:36

Many if any not many of*

Shagged Fri 18-Oct-19 18:58:09

A current 12 in many highstreet shops (M&S, Next etc) is equivalent to a 14-16 from the 1980s/early 90s

I can only assume that current size 16s are therefore equivalent to a 20 in old money

It depends how you work out 'average' but I would guess that in today's sizes a 12 would be the size that sells the most

PickAChew Fri 18-Oct-19 18:58:49

I'm a 14 and can honestly walk around a shopping centre and feel tiny. Most women are bigger than me.

Pardonwhat Fri 18-Oct-19 18:59:29

I’ve thought this before.
I can go into a shop or somewhere public and be the biggest person there.
Other times I can go in somewhere and feel quite slim.
And I’m an unremarkable 12.
It’s hard to gage an ‘average’ I think. Partly because I think just because something will physically go on your body doesn’t mean it fits grin
But I agree, I don’t think size 16 is the UK average.

joystir59 Fri 18-Oct-19 19:00:24

I'm a size 12 and look emaciated.

Userzzzzz Fri 18-Oct-19 19:04:09

It really depends where you live and the demographics. Go wandering around Chelsea (and lots of central London to be fair) women are likely to be thinner. Go to a more deprived area and you’ll see more obesity. It also depends what average it is (mode etc). I can easily believe it’s 16 or higher across the whole population. We all know that sizes can also be pretty meaningless (and it’s easy to squeeze yourself into a smaller size if going for vanity sizing).

MsAwesomeDragon Fri 18-Oct-19 19:06:19

I'm a size 16. I'm about average in my circle. Approx half the people I work with are my size or bigger, while the other half are smaller.
You may just live in a slim area, as it does change from town to town. When i visit my sister she lives in an area where there are a lot of larger women, around there I think the average might be closer to a 20/22. But near my parents town I feel very fat as most people are slimmer around there.

I have some size 14 jeans from 1998 (I bought them just before I fell Pg with dd1, that's how I know how old they are) and even though I'm a 16 now I could just about do them up, they seem like a very similar size to a 14 now. They're a different shape, higher waisted etc, but very similar size.

OneKeyAtATime Fri 18-Oct-19 19:06:54

What part of the UK are you? Where we are I d expect the average to be over 16.

ConFusion360 Fri 18-Oct-19 19:10:02

I'm a size 12 and look emaciated

I'm a size 6 and could do with losing a few pounds.

TamingToddler Fri 18-Oct-19 19:10:41

Most People guess I'm a size 8/10. I'm a 12/14 actually. I think we've just got distorted views on what size we really are.

Lockheart Fri 18-Oct-19 19:13:10

I think you're probably underestimating the size rather than seeing a general downward trend in waistline inches. Either that or clothing sizes have become larger.

The number of overweight and obese adults has been increasing steadily in the UK over the last 20 years at least, so I'd be surprised if the average size has decreased.

ethelfleda Fri 18-Oct-19 19:13:42

In the town where I live, I can definitely believe it.

joystir59 Fri 18-Oct-19 19:13:48

I'm a size 6 and could do with losing a few pounds I'm 5' 7", and definitely very slim and angular. Perhaps you are shorter?

WorraLiberty Fri 18-Oct-19 19:15:50

My area has one of the highest adult and child obesity rates in London, so I can well believe it.

Chouetted Fri 18-Oct-19 19:17:11

You can't judge someone's size by their looks. I'm an 18-20, but don't "look like" it (according to the surprising number of shop assistants who have opted to argue about it with me recently).

Also if it's the average, someone who is size 32 is going to skew the figures in a way that can't happen in the opposite direction (because negative sizes don't exist).

JasonPollack Fri 18-Oct-19 19:17:48

Nope. I would suggest that you live in a rather affluent area OP, and perhaps haven't travelled outside of it much! People are getting heavier generally so it may be higher than that now.

AhFlip Fri 18-Oct-19 19:18:45

YANBU how can there be an average when clothes shops version of a size never match up!!!!

JasonPollack Fri 18-Oct-19 19:20:27

Also I very much doubt the vast majority of mumsnet users are an 8 lol. They may be loudest and certainty there is a large orthorexic contingent but I would bet a chip supper on the average being fairly reflective of the UK average.

Any time a fat lass sticks her head above the parapet here she gets concern trolled to death about her health. So it's no wonder the larger sized do not mention it.

itsgettingweird Fri 18-Oct-19 19:22:32

I actually think it's true a 14-16 is a average.

It's the size I am (but I'm tall and no one thinks I am!) and I struggle to buy my side as it sells out first.

Ohyesiam Fri 18-Oct-19 19:23:59

Several things
When I tell people I’m a size 16 they are really surprised, because I don’t look overweight. So you can never tell.
Also it depends on whether we are talking average by mean, median or mode.
So I’m my household we are aged 12,15, 50 and 53
So our mean average household age is just over 42

Our median average is about 31

Our modal average is not calculable, but if my dd for eg had been a twin, our mode average would be 15.

Massive difference.

I’ve heard the size 16 thing in the 90 s first. Does anyone know where it comes from?

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