It's True: The Average Size of the American Woman Is No Longer 14

As enjoyable as shopping for clothes is, it can also be frustrating, annoying, and quite frankly, not the best for one’s self-esteem. The range of sizes offered to women is entirely non-diverse (and don’t even get me started on the unflattering lighting in the fitting rooms). The amount of time I've spent hunched over in a dimly lighted dressing room trying to contort my boobs to fit into a bathing suit that doesn't offer mix-and-match sizing is, well, a lot. We all have different bodies, we all take different shapes. So why are women consistently confined to a scale that doesn't include such variation? I have written my thoughts about gaining weight, losing it, and trying to maintain it. It's all tough. But there is certainly room for improvement when it comes to women’s clothing sizes, and that's an understatement. And—no surprise here—as it turns out, the information retailers have been using is completely outdated.

The average size of an American woman was widely reported as a size 14. The clothing industry somewhat took this into account and adjusted its sizes. Though, most labels didn't even do that; the majority of clothing lines still sell up to size 12 and that's it. Then, a study published in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education revealed, "The average size of an American woman is now between 16 to 18, which is an increase from 10-year-old data that indicated most women in the U.S. were a size 14." This information even further brings to light to need for clothing in sizes above the previously acceptable numbers. It's infuriating, really, and it's time something tangible is done to rectify the long-standing oversight.

Next, find out why our editor says her thighs are the new thigh gap.

This post was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.