The female body ‘ideal’ has come almost full circle from the 1950s to today, inspired by the idols of the time, from Marilyn Monroe to Kim Kardashian.
The average breast size has been on the rise over the years, growing significantly from 34B in the 1950s to 36DD today.
Celebrity culture has also had a massive impact on trends, with reality stars such as the Kardashians causing a 465% increase in searches for contouring, for example.
It’s no secret that the ‘ideal’ female look has been through quite the evolution across the decades. In a world where female bodies are scrutinised by the media freely, the pressure to look like the ‘it’ girl of the moment is palpable. However, the fluid nature of what this ideal looks like across time proves that there is no true ‘perfect’ body; any and every body shape and size deserves confidence.
New research from cosmetic surgery experts MYA reveals the biggest body and beauty trends of the past decade (2007–2017) and identifies the celebrities and viral movements that inspired them. From bigger bums, contouring, breast reconstruction after cancer, to ombré hair, the research utilises Google Trends data to highlight exactly when the trends began and peaked.
The research also showcases how much the idolised female shape and look has changed, from the 1950s to today. The ever-changing body shape ideals and the most popular hair and make-up trends of each decade are illustrated, alongside the celebrity icons of the time who inspired each look.
Digging into Google search trends (the number of monthly internet searches) for the past decade, MYA have uncovered when body and beauty trends emerged, and pinpointed what sparked them. This data tracks the popularity of search terms over time, revealing how many people have been searching for certain terms worldwide and how this has increased or decreased over the years. Some of the most interesting findings include:
- Designer Vagina – Searches for this term spiked in August 2008, increasing 193% following The Only Way Is Essex star Gemma Collins’ declaration on the show that she had a ‘designer vagina’, that was like “something you’d see in a movie”, following surgery.
- Contouring – The make-up trend that has defined recent years was inspired by Kim Kardashian, seeing searches increase 465% after she popularised her use of the technique. Contouring is used to slim the face and create the illusion of high cheekbones, a defined jawline and even fuller breasts, with related searches hitting their peak in 2016.
- Toned Arms – Inspired by strong bodies in the public eye, such as Michelle Obama’s Amazonian biceps, searches for toned arms have been on the rise since 2011 and reached their highest search volume in 2013-2015, with a whopping 79% increase on previous search volumes.
- Bigger Bum – With The Kardashians’ rise to fame, speculation about whether Kim had surgically enhanced her derriere came to a head in 2012. The years that have followed have seen the other Kardashian and Jenner sisters follow suit and set a trend for bigger bums across the western world, with searches for this look increasing 377%.
- Bold Eyebrows – The trend for bold eyebrows, inspired by celebrities such as Cara Delevinge and the rise of the “Instagram Eyebrow” in 2014, hit its peak in 2015 with searches increasing 158%. While the brow appears to be here to stay, searches for bold brows have begun to drop in recent years.
I’M EVERY (SHAPE OF) WOMAN
From Marilyn’s hourglass curves in the 50s, to Twiggy’s tall and slender frame just a decade later, to the Kardashian-inspired “healthy yet curvaceous” toned bodies and bigger bums of today – the body types held on a pedestal have transformed across the decades. Some of these trends include:
- 1950s – Following the poverty of WW2, an hourglass shape with bigger breasts, a cinched in waist and wider hips was desired. Shorter hairstyles with pin curls and stylish up-dos were popular, while skin was kept matte and finished with a cat-eye flick and striking red lips.
- 1980s – As supermodels took to the runways for the first time and Jane Fonda became the face of a legwarmer clad fitness phase, the desired body shape became toned and strong. Cindy Crawford was the icon of the time, and perms and backcombing were the rage. The make-up of the time called for a face of bright colours; heavy bright pink blush, bold purple eyes and fuchsia lips were popular.
- 2010s – The 2010s see the ideal body shape as “healthy skinny” with a toned body, slim legs and large breasts and buttocks. Hair colour has been a popular trend in the 2010s, with styles such as ombré and balayage taking centre stage. Instagram has had a noticeable influence on make-up trends, with many opting for bold eyebrows, and Kardashian-inspired contoured cheekbones with plenty of highlighter to accentuate the high points of the face.
LIVING YOUR BREAST LIFE
While changes to breast size over time cannot be called a trend, the average UK breast size has been on the rise. This can be ascribed to to a number of factors, including the growing popularity of breast implants and also the increase in average body size of our nation as a whole. Interestingly, while an increase in breast size is not a fashion statement, MYA’s research uncovered a number of breast related trends across the decades.
Average Breast Size
Pointed Bullet Bras were a popular trend with triangular breasts in fashion.
In the advent of breast implants, the popularity of firm, round breasts increased.
A smaller, more athletic breast shape came into fashion, although the popularity of TV shows such as Baywatch also encouraged appreciation for fuller boobs.
Large, round boobs were fashionable, with push up bras and chicken fillets widely sold to help give the illusion of the ‘perfect’ cleavage.
While bigger breasts remain popular, the 2010s have seen a body positive movement taking over, with boobs of all types being showcased in the media and accepted by women across the world.
John Ryan, Chairman of MYA Cosmetic Surgery Ltd. commented, “Body confidence has an intrinsic effect on how a woman sees and carries herself. We wanted to uncover what external trends have influenced women’s bodies and styles across time and, in particular, how modern women have been looking to boost their confidence in recent years, as reflected in their internet searches for evolving body trends. However, the most important thing remains that all women should be confident in their appearance, whatever method they harness to get there.”
To uncover the full evolution of the desired female shape and look, along with full search data on the body and beauty trends of recent years, check out the full research here