Project results

The results of this study are based on the analysis of the body measurements of 2500 test persons and the results of the survey in which the knowledge of their own measurements and most common problems with the purchase of clothing completed by 530 people were questioned.

1) Analysis of the results of the survey 

The following results could be derived from the survey:

1/3 of the male respondents do not know what size they have for trousers and suits. The majority know his jeans size and his shirt size.

The majority of the female respondents know their size for trousers and skirts, but have trouble finding the right size of jeans. Most ladies know their size for blouses.

Despite the fact that the size is usually known, 70% of women and 40% of men indicate that they cannot always buy the same size. This is on the one hand due to the different sizes at country level (eg. 38 in Belgium = 36 in the Netherlands = 42 in Italy), but on the other hand due to the fact that the different brands have their own measuring system, sometimes with a difference of up to 10 cm between 2 sizes 38.

66% of women and 58% of men indicate that they have problems with the fit of pants. The most common issue among women is the ratio between hip and waist (45%) followed by the length (40%). For men, 81% have length problems. For upper clothing, the fitting issues for women are situated at the height of the bust (too small). 40% also have comments about the sleeve length. For men, the shoulders are often too wide and 51% have problems with the sleeve length.

2) Analysis of the body measuements 

All tables have been prepared according to the primary dimensions and dimensions as prescribed in the European standard EN 13403 part 3, published in 2013.

CHILDREN (3-13)

The sample of young children was too small to calculate reliable averages on which the size tables can be based. These tables are not yet available.

WOMEN

The tables for clothing covering the full body (dresses) and for clothing above the waist (tops) are very similar. For dresses, however, some caution is recommended as the waist/hip ratio is very important here. Since the primary size here is the chest circumference, the hip and waist circumference may be a few cm too wide for the age categories up to 50 years. Above the age of 50, the hip and waist circumference may be 2 to 3 cm too small in the larger sizes. For a correct ratio we refer to the table for clothing for the lower body where the primary size is the hip circumference.

For women there are tables available in 4 age categories: 14 - 17 years, 18 - 25 years, 26 - 50 years and 51 - 70 years.

In the category 14 - 17 years, the range is from size 32 to size 44. The average height is 165 cm.
In the categories 18 - 25 years and 26 - 50 years, the range is from size 34 to size 50. The average height is 166 cm.

In the category 51 - 70, the range ranges from size 36 to size 50. The average height is 164 cm.
In contrast to tables from the past, the length is not adjusted in function of larger sizes.
The tables for clothing for the lower body should be used for trousers and skirts. As already mentioned, the hip / waist ratio is extremely important for a good fit. In this table, the hip circumference was chosen as the primary measure, so that a completely different ratio between body measurements is present in comparison with the table for clothing that completely covers the body. In the published European standard, the waist circumference is indicated as the primary measure, but most European countries have already agreed to revise this, so that in the next version the hip circumference will be the primary measure.

In addition, the choice of age category is also extremely important. After all, it was noted from the measurements that if the hip circumference does not change over the years, the shape nevertheless changes considerably and the waist increases by approximately 7 cm. In the smaller sizes, the differences in proportions between both size tables (clothing for upper and lower body) are relatively small, but in the larger sizes the difference in waist circumference can be up to 4 cm, which corresponds to a difference of 1 size. In the younger population, there are few differences between the two tables at the hip circumference level, but the waist is smaller in the lower body clothing table. In the 51-70 age category, waist and hip are wider in the lower body clothing table.
It is not obvious for teenagers to indicate the most suitable size chart. Some girls already exhibit truly feminine forms where others feel more comfortable in children's clothing. In addition to the tables based on chest and hip circumference, tables were also developed based on age and height.

MEN

The sample of small children and teenagers was too small to calculate reliable averages on which size tables can be based. These are currently not yet available.

The tables for clothing covering the entire body and clothing covering the upper body are very similar. This table should be used for clothing above the waist and for coveralls.

For men there are tables available in three age categories 18 - 25 years, 26 - 50 years and 51 - 70 years.
In the 18-25 year category, the range is from size 42 to size 54. The average height is 178 cm.
In the categories 26 - 50, the range is from size 42 to size 60. The average height is 180 cm.
In the categories 51 - 70 years the range is from size 44 to size 62. The average height is 176 cm.

The tables for clothing that covers the lower body should be used for garments below the waist, so pants. In this table the waist circumference is chosen as the primary measure, which means that we obtain completely different proportions than in the table for clothing that covers the entire body.

When analyzing the changes in body shape for the different age categories, it is noted that the waist circumference does not change much over the sizes, but the waistline shifts from almost horizontal for young men to strongly inclined for the older age groups.

When comparing the tables for clothing that covers the upper (primary size = chest circumference) and lower body (primary size = waist circumference), we note that in the category 51 - 70 years the waist and hip circumference decrease by 1 size where this is half a measure for young people.

The alterations between the different sizes are no longer proportional, but occur according to changes in body shape as a person becomes heavier (allometrically).

The new body measurement tables are available in Dutch and English. 

3) Analysis of the differences between the self-reported BMI and the measured BMI

A comparative study of the reported BMI and the measured BMI was carried out in collaboration with the Scientific Institute of Public Health.

In Belgium, 33% of the population (18+) are overweighted and 14% are obese. For practical reasons, health studies often use the self-reported BMI.

The study showed that there is a significant difference in BMI based on age, gender and education level.

With the exception of the age group 18 - 26 years, the self-reported weight was significantly lower than the measured weight. The self-estimated length, on the other hand, was higher than the measured length. As a result, the self-reported BMI was significantly lower than the measured BMI.

However, the percentage of obese people in the sample was significantly lower than what is found in the literature.
On the other hand, the percentage of people who misjudged their weight with a rising BMI is comparable to what is found in the literature. The number of obese people in the sample was relatively small. This is probably due to the fact that people who are significantly overweight have a certain gene to be scanned and were therefore underrepresented in the sample. This means that in the future the new size tables can be coordinated even better in the domain of large sizes. This will be investigated in the PDE project ADEPS - Anthropometric based estimation of adiposity.

4) Analysis of the morphotypes and development of avatars based on scans 

From the visual analysis of the scans it could be deduced that the classification of body shapes according to the HOAXY principle is relevant. However, the outcome is that it was not possible to assign the various individuals to a specific body shape on the basis of Principal Components Analysis in order to be able to analyze the occurring body shapes per size. We expected to be able to assign people to a certain shape based on the relationships between measurements as chest, waist and hip circumference, but due to the large differences in shape with equal circumferences this proved impossible. Too often it turned out that a person who can be recognized as figure type X on the basis of circumference dimensions is in reality a figure type H. In the context of new cooperation agreements with national and foreign universities and research centers, this problem will be further investigated in the future.

For each size table and each size an avatar was developed which is representative of the average person with these sizes. The female avatars are based on 26 body measurements, the male avatars are based on 23 body measurements. This was done in collaboration with Bodylabs (USA).

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