The Evolution of the “Perfect” Body Type – A Fashion Timeline Through the Decades!

By  //  May 10, 2022

One thing’s for sure, time is constantly running and bringing drastic transitions in the world of fashion, whether it is something as simple as the trending eye makeup or body figure. With the change in fashion, the ideal body type has changed throughout the decades, and the pressure and expectations of achieving the “perfect body” look. 

Body preference goes with the situation and the world’s culture at that time. While sometimes, the trending perfect body figure couldn’t be further from the real world, and also impossibly hard to achieve naturally. This makes women resort to cosmetic surgeries to enhance their physique.

Below is a fashion timeline of changing women’s body types preferences through the last 10 decades:

1920 – Flat, no-curves body:

1920 was all about the flapper girl body type. With no curves and a flat, slim body type. Everyone raved about the petite body type. Curvy hips and breasts became out of style, and everyone wanted a slim, petite figure, which was often impossible to achieve naturally. 

1930 – Slight curves and a slim waist:

Curves reappeared in 1930, with the fashion of flat-chest and narrow hips gradually running out. Now women rocked comparatively broader shoulders than in 1920, accompanied by small breasts and hips and a slim waist. This year was all about embracing your natural curves and breaking free of the petite, flat-figured, no-fat expectations of the previous decade.

1940 – Standing tall, strong, and broad:

During the 1940s, World War II was all-consuming, and the fashion choices reflected that. Women wanted to be seen as strong, bold, and ready to take up the battle if needed. A tall and broad body type was considered perfect and looked upon during this decade. Military shoulders were the big “it” feature that every woman wanted. 

1950 – fuller bust and accentuated hips:

The 1950s was the decade of the sex symbol Marilyn Monroe who still finds her way into fashion discussion and symbolism even today in the 2020 decade. A body type that carried a fuller bust and accentuated hips was idealized, with women proudly flaunting their curves instead of wishing for a flatter appearance.

1960 – The slim frame returned:

The idealization and flaunting of curves became a thing of the past, and now being extra slim with no curves was the body type that all women wanted. A slender and petite figure was all that one desired in the 1960s, and it became increasingly tough to get this body type naturally. 

1970 – All about that flat tummy:

Although this decade was slightly better than the 1960s in having a petite figure, a slim, tiny waist was still the ideal style that every woman wanted. Small hips and bust accompanied the flat waist. In this decade, the cosmetic surgery industry started to bloom, and women now started taking the help of cosmetic surgeons to achieve the “perfect” body type of the decade.

1980 – fitness all the way:

This decade sported a fit, athletic body type with the perfect or idealized body type being tall and slim with a fit and athletic figure. Women wanted to stay fit, and various forms of exercise and sports were encouraged. 

1990 – The thinner, the better:

Extremely slim, petite figures reappeared, with the models and fashion figures having practically no meat or curves on their bodies. A stick-like Barbie doll figure was preferred, and women worldwide strived to get extremely slim. Many women were resorting to cosmetic procedures like liposuction and waist trimmings to achieve this desired look. 

2000 – A healthy and toned slim:

This decade no longer sported an extremely slim, petite figure. Instead, this decade was all about being healthy and fit slim. Toned abdominal section, with an overall lean and tall physique, was the perfect body type for this decade, and women started working towards getting washboard abs by following a strict healthy diet, regular exercise, and in many cases, liposuction. 

2010 – Flaunt the curves: 

Since 2010, curves have taken a fashion front seat, accompanied by an hourglass figure. It was all about having a great pair of curvy and perfectly shaped hips and a heavy bust and tiny waist. The hourglass figure with fuller curves is what all women desire these days, but it is extremely difficult, almost impossible to achieve naturally. Hence, cosmetic surgeries such as breast augmentation, butt lifts, waist-trimming, etc., have become increasingly popular, with more women resorting to these every day. 

“With the way the perfect body type has evolved throughout the decades, it is impossible to predict which body type will be popular in the coming decades. However, one thing is certain; women’s body types have become increasingly tougher to achieve naturally. Hence, whatever the body type, the trend of getting cosmetic surgeries to achieve the perfect body type will remain popular,” states cosmetic surgeon Dr. Lee B. Daniel