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Survey lays bare the scale of Britons’ body image issues

Published
today Nov 15, 2019
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According to new research conducted by the Fashion Retail Academy, most Britons die having never come to terms with their body image.


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A survey of 2,000 people has found that 57% of UK shoppers say they never feel comfortable in their own skin, and while the proportion rises as people get older, it never dips below 43%.

This is having an impact on shoppers’ behaviour towards in-store shopping. Indeed, over a quarter say their body confidence is knocked when they are shopping for clothes, and 26% hate shopping in-store.

The Fashion Retail Academy said the findings could partly explain the rapid rise in online shopping, which allows people to size up and try on clothes in the privacy of their own homes.

As expected, men are more body confident than women on average: 42% vs 30%, as are those aged 55 and over compared to Gen Z: 43% vs 33%. 32% of 25 to 34-year-olds feel comfortable with their body image, compared to 33% for 35 to 44-year-olds and 30% for 45 to 54-year-olds.

London residents are the least body conscious with 44% saying they feel confident about their body image compared with 36% in Northern Ireland, 30% in Scotland and 26% in Wales. 

The report said that the lack of body confidence in the UK could be linked to the rise of social media fashion adverts, which sometimes promote unrealistic body standards. 

“However, people should not shy away from shopping in-store, where there are stylists and personal shoppers in the majority of shops now who can help you find styles to suit your body shape,” said Lee Lucas, principal and CEO of the Fashion Retail Academy, one of the UK’s leading fashion schools.

“Fashion brands and shops have already started to adapt to body consciousness, with adverts starring models of all shapes, styles and sizes.”

According to the study, a third of Britons use Instagram and social media for fashion inspiration.

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