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Comparison of body shape between USA and Korean women

Jeong Yim Lee (Paichai University, Daejeon, South Korea)
Cynthia L. Istook (North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA)
Yun Ja Nam (Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea)
Sun Mi Park (Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea)

International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology

ISSN: 0955-6222

Article publication date: 9 October 2007




The purpose of this paper is to compare body shape between USA and Korean women. It aims to analyze the distribution and proportion of body shapes of two countries and compare the differences of body shape according to age.


SizeUSA and SizeKorea measurement data were evaluated using the Female Figure Identification Technique for apparel system developed at North Carolina State University. Once the samples were defined by shape, comparisons were made of the distribution according to age and country through statistical analysis.


The paper finds that the largest shape category was the rectangle shape in both countries, but the distribution within each shape category for Korean women was different from that of USA women. More body shape categories were found in the USA women than in Korean women. In addition, most body shape categories had different body proportions when comparing the USA women and Korean women. The USA women had the higher measurements in the waist, high hip, and hips height and the larger measurements in the bust, waist, high hip, and hips circumference.

Research limitations/implications

Of the over 6,300 US female subjects in this study, only five failed to be identified by the seven shapes identified. These subjects had over 50.2 in. of hip circumference, over 10 in. larger hips than bust circumference, and over 15.5 in. larger hips than waist circumference. Further refinement of the mathematical definitions or a second group of criteria may be required for sorting the women that have no shape as defined by this study.


The opportunity to compare the body shapes between two very different countries, using national anthropometric survey data, is very rare, indeed. This comparison allows the opportunity to discover ways to improve the sizing systems of each country, as well as impact the development of international sizing standards that could have a significant impact on brands producing product for a variety of international consumers.



Yim Lee, J., Istook, C.L., Ja Nam, Y. and Mi Park, S. (2007), "Comparison of body shape between USA and Korean women", International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, Vol. 19 No. 5, pp. 374-391.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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