There have been some recent share-worthy strides made in featuring a broader range of models in ad campaigns on and off runways. While “average” (think, sample size 6, shorter than 5’8″) and plus-size ladies are popping up more frequently than they had been in previous decades, most fashion houses still use images of women who are thinner than the national “average” (which, at last count, was size 14) to model their product. A new study indicates that this may not be the best tactic — for business. Women in the UK were shown images of the same apparel on a range of different-sized models. Surprise, surprise; when it came to which photos women preferred, the majority favored models who were closer in size to the participants.


If the images were showing clothing from a brand the person being surveyed was familiar with, there was no preference, but if the clothing house was one the consumer wasn’t aware of, participants tended to favor the average-sized model. When it came to self esteem and how women felt looking at the images, once again the average-sized ladies came up on top.


Perhaps the fashion industry will take this as a cue that using a wider range of sizes of women as models won’t hurt their business. In fact, it might enhance customer satisfaction. Companies like Target and ModCloth (in fact, ModCloth is kind of the body positive pro at this point) are leading the charge, and we can’t wait to see who follows suit.

What are your thoughts when it comes to models’ size in advertising? We’d love to hear in the comments.

(h/t Marie Claire)