It’s not a secret that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Moreover, the perception of beauty has dramatically changed over the course of human history. But has it been for the better or for the worse? Viewing beauty from the standpoint of modern tastes is monkey business because every epoch had its own ideas of what defines beauty. We’ve compiled a timeline of major body type trends starting with Ancient Egypt up to the 2000s. Check out how the standard of female ideal body has dramatically changed over the centuries.
The art of ancient Egypt represents goddesses as slender women with high waists and narrow shoulders. Smokey eyes and long braided hair were also important elements of beauty.
Judging from Greek statues, ancient Aphrodites were quite plump women with wide hips and rounded breasts.
The Renaissance Era
During the 1300s through 1400s up to the 1500s, fuller women with voluptuous hips, large bosom, and rounded stomach were considered the most beautiful. The Renaissance paintings depict women who would likely be considered overweight by modern standards. However, these well-rounded blonde Venuses were the epitome of femininity. Voluptuousness embodied virtue and wealth back then. This is why the curvier a woman was, the more admired she was by her contemporaries.
The Victorian Era
Unlike Renaissance beauties, Victorian ladies were preoccupied with having the smallest waist possible. Actually, any normal human just can’t have a Victorian era waistline. This is why women wore a real Devil’s invention – corsets – to get the trendy look. The 1800s corset-obsessed fashionistas could hardly breathe and could only stand. Now it sounds unfathomable but they would even break their ribs to achieve an insane beauty goal – a 12-inch waist. The Victorian beauty was also associated with layered petticoats, hoops, and bustles that created an illusion of an enormous derriere.
The Roaring Twenties
The 1920s were an era when women were obsessed with hiding their curves. Boyish looks were a la mode. Some girls would even bind their chests with bandages or strips of cloth to get that look just like Gwyneth Paltrow in ‘Shakespeare in Love.’ They wore swingy flapper dresses – straight, shapeless with fringes on the bottom. These flapper dresses were the polar opposites of the bulky Victorian era gowns.
Movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield popularized the hourglass figure that turned into the most desired body shape of the mid-century’s women. Taught to dress to allure, but without showing too much skin, extra curves were a really efficient weapon to conquer men.
The Swinging Sixties
The mini-skirt generation changed the ideal body type from curvy to skinny. Mimicking the popular models with slender frames of the day – most notably Twiggy, at slightly more than 100 pounds she looked like a pixie some might even say androgynous. Women got hooked on a trend of being as thin as a stick (twig)
The Supermodel Era
The aerobics craze of the 1980s made women want to be slim yet sexy. Ladies were expected to have toned bodies without being too muscular. Athletic yet still curvaceous. As the result, the number of eating disorders skyrocketed during the decade.
Models like Kate Moss took standards of extreme thinness to a new level. The ‘heroin chic’ trend admired anorexic bodies causing a public outcry.
In the post-modern age, women experimented with a number of body type trends of previous decades. To get desirable looks, they frequently turned to plastic surgery. J Lo’s butt became a symbol of the decade that blazed a trail for modern day’s selfie generation flaunting huge rear assets on Instagram.