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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 December 2005, 09:51 GMT
Study to answer bum size puzzle
Bum size research
Women of various shapes and sizes are taking part in the study
Researchers at a Scottish university are aiming to answer the question - does my bum look big in this?

Heriot-Watt University's School of Textiles and Design has launched what is believed to be the world's first study on how clothing affects the bum.

Four female models with various sized bottoms will wear different types of clothing as part of the research.

The study will examine how designs, colours, patterns and fabric types affect perception.

The university believes the research could have major implications for retailers.

This study will provide detailed information to enable designers to make the clothes that help women make the most of their natural assets
Dr Lisa Macintyre
Heriot-Watt University

Female volunteers wearing hundreds of different types of clothing will have their rears photographed for the research.

Participants will then be asked to look at the pictures to assess how big or small each model's backside appears.

Dr Lisa Macintyre, who is leading the research, said four models had been chosen to provide as representative as possible a sample of female rears.

One has a "standard" womanly backside while another has a much fuller "pre-Raphaelite" bum.

The academic said the third model was slim with a small bum while another had a curvier behind like singer Jennifer Lopez.

Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez is famous for her curves

Dr Macintyre, 33, from Edinburgh, said: "There's much discussion in the media of clothing styles that flatter the body and it's generally accepted that enhancing body perception can improve confidence and self-esteem.

"But the factors behind this have never been fully investigated in a proper scientific manner.

"Designers and consumers don't currently have access to established information that could enable them to make or choose garments that enhance body size and shape.

"This study will provide for the first time detailed and usable information that would enable designers to make the clothes that help women make the most of their natural assets."

The results from the first phase of the study, which will look at how different styles of trouser affect the appearance of bottom size, are to be published in May.

Dr Macintyre, whose PhD was in dressings for burn scars, plans to apply for a government research grant to expand the study.

Does my bum look big in this?
29 Nov 05 |  Magazine

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