Fit of Jeans and Body Satisfaction
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In this study we measured the degree of satisfaction with the body related to clothing fit using a body cathexis scale. High ratings on a body cathexis scale are related to high confidence levels. Clothing fit is an important factor in the management of clothing- mitigated body appearance and, potentially, body satisfaction. We wished to determine whether the college-age female wearer’s perception of denim jeans fit is related to her degree of body satisfaction.

For this study 313 undergraduate female students completed an online survey about their denim jeans wardrobe and preferences in terms of fit, style and cost. A subset of 36 respondents brought in their worst fitting and best fitting jeans, modeled the jeans in front of a mirror, discussed the fit of each pair, and were body scanned in minimal clothing (underwear, tank top and leggings) and in each pair of jeans. Participants were surveyed on the fit, style, and cost of the jeans as well as their feelings of security and comfort. Participants completed a lower body cathexis scale when they first entered the study room, after they were scanned in minimal clothing, and after they were scanned in each pair of jeans. Overall Cathexis scores were lowest in the poorly fitting jeans, next lowest in minimal clothing, and highest in the well fitting jeans. Participants felt significantly more secure and more comfortable in the well fitting jeans. Follow-up studies are planned on perception of fit based on ease values, and cross cultural issues in body satisfaction and fit.

This graph shows initial body satisfaction averages (street clothes) compared to the scan uniform and the two pairs of jeans for each lower body part. (Chart: Cornell Body Scan Research Group)
Each study participant was scanned in a pair of poorly fitting jeans (A) and a pair of well fitting jeans (B) from her wardrobe. (Image: Cornell Body Scan Research Group)