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Bust Beauty Throughout the Decades

We all know that fashions change and evolve with time, but do you ever wonder how fashion has affected society’s perception of beauty? It is also true that ideas of beauty aren’t static either. They too are always changing so that the perceptions of a woman’s body, especially the breasts, are different today than they were 10, 50, or 100 years or more ago.

Perhaps it would be interesting to see how your breasts would compare against the standards of days past. (Then again, maybe not!)


During the Renaissance, fuller-figured, large-breasted women were all the rage because their weight was a proxy for wealth. Her large size meant that she had a lot of money available to allow her to consume a considerable amount of food on a regular basis. Therefore, busty, full-figured women were considered beautiful and desirable, and they were often the subject of art during this period.

Victorian England

During the Victorian Era, named after England’s Queen Victoria, a “motherly” physique was in style. A body that bespoke child-bearing abilities was the height of fashion. Women strove to emphasize a small waist by wearing corsets, highlighting wide hips and large busts, which were supposed to be indications that a woman would easily be able to conceive a child.

Even though this era promoted modesty, large breasts were considered a mark of femininity.

Roaring ‘20s

By the 1920s, prohibition was in effect, leading to the rise of speakeasy culture. Women were beginning to own their sexuality more, and they tended to prefer an androgynous look in their fashions that included short hair, dark makeup, and shorter dresses. They often resorted to the practice of binding their breasts in order to facilitate the flat-chested, boyish appearance that was in vogue. This also allowed them to wear loose-fitting dresses, which made it much easier for them to dance more freely.

Hollywood Glamour 1930s – 1950s

As cinema rose in popularity in America, women now had a new standard by which to compare themselves. Leading ladies in Hollywood ushered in a new type of glamorous woman to emulate. Iconic actresses, like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, often flaunted hourglass figures so that larger-breasted women with small waists were considered to be the quintessence of feminine beauty.

Twiggy and the ‘60s

British mod fashion dramatically changed how society viewed beauty in the 1960s. The model Twiggy introduced the fashion industry and the world to the tall, extremely slim models that still walk the runway today (hopefully not the exact same models!). Narrow hips and small chests were considered chic and desired by many women.

‘80s Athletic

It was in the 1980s that two distinct body types became more desirable. Aerobics exercise became the craze and motivated millions of women to go to the gym. During this time, there was a far greater emphasis on fitness for women. Athletic bodies with toned stomachs and medium-to-large breasts became increasingly popular.

The ‘80s also brought in the age of the “Supermodel.” These women were tall and leggy with generally moderate-sized breasts. They became influential in pop culture, working their way into the media, music videos, and television.

Diversifying ‘90s

While “skinny” was still ideal in the ‘90s, there rose two distinct body types that were considered desirable. On one hand, you had the supermodel from the ‘80s: leggy women who were slender but chesty like Cindy Crawford. Large breasts with a flat stomach were considered feminine and ideal.

On the other hand, models like Kate Moss ushered in the “waif” look which highlighted extreme thinness, gaunt waists, narrow hips, and small breasts. These women combined the androgyny of the ‘20s with the extremely thin physique of the ‘60s. It was this slim, fragile build that began to dominate the high fashion runways and would remain doing so until fairly recently.

Modern-Day Options

The good thing about being a woman today is that fashion and pop culture now expect a wider variety of what is considered beautiful and sexy. There is more focus on what appears to be healthy and what makes you happy rather than meeting a certain “ideal.” Curves seem to be in, and the more you have, the more you have to flaunt. Fuller-figured actresses and models are making a play at the spotlight – a likely reaction to high fashion’s stick-thin models as well as a consequence of the epidemic of obesity that reigns today.

If your breasts don’t meet your beauty standards and you are looking for more confidence in your body, the Arizona Center for Breast Surgery is here to help. Specializing in breast augmentations, enhancements, lifts, and reductions, I may be able to help you achieve the breast appearance that you desire.

Call me today at (480) 451-3000 to schedule your consultation, or fill out our online contact form here.