Ever-svelter Victoria's Secret 'Angels' drive everyday women to plastic surgeons

The percentage of women seeking cosmetic surgery has dramatically increased over time

Society's standards of beauty — set forth by supermodels — are becoming more unattainable, new research suggests.

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Victoria’s Secret models, otherwise known as “Angels," have become progressively thinner during the past two decades while the average woman’s waistline has increased, according to "Unattainable Standards of Beauty: Temporal Trends of Victoria’s Secret Models from 1995 to 2018” published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal in November.

Australian model Shanina Shaik walks the runway at the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

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The findings which were published weeks before L Brands, Victoria’s Secret's parent company, canceled its annual, highly-publicized fashion show -- suggest that the lingerie maker, known for its bedazzled and elaborate undergarments, is promoting an ideal weight "that is moving farther away from the characteristics of the average American woman."

The iconic show, featuring models hitting the runway in shows staged in different parts of the world every year accompanied, debuted in 1995 and has drawn millions of viewers annually. It has been seen as a vital tool in building the brand, according to Allure.

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However, in recent years viewership for the fashion show has dropped amid dwindling sales and brand-image issues. The company, which dominated the lingerie industry for years, canceled the annual fashion show in 2019 after last year's event earned the worst ratings in its nearly 20-year broadcast history.

The audience of 3.27 million viewers was the smallest since the show became a holiday-season TV event in 2001, the Nielsen company said. Its viewership ranged from a high of 10.3 million in 2011 to 7.36 million in 2016, Nielsen said.

Models Maggie Laine, Zuri Tibby, Josie Canseco, Alannah Walton, Estelle Chen, and Isilda Moreira walk the runway at the end of the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Researchers compared the bust, waist, height and hip size of the women who have put on the iconic wings and walked the runway since the show debuted in 1995 until 2018.

L Brands did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.

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Over time, Victoria’s Secret fashion models have become more slender. Their bust, waist, hips and overall dress size all shrank while their waist-to-hip ratio remained relatively consistent.

The average waist size for the models dwindled from 24.7 inches in 1995-1998 to about 23.6 inches in 2015-2018. Their average bust size, which was roughly 34.2 inches in 1995-1998, decreased to 23.6 inches in 2015-2018 while their hip size shifted from 34.9 inches to about 34.4 inches.

Model Veronica Webb walking down the runway at the first Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 1995. (Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

By contrast, during the past 21 years, the average American woman’s waist circumference and dress size have increased, varying between a misses size 16 and 18, according to the study.

Model Frederique van attends the Victoria's Secret Spring 1997 Lingerie Collection Runway Show on Feb. 4, 1998. (Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

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"In parallel with this trend, the percentage of women seeking cosmetic surgical procedures has dramatically increased, with buttock and lower body lift increasing by 4,295 percent and 256 percent, respectively, since 2000," according to the study.

Researchers suggest the increase in cosmetic surgery may be due to the desire to achieve the "ideal WHR," which researchers describe as a narrow waist set with fuller hips.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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