to think Marilyn Monroe probably WAS a size 16 after all?

(152 Posts)
MsWetherwax Wed 06-Mar-13 13:05:55

I have spent the last 2 days clearing out DM's attic, and found loads of old clothes up there (the house has been in the family a long time and has a large attic) including my great aunts wedding dress. She got married in 1960.

My dgm often referred to this aunt as being quite stout, and her wedding dress was a 16. I tried it on, as you do. I am a size 12, bmi of 25, 5'6". It was too small. By quite a margin. sad I am nearly 40, and have been aware that vanity sizing was on the generous side, but this has really shocked me.

Having spent the rest of the evening "investigating" this by trying on more motheaten vintage clothing we discovered a size 10 in 1960 was about a size 6 now. (Dsis is a 10 and needed at least 3 more inches around the waist, although the wedding dress fitted beautifully) and that it wasn't just the wedding dress that didn't fit me, there were 3 more dresses in there, all size 16, and all too small. sad

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Wed 06-Mar-13 15:32:45

clara even if not wearing a girdle, wearing restrictive underwear for years does change your shape.
A modern-day case in point would be Dita Von Teese who is an hourglass shape and naturally tiny, but constantly wearing corsets has reduced her waist even more.

JeeanieYuss Wed 06-Mar-13 15:43:45

MurderOfGoths- Are you sure that is not just her knicker line in that photo? Looks more like it than a girdle I think..

msrisotto Wed 06-Mar-13 15:54:03

Loving the pictures of MM. She looks so healthy and happy in them.

I didn't know that always wearing corsets physically changed womens' shape!

chrome100 Wed 06-Mar-13 15:55:26

I am, by today's standards, a size 8-10. When I was in my later teen years, I was anorexic and weighed around 2 stone less than I did now. I didn't have periods, I didn't eat, I felt awful. And I STILL didn't have a 23 inch waist! I am therefore not convinced that women were that thin at all. Yes, I accept they were thinner than today's women, and that vanity sizing definitely exists, but for them to be that thin does not make sense.

I am very interestsed in local history and have lots of collections of old photos of my area from the 40s/50s. I have to say that although ovewhelmingly there aren't many fat people, the women still look healthy and in proportion and not any thinner than thin people do today.

Here another pic of her in that same dress: blog.jokeroo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/MMonroe2.jpg

I really don't think she was wearing a girdle or corset. The material is so thin, you can see through it.

I may be wrong though...

Clarabella I can see a v-shape at the front of that dress starting just where her wrist is touching it. Could just be a seam but it looks more like an outline to me.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Wed 06-Mar-13 16:06:09

Very envy of the people who have remained the same weight/size for 25 years. I, OTOH have remained the same dress size for 25 years, which, as we have established, is not exactly the same thing. I tried on a suit I bought as a teen recently, which brought home to me the difference between a 1988 size 12 and a 2013 size 12.

thezebrawearspurple Wed 06-Mar-13 16:13:53

I don't know how anyone could think she could have been a size 12, let alone 16. There are plenty of photos and videos of her and her tiny 22 inch waist and slim curves. Are people blind? Or have they seriously deluded themselves into thinking that their fat size 16 bodies look like that?hmm

msrisotto Wed 06-Mar-13 16:15:03

rtft people are talking about vanity sizing

chrome Almost everyone wore corsets/girdles until the 60s, so waists were much smaller

MsWetherwax Wed 06-Mar-13 16:26:27

Zebra - the point I was making is that a dress from 1960 that was labeled a size 16 fits a modern day size 10 woman like a glove - so no, of course I don't think she was a modern day 16. I do however think that she was perhaps a size 16 when the size 16 dresses were much much smaller than they are today.

MsWetherwax Wed 06-Mar-13 16:29:42

Lady Isabella, my dm was a size 12 in the sixties when she weighed 8.5 stone. At 63 she is still a 12, but weighs 11 stone. She doesn't go out dancing 5 nights a week anymore either so is definitely not as toned! [ grin]

chrome100 Wed 06-Mar-13 16:32:28

But they weren't naturally that small, they were pulled in?

digerd Wed 06-Mar-13 16:34:54

You look at the black and white documentary films of the ladies working during the war. They were all thin, but that is because in those days and post war for a few decades afterwards, people did not have enough money to eat a lot of food. There were very few people with cars and people walked. Labour saving devices were not there and then too expensive for most. Also no TV - people were on the move all day.

Before breast implants, big bosoms were a symbol of sexyness. Even then some women had big breasts and were thin otherwise. The sex bombs of that era were also Jayne Mansfield and Sophia Loren, but they were bigger hipped and waisted so corsets were worn to give the cinched in waist/hour glass figure If corsets are worn at meal-times, you can't eat much as tummy cannot expand.

There were standard measurements and the smallest was a 10 = waist - 22" Hips 34", size 12 was waist 24", hips 36", size 14 waist 26" hips 38".

When Miss World had to show themselves in a one-piece swimsuit, they were checked for "falsies and corsets" which were barred. Remember watching that in Black and white. In those days beautiful shapely legs were also considered a high asset. Saw no match-stick thin thighs then .

higgle Wed 06-Mar-13 16:35:00

My mother was ( she has shrunk a bit now) '4", 8 stone 10 with a 26" waist,
this made her a size 14 in the 1970's Even when I'm a size 10 I can't get into her lovely old clothes.

bruffin Wed 06-Mar-13 16:35:48

I had a 22inch waist from my teens into my late 20s. I was 7st to 7.5 stone and 5ft 2
My dress size was an 8 to 10 but size 8 was difficult to get hold of in the 70s/ 80s.
Now my Dd is a lot taller and a 25 inch waist is an 8.
There is no way she would fit in to my old size 10.

digerd Wed 06-Mar-13 16:46:58

I used to buy children's clothes as the length was just right for me being 5foot 2 and 7stone 9. aged 15-16 in the 70s.

digerd Wed 06-Mar-13 16:48:21

ps
The clothes were for 5-16 year-olds - I was much older.

Fillyjonk75 Wed 06-Mar-13 17:45:27

^Before breast implants, big bosoms were a symbol of sexyness. Even then some women had big breasts and were thin otherwise. The sex bombs of that era were also Jayne Mansfield and Sophia Loren, but they were bigger hipped and waisted so corsets were worn to give the cinched in waist/hour glass figure If corsets are worn at meal-times, you can't eat much as tummy cannot expand.

There were standard measurements and the smallest was a 10 = waist - 22" Hips 34", size 12 was waist 24", hips 36", size 14 waist 26" hips 38^

Thank fuck for being born in 1975.

FreudiansSlipper Wed 06-Mar-13 18:08:37

MM was often sewn into her clothes. You can often see her tummy is rounded (she fell pregnant quite a few times and miscarried) you can also see she is wearing a corset at times she was still never a size 16

NuttyNewDog Wed 06-Mar-13 18:15:23

Couldn't agree more! DD1 (size 6 to 8) wore a size 12 eighties dress of mine to her school prom, no alteration needed. I'm still a size 12 but there's no way I could get it over my knees these days! It probably means I've gone up a size a decade, so I'm all in favour of vanity sizing!

MrsKoala Wed 06-Mar-13 18:31:18

Has anyone said how tall she was? My nana had a 24" waist which i was berated with growing up when it became obvious i would not . However, my Nana was 4ft11in and i am almost 5ft11in so being almost a whole foot taller i think that's okay! We are just bigger all over. Mum 5ft5in so halfway between us. Does that mean my daughter will be 6ft5in? shock

bigTillyMint Wed 06-Mar-13 18:33:39

Yes, I agree Jamie - I was a size 10 in my early 20's (25 yrs agoblush) and the same jeans now would be a size 8 at the most .

Wishihadabs Wed 06-Mar-13 18:53:23

Up thread someone said their 7yo had a 23" waist sorry but that is too big. A child of that age should be lean with a BMI of 12-15 not 19-25 as in adults.

Mominatrix Thu 07-Mar-13 06:26:06

People can and do have naturally small waists -especially if they are not very tall. I have not taken a tape measure to me, but I have belts which are 60cm which I wear over clothes, and I have a dress from the victorian times which I can still wear which has a 22 inch waist. I am not particularly small for my ethnicity and height.

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