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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

valiumredhead Wed 06-Mar-13 13:20:31

American sizes are 2 smaller than UK aren't they? So she would be a UK 14 I think.

I want to kindly tell you to GAG - you are a size 12, hardly something to be sad about smile

Floggingmolly Wed 06-Mar-13 13:24:14

It's all this vanity sizing - I reckon a size 16 then would probably be equivalent to size 10 now.

Scrazy Wed 06-Mar-13 13:24:26

American 16 would be a 12 in our sizes, wouldn't it?

MsWetherwax Wed 06-Mar-13 13:25:25

I am thrilled to be a 12 valium - this time last year I was a size 22! smile

valiumredhead Wed 06-Mar-13 13:27:07

Congrats OP! Be happy not sad grin

MsWetherwax Wed 06-Mar-13 13:28:38

Ah, yes, hadn't thought about American sizing being different to ours - probably due to the shock of how much UK sizes have changed in 50 years!

valiumredhead Wed 06-Mar-13 13:28:44

The other thing is apart from sizing we are a completely different shape now than 40/50 years ago, people were generally much more petite.

StatisticallyChallenged Wed 06-Mar-13 13:28:54

Other way - American 12 is UK 16

MsWetherwax Wed 06-Mar-13 13:32:21

Thank you valium. I guess I was just really suprised at how much thinner women were 50 years ago. I think the average then was about a 12 (about an 8 in todays sizing) which I would now think of as very slim.

Maybe I should ditch the car, the vacuum cleaner and the washing machine to lose the last few pounds! grin

PopeBenedictsP45 Wed 06-Mar-13 13:34:02

"The other thing is apart from sizing we are a completely different shape now than 40/50 years ago, people were generally much more petite."

How does that work? Do you mean we're fatter now? How can we be a different shape altogether?

valiumredhead Wed 06-Mar-13 13:34:05

How have you done it OP?

ChunkyPickle Wed 06-Mar-13 13:34:15

American sizing is ridiculous.. I am definitely a large lady - BMI about 40 - yet an XL from Old Navy (standard cheap clothes shop - like New Look) was a little bit big.

Over here, as soul destroying as it is, I know that an XXL will be pushing it and an XXL is more likely to fit.

The biggest trouble is they all vanity size differently.

Scrazy Wed 06-Mar-13 13:34:38

Yes so when I bought American clothes and I was a 10, I was buying 6's. That's right, it's the other way round.

LadyPessaryPam Wed 06-Mar-13 13:38:44

We were expected to have 24 - 26" waists 45 years ago, I struggled with 28" as I am very high waisted. it was the bane of my life, I longed to be proper woman shaped sad

CardinalRichelieu Wed 06-Mar-13 13:40:33

Not very long ago there was an exhibition of costumes from famous movies at the v&A (Scarlett O'Hara's curtain dress, Keira Knightley's green dress in Atonement etc) and there was one of Marilyn Monroe's dresses, I think from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The waist was teeeeeny, about 24 inches max. But her boobs were pretty big (unsurprisingly). I wouldn't even be able to categorise it as a single dress size as her dimensions were so unique, but excluding the boobs it was about a 6-8.

I reckon an 80s size 10 is a today's 6.

BubaMarra Wed 06-Mar-13 13:44:43

Average waistline has gone up in the last 60 years by 6 or 7 inches, average breast size by one cup (I think). And fat above our elbows.

MsWetherwax Wed 06-Mar-13 13:45:21

Weight watchers mainly Valium. And walking, lots of it!

I've cut out the wine and beer and stick to vodka or gin and slimline tonic.

I always have a pan of homemade vegetable soup on the hob to snack on.

I've stopped eating sausage rolls for breakfast! grin

valiumredhead Wed 06-Mar-13 13:46:58

Well done you! smile

impty Wed 06-Mar-13 13:48:47

On the other hand Im 5'10" and tower over my grandparents. So if you are taller i would think you would be wider

MsWetherwax Wed 06-Mar-13 13:58:53

smile thank you.

My dgm's had no electric appliances when they were bringing up children, no cars, no fast food, no supermarkets so walked to the shops daily, walked the school runs, did all the washing by hand and used to hang their rugs/carpets over the washing line and beat the dust out of them, so I suppose it stands to reason they burned off more calories (and ate less of them too I would imagine!)

InsertWittyUsername Wed 06-Mar-13 14:02:46

She was absolutely tiny, although even with the change due to vanity sizing she wasn't the old sizes people quote either - all her clothes were custom made. In today's sizes, her 22 inch waist is smaller than a US size 0.

HaplessHousewife Wed 06-Mar-13 14:04:33

It's definitely changed even in the last 20 years. I was tiny as a teenager, 6 stone at 16, going up to 7 stone at 18, and 5'4" so not short. I'm guessing I was even less at 14/15. I used to buy a Top Shop size 10 and my mum would take the waists in.

I was overjoyed when they started selling size 8 because I could get clothes that fitted. I now weigh over 9 stone (so 50% more than back then sad) but wear a size 10, there is no way I could have got away with just taking in the waist on a modern size 10.

Mominatrix Wed 06-Mar-13 14:04:45

I saw the white dress Marilyn wore in Some Like it Hot at the Costume exhibit at the V&A and can hand-on-heart say that there is no way she was a UK size 16. The dress was TINY. Yes, she had curves, but the waist on that dress was a 24inch max (probably less).

QuickLookBusy Wed 06-Mar-13 14:09:48

Mominatrix I was just about to post exactly the same thing.

I was looking forward to seeing it and actually thought it would be much bigger. I was astonished it was so tiny. In fact most of the women's costumes were.

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