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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

Lindy123 Fri 08-Mar-13 16:32:19

I have always been a big Monroe fan and her weight went up and down just like ours today. She was actually at one of her her largest sizes in Some Like It Hot which still wasn't big. If you look at photos of her just before she died, she was skinny. The famous pose of her naked when she was young she was super slim. Marilyn just like us today was a notorious comfort Eater-drinker. Mainly champagne!

digerd Fri 08-Mar-13 13:06:12

Diana Dors was definitely no size 10. All the sex bomb film stars looked like healthy women with curvy hips even in the 30s. Not like today's scrawny/skinny look.
I remember hearing that MM was a size 14 decades ago. She certainly had lovely shaped legs.

Sazzle41 Fri 08-Mar-13 12:44:50

She was definitely a size 16 in he pregnant and occasional 'big' phases but if you see pictures at the start of her career and the year before she died, she looks like a perfect UK size 12 to me - i have a big collection of coffee table books with fab pics and to me she is at size 12 the perfect healthy, womanly figure

Trills Fri 08-Mar-13 12:20:21

British standard sizing 1982 - no requirement for shops to actually follow this.

Next women's sizing guide

Size 10 , according to Next (in 2013)
Bust 86.5cm, waist 71cm, hips 95cm

Size 10 according to 1982 British standard
Bust 82 - 86 cm, hips 87 - 91 cm

So Next size 10 in 2013 is more like a size 12 by those rules.

kaumana Fri 08-Mar-13 12:12:07

I understand what you are saying however it doesn't explain why my size 10 trousers from Next 15 years ago have the same measurements as a size 8 now. I haven't changed my shopping habits, I buy my jeans from Top Shop as I did 20years ago and wear a smaller size than I did then even though I weigh more and my hips are bigger since having children.

rockinhippy Fri 08-Mar-13 11:19:29

I should have added it was/is my trade & when employed I was involved with sizing policies for a lot of the major stores

rockinhippy Fri 08-Mar-13 11:18:19

That would fit with when sizing overhauls DID take place in the 60s & 70s biryani but contrary to popular belief on here - there hasn't been on since - some stores tried it in the 90s, but soon reverted back as it just didn't work & had their suppliers up in arms over pricing & ratios - anyone finding they now take the same size as they did in the 80s onwards is more likely down to a change of shopping habits that any size overhaul - as I said before, stores aiming at young shoppers are cut to fit "girls" - stores aiming at older customers are cut to fit "women"

biryani Fri 08-Mar-13 09:34:30

I agree. I'm a size 12 now and I was a 12 in the 70's. I was genuinely slim then; now I'm most definitely plump!

Morloth Fri 08-Mar-13 07:37:41

Smaller isn't necessarily better.

RedToothBrush Fri 08-Mar-13 07:08:05

Quite Eurostar. We are getting bigger because we are healthier as well as unhealthier! Its a point that seems to get lost when comparing sizes of the past with the present.

kaumana Thu 07-Mar-13 22:59:38

At work today we had discussion over a skirt we liked ( slow day) , which is only available online. Size 10 was the given for all, apart from me who had choose a 6-8. You would think that I was skinni malinki but I have a 28 w and 35 h.

Colleagues were happy that they were the same size as when they were a teen got married etc

I guess what I' m trying to say is, if sizing went back to what it was in the 80's and 90's, those who are in their 30s, 40s etc, might get there ass in gear!! ( I know I would)

Eurostar Thu 07-Mar-13 22:19:35

I don't like the term vanity sizing either. As some have explained really well, they up all sizes as we grow - in height, width, as well as in fat. Of course obesity is unhealthy and life threatening, but the thinner women of earlier 20th century generations still got lots of nasty diseases, not to mention widespread osteoporosis. A sedentary and sugar laden lifestyle will kill us off, a "big boned" shape will not.

sleepyhead Thu 07-Mar-13 22:13:36

Yep, that woman was a 32F if there ever was one.

RedToothBrush Thu 07-Mar-13 22:06:48

I suspect from MM's statistics that she was in need of a MN bra intervention.

36D-22-36. Hmm.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Thu 07-Mar-13 22:05:58

That's an irritatingly good point RedTooth

However I stand by my point that calling it 'vanity sizing' can just fuck off.

Perhaps we ought to start all over again with the sizes.

rockinhippy Thu 07-Mar-13 21:57:49

I had a 22 inch waist pre DD, it was 24 just after giving birth - without any help at all though I'd be kidding myself to say it was now though so it's not impossible without help - my DM had a 17 inch waist, again natural

digerd Thu 07-Mar-13 21:57:13

The majority of my friends at school were 5 foot 2. We had 2 taller girls in our year. I was 7stone 9, but my closest friend was 7stone 2, We wore size 4 shoes. My sis was 5foot 3.5" tall and took size 3 shoes. My bust was tiny, but everyone else's was huge < sad little me face.> Many did ice skating or roller skating as a hobby . I and my sister danced and enjoyed acrobatics. Other leisure time activities were walking and exploring. And horse-riding.

sleepyhead Thu 07-Mar-13 21:55:47

Our family are all urban Scots, so tiny, sunlight deprived and malnourished grin. Southerners are all giants to us..

JackieTheFart Thu 07-Mar-13 21:53:38

She didn't wear corsets! Maybe girdles and waspies but not a corset.

She did a nude scene shortly before her death, which was fairly soon after a miscarriage sad so she was carrying a bit more weight. She still had a tiny waist.

rockinhippy Thu 07-Mar-13 21:52:53

I should have added to make more sense of it, the whole vanity sizing thing has more to do with where you shop now, as opposed to where you did when younger, companies mostly aiming at teens/twenty something's are selling smaller fitting "girl" shapes, where as companies targeting an older market are cut to fit post DCs womanly curves IYSWIM

LineRunner Thu 07-Mar-13 21:49:38

Gosh, yes, foot size - good point.

Grandmas - size 3

Mother - size 5

Me - 7

DD - already an 8

rockinhippy Thu 07-Mar-13 21:44:29

I collect vintage patterns & sizing back then was completely different to how it is now, different shape too,so yes she would have been a uk 16 as it was there & then, but not as a 16 is now, or even as was in more recent history,

& I'm afraid "vanity sizing" is a bit of a myth, several stores tried it, but it doesn't really work, lots if other things come into the equation, fabric consumption, buying ratios etc etc, besides in reality it just didn't work, so sizing soon reverted back as we are just not that dumb - sizes are a bit bigger than in the 80s but not actually that much

Haberdashery Thu 07-Mar-13 21:41:30

My mum (born 1944) is about 5'10". My grandmother (born 1916) was the same height. I'm 5'5". I think I lost out somewhere there. And no, my food intake hasn't been restricted in any way! My giant forebears seem to have spawned a runt!

I'm a size 8. I think they were both about size 16 at my age (but that's not far off in actual inches).

RedToothBrush Thu 07-Mar-13 21:33:21

Apparently average woman's height in the sixties in the UK was 5' 2".
Its now 5' 4"

Average foot size was 3.
Its now 6.

sleepyhead Thu 07-Mar-13 21:32:49

I'm the "biggest" woman on either size of my family at 5' 6" (size 12ish).

Compared to my mother, aunts, grandmothers, great aunts (and further back from the few items I've seen), it's not just my height. It's my feet (3 sizes bigger than my 5'2" mum), hands, shoulders, wrists, fingers.

I'm not surprised that standard sizes have got bigger. My bones are bigger (and healthier) than my foremothers.

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