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Old 09-01-2013, 08:49 PM
 
12,655 posts, read 12,078,941 times
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Men do have this issue, and now it is even different within the same brand for more than a few brands I have came across. I do not stick with any brands, I buy what I like, so I have numerous different brands of clothing; but I try on everything anyway so the non-standard sizes are not too bothersome unless ordering online.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:02 PM
 
Location: CA
3,469 posts, read 6,936,522 times
Reputation: 4779
I have a vintage dress from the 1950s that is marked a size 8 - it fits the same as some modern size 0 & 2 dresses I have, although it is even smaller in the waist than my modern dresses (which I LOVE - so hard to find clothes with nipped in waists). My other vintage clothes I still own do not have the tag in them...

Since I used to buy & sell a lot of vintage though, though, I noticed these general equivalents:
1950/60s Size............Size NOW
8..............................0-2
10.............................2-4
12............................4-6
14............................6-8
16............................8-10

Also, the waists were much smaller in proportion to the hips/bust, so for each of those, the smaller listed size was more like the waist size, or even a size smaller than that. This certainly illuminates why the generally slender Marilyn Monroe was said to be size 10-12....

As for the past 20 years or so... I have some jeans I bought around 1998 as a teen marked a size 5/6 (juniors) and they fit similarly to jeans I have now marked 3/4 (juniors). For the record, I generally wear size 26 jeans, which I guess is supposed to be a size 3/4 now.

I have an Express dress from the early 90s (thrift store find, as I was a child then) & it is marked a 6 and fits more like dresses labelled 0 or 2 now.

I think the UK sizes are closer to what US sizes used to be 20 years ago. I tend to wear 6 or 8 in UK sizes, and that's what vintage clothes which fit me are usually labelled.

In very low end chains like Old Navy, it is not unusual for even XS sizes to be too large for me, and often when they fit the bust/hips, they still swim on the waist.

In nicer chains like Anthropologie, I wear XS or 0 or 2. My measurements would put me at a 4 on the bottom, but it never holds true when I actually put clothes on. Only if something is very fitted in the hips/butt with no stretch & totally true to size do I need a 4.

In department stores, I generally wear an XS or 2, unless very fitted on the bottom & then maybe a 4.

In European based chain stores, like H&M or Zara, I find I wear a larger size. They seem closer to UK sizes. I tend to wear 4 or 6 in those stores.

So yeah, vanity sizing is real & the extent of it depends on where you shop.
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
26,876 posts, read 28,154,657 times
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^ Just a general pattern, there is much less waist definition in mainstream clothing than their used to be. Most clothing assumed a 10+ inch gap from waist to hip based on older patterns. Now that number is more like 8 inches.

The other big difference is that, our waists are just much larger than they used to be. Just think about Hollywood starlets from the 50s to now. Jayne Mansfield, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, etc all had waists that measured from about 20-23 inches. Today's "skinny" starlets are more like 24-26.

I wonder what happened?
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:31 PM
 
3,877 posts, read 4,574,828 times
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women gave up girdles and waist nippers, for one thing. Yes, we have spanx today, but they've got nothing on old school shapewear.

Also, women are generally taller and have a larger skeleton than 40 years ago, so their overall size will be larger even if it's the same ratio of pounds:height and waist:bust:hip.

Even in the '60s, there was some vanity sizing in higher-end clothing. My mother would typically wear an 8-10 but could wear 6-8 in similar styles bought at higher-end stores. I think the beginning of vanity sizing was not about someone heavier getting into something with a smaller number, per se, but that the smaller number indicated better clothing or higher status clothing at that time. But once the retailers saw the power that had on purchases, they pushed it to the manufacturers and instituted it across the boards.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:22 AM
 
Location: all over the place (figuratively)
2,635 posts, read 2,115,158 times
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I believe that, in the USA, average height leveled out decades ago.

My suspicion is that some non-white ethnicities (who make up an increasing percentage of the population/market) are not as hour-glassed shaped as white women. But I think everyone has become less hour-glass shaped, due to dietary changes, regardless of weight. Omega-3 intake apparently influences shape.

I've heard there is vanity sizing in men's pants and it's probably new, but other than that, I think menswear is free of the nonsense.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
26,876 posts, read 28,154,657 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodheathen View Post
I believe that, in the USA, average height leveled out decades ago.

My suspicion is that some non-white ethnicities (who make up an increasing percentage of the population/market) are not as hour-glassed shaped as white women. But I think everyone has become less hour-glass shaped, due to dietary changes, regardless of weight. Omega-3 intake apparently influences shape.

I've heard there is vanity sizing in men's pants and it's probably new, but other than that, I think menswear is free of the nonsense.
It all depends. Well I find there is some confusion about the definition of hourglass. Plenty of people seem to think having a low waist/hip ratio (WHR) is hourglass (and they ignore the bust aspect). Whereas an hourglass requires similar measurements for bust/hip.

I haven't seen absolute studies on the body type distribution of ethnic groups. But some people are more likely have a low WHR in different ways. In a nutshell, some women have wider hips. Other groups have bigger butts and/or thighs. So clothing fit is entirely different, even though the measurements are exactly the same.
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Old 09-05-2013, 05:57 PM
 
Location: CA
3,469 posts, read 6,936,522 times
Reputation: 4779
It's the girdles, IMO. If you look at women in swimsuits from those eras, they often have an indent in their mid-section that looks somewhat unnatural. It's from the girdles. The fat was squished away from the waist, and when the girdle is worn regularly enough, it will stay that way for awhile before going back.
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Old 09-05-2013, 06:34 PM
 
Location: SC
58 posts, read 129,358 times
Reputation: 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by orangeapple View Post
I have a vintage dress from the 1950s that is marked a size 8 - it fits the same as some modern size 0 & 2 dresses I have, although it is even smaller in the waist than my modern dresses (which I LOVE - so hard to find clothes with nipped in waists). My other vintage clothes I still own do not have the tag in them...

Since I used to buy & sell a lot of vintage though, though, I noticed these general equivalents:
1950/60s Size............Size NOW
8..............................0-2
10.............................2-4
12............................4-6
14............................6-8
16............................8-10

Also, the waists were much smaller in proportion to the hips/bust, so for each of those, the smaller listed size was more like the waist size, or even a size smaller than that. This certainly illuminates why the generally slender Marilyn Monroe was said to be size 10-12....

As for the past 20 years or so... I have some jeans I bought around 1998 as a teen marked a size 5/6 (juniors) and they fit similarly to jeans I have now marked 3/4 (juniors). For the record, I generally wear size 26 jeans, which I guess is supposed to be a size 3/4 now.

I have an Express dress from the early 90s (thrift store find, as I was a child then) & it is marked a 6 and fits more like dresses labelled 0 or 2 now.

I think the UK sizes are closer to what US sizes used to be 20 years ago. I tend to wear 6 or 8 in UK sizes, and that's what vintage clothes which fit me are usually labelled.

In very low end chains like Old Navy, it is not unusual for even XS sizes to be too large for me, and often when they fit the bust/hips, they still swim on the waist.

In nicer chains like Anthropologie, I wear XS or 0 or 2. My measurements would put me at a 4 on the bottom, but it never holds true when I actually put clothes on. Only if something is very fitted in the hips/butt with no stretch & totally true to size do I need a 4.

In department stores, I generally wear an XS or 2, unless very fitted on the bottom & then maybe a 4.

In European based chain stores, like H&M or Zara, I find I wear a larger size. They seem closer to UK sizes. I tend to wear 4 or 6 in those stores.

So yeah, vanity sizing is real & the extent of it depends on where you shop.

I know you know..lol When some women say "Marilyn Monroe was a size 12/14" back in the day, they do not realize she really was a size 6 or so (in our present mx) and also had like a 22 inch waist. I hate to hear some ladies say "I'm the same size as MM and there is NO way in hell that they are the same size as her.
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Old 09-05-2013, 06:45 PM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
5,288 posts, read 17,488,273 times
Reputation: 6515
It really is ridiculous. I buy vintage clothing from Etsy and new and used clothing from eBay - I go strictly by measurements (mine and the garment's)....I am 5'9" and wear a 2 pants/skirt and a 4 dress...which is ridiculous. I remember my Mother telling me when I was a little girl (I was born in the 50's) that size 12 was the ideal size - well it used to be and it was a very slim size....so I am probably a vintage 10. What I want to know is what size do the tiny, little 5 foot, 90 lb. women wear? There are stores that I can no longer shop in - they simply don't have any clothes small enough for me.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:17 PM
 
Location: all over the place (figuratively)
2,635 posts, read 2,115,158 times
Reputation: 1679
I know that corsets, if worn regularly and tightly, can permanently reduce waist size (assuming weight/body fat doesn't increase). Can girdles do that to a lesser extent? And were more than a few people still wearing corsets in the mid-20th century?

I assume that tiny women often wear teen's or children's clothes. Some very small men wear that (or women's clothing).
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