Vintage Violet

March 3, 2008

What is your vintage size?

Filed under: Discussion — by Bobbi Lee Hitchon @ 11:22 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

The best feeling when vintage shopping is finding an item in my size. Since vintage items are usually one of a kind they’re either hit or miss when it comes to fitting. But as an avid shopper, vintage or new, the worst feeling has to be finding my size and then finding that size does not fit.

Not only do you have to pass on a great item, but you leave feeling you’ve packed on a few pounds…even if you really have not.

The good news is you probably haven’t gained weight. The bad news is…our generation overall has.

Yes, the myth about Marilyn Monroe being a size 12 is true, but what was left out from that truth is Monroe was also 5 ft 5 in and 118lbs. By today’s sizing standards, how could she possibly be a size 12?

Just Say When tackles the issue and concludes when buying vintage, one should look for clothes 4-6 sizes larger than he or she would when shopping for new clothing.

I’ve searched endless to find when this “understood” clothing shift occurred, why, and if it effected all designers and all countries. Thus far, I have failed to find the answers.

Ben Whitford wrote “Clothing stores shrink sizes to lure vain shopper” for Columbia News Service April 19, 2005. He reports GAP changed their clothing sizes so if a woman was a size 10 in Calvin Klein jeans, she would be a size 6 in GAP jeans. Whitford reported several reasons as to why vanity and increasing body image issues among women is the reason for new sizing.

Anyone would feel better fitting into a smaller size. Even Jerry Seinfeld scratched the size 32 on the back of his jeans and wrote 31. Regardless, I really just prefer to find a size that fits. This is extremely hard when ordering vintage over the internet. Most of the time sellers provide measurements, which is a big help, but often internet vintage buying is based on a wild guess.

If anyone knows any more about the size changes from 1920-present, please share.



  1. wow, this was very helpful. I never knew that since the era of Marilyn Monroe that they started making our dress sizes bigger. Hmm, who would have thought? Good post.

    Comment by portia — March 5, 2008 @ 2:20 pm |Reply

  2. Vintage swank has a good size conversion chart.

    Comment by lapersephone — June 4, 2008 @ 10:31 am |Reply

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