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Monday, 20 January 2014

What do YOU find beautiful? Clothing sizes demystified.

Hello, hello!

This past weekend we started a little discussion in our family circle. The subject: female beauty. It all started with us watching a vintage 1960's show on TV (on a Sunday, they play amusing shows from their archive - and I think it wonderful). In the show, we saw:

Our own vintage curvaceous bombshell

Yugoslavian actress and singing sensation Olivera Vučo took Paris by storm in the late ‘60s with a series of 72 sell-out shows at the Olympia. 
Legendary figures such as Salvador Dali and Gilbert Becaud vied to pay homage, record companies fought for her signature, and no doubt poets were moved to write passionate verses for her. And with Olivera’s striking looks and compellingly sultry voice it’s easy to understand why she inspired such devotion.

I did mentioned this before, when I wrote about NOT losing weight and when I presented you an article on Hollywood looks. I also touched the subject of weight on various different occasions.. all in my desperate try to understand why do women no longer look like women.
Oh, come on - fitting into anything under size 34, that's US size 6, is no longer fitting into "women" category (unless you are truly petite in height; and if you are - it's who you are, and it's perfectly fine). I'll clarify: I opened up a Burda sewing magazine and took a look at it. Woman's sizes start at 34 nowadays.

Size 34 is: 
Bust - 80 cm (31,5 inches)
Waist - 62 cm (24,5 inches)
and Hips - 86 cm (33 and 3/4 inches)

But back in the day, even 34 was not there. Take a look:

That's right - back in July of 1960, sizes began at 38!

By taking a closer look at the table given above, and match it with the modern chart we can see the dreadful truth: the sizes have changed. 
Oh, and boy... have they changed in time. 
It is pointless to even try to gasp the idea of maybe understanding them - simply because they are not meant to be understood. They are just numbers that help shop-girls sort out the skirts on the rack.
There was even a period when my darling Burda magazine had size 38 and size 40 combined as one strange mixture. They called it "38/40" and I doubt any woman managed to fit it.
Fashion changed, but so did it's sizes.
Nowadays, we all know it's a thing of vanity. There is no other way of explaining why would there be such an unnatural thing as "size zero" (honestly, ZERO is not a size, it is a digit that helps us calculate). So many girls are obsessed with sizing, but so few of them are aware that those numbers morphed in time; they even differ from one manufacturer to another.

It's not about sizes, dear...'s all in your measuring-tape!

For us, vintage-loving folks, it can be mind-boggling game
Unless you are fortunate to have a patter that came with a size chart - I'm afraid you're left with only one choice: comparing your pattern with one of your modern ones. Place a skirt part of your vintage one on a skirt part of your "regular" or "modern" pattern and compare. Mark where the changes have to be made (in my case, it is still the waist area that needs fixing - I am more masculine, thus my figure is not as hourglass-shaped as I'd like it to be, but well..)

I did manage to find a helping tool:

Complete measuring guide from 1929.
(It's extra large, open it in another tab, print it - it'll come handy)

If you are in a vintage-clothing hunt, I advise you to write down your measurements (properly taken by using the guide above.. or just take a look on YouTube, there's a lot of videos that show how to take your measurements). Also, don't leave home without measuring tape.
Last thing on your mind should be a chart with some number scribbled on it. I like calling it a "masochist's game chart" - and I dislike the fact that anyone should be the Authority on what we should be "tagged" as. If someone ask you "What size are you", what do you answer? My answer usually involves a part where I say this (with the smile, of course) "..because I have more curves than the ironing board"
We use ironing boards to tidy our clothes, to make the pleats, to flatten things. We use them, we are NOT them.. so why tormenting your lovely minds of sizes that are located in the table named "girl's size chart". You do know what you looked like while you were a girl? (I remember waiting for a certain parts of my body to.. ehmm.. grow larger, so that I can say that I'm a woman!) :)

If we're being honest, according to the inquiry, the happiest and most content ladies, when it comes to looks, are those that are labeled as sizes 42 and 44.
To me, the prettiest girls are those that smile a lot.
Have a splendid day!
♥♥ Pinky Honey


  1. Excellent post and points, very much including your final line. I agree that the prettiest people are usually those who are happy and content, whose inner beauty shines through on their face and though the way they live their life. I stopped giving a toss about clothing sizes years ago. I'd much rather something fit me well than it be one size vs another. I've never been stick thin and I know I never will be. It's just not the way the universe saw fit to create my body. Instead of bemoaning the fact that I don't look like a supermodel, Hollywood startlet or other so-called "ideal" woman, I embrace my curves, do my best to camouflage those parts of my body that I'm not a big fan or, and delight in the fact that most pre-1960s vintage fits my hourglass shape so gosh darn well compared to modern clothes.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment, dear Jessica.
      It has been a long time since I've realized that fitting a certain size does not fit my lifestyle. Moreover, I'm focusing on achieving an hourglass-figure (more or less - since, I'm a bit more on the athletic side).
      I stopped shopping for skirts couple of years ago. I tried, and tried.. and once I saw that my "does not fit me" pile started resembling the Alps, I decided to call it quits.
      I don't feel embarrass that no skirts fitted me (alas - they were made with the idea that a woman has no difference between hips and waist). I also feel no shame when wearing something I sewn myself for myself.
      As long as we feel happy.


  2. I have no idea what size I am {in modern standards} I think I'm in between right now. I am losing weight because I do 1} want to be healthier because of family history and 2} I want to acquire more vintage clothing without having to pay the plus size prices. {They know that we want it all the more so they hike up the prices!}

    Anyway, I do love my curves at a 40" - 32" - 46" size I enjoy having enough womanly features to fill out a dress or a pair of slacks.

    1. ..nor you should care for the numbers.
      I do get why you are on the weight loss journey. I went on mine some time ago; reasons were pretty much the same. Number one is that I felt that some parts of my body could no longer follow the swiftness of my mind. Second reason was clothing-wise - I realized I could not fit some of my beloved skirts.

      Many hugs