Here is a revelation for you to chew on – Marilyn Monroe would have been a size 8 as per the measurement standards of today not a Size 14! This is because during her time, that is in 1960s, the sizes where defined differently. If you take a size 14 of today, that would probably come to size 20 in those days.
But there is no reason to get confused; they are just numbers!
If you are out trawling the market for vintage dresses or looking for something of the rack at a readymade shop, the bottom line is that it should fit well. Getting stuck on the number is not what matters. All you need to check is that you feel and look good in what you have bought not the size. Nobody who sees you in the outfit is going to ask you about the size and if they do that, you may want to punch them.
Do understand what sizing is all about: Well, many have tried and failed, but the fact is by a rough rule you can take vintage size to be at least 4 times smaller than the way today’s sizing works. The older the dress the more you have to reduce the size. In case you take a size 10 and you come across a lovely outfit from the past (60s)that is sized at 16, then it could fit. Don’t be put off by the number. But if you come across an outfit that is from the 70s in size 12 or 14 it could fit.
Learn about Vanity Sizing: The way size has been defined has changed in the past 20 years or so. Now size is defined to cater to the ever expanding sizes of the public and their vanity. That is why what is size 10 today used to be a bigger size earlier on. But the fact is that not all manufacturers use vanity sizing and that is why in some brands you will see that the normal size you are used to fits you but in others it doesn’t. Plus the sizes given in catalogues also differ, further confusing the issue. Plus you also have to remember that shapes also matter alongside the size. Which means the bottom heavy may find some outfits difficult to fit in as with the case of the top heavy. This means you can get skirts and tops separately to fit you well, but this can be an issue if you like dresses.
Ready-to-wear versus the pattern size: The fact is the size of patterns has remained the same since the 1950s. Which means that having a six size difference applies to this too. That is if you are buying ready to wear outfit of 14 then your pattern size will come to 20. Plus the thing to remember is that pattern sizes take into account only B Cup sizes. Okay, the thing is you can find pattern size on the modern lines which can make things easier. But do check out the chart to ensure that you are getting the right sized patterns for you before cutting up the cloth. Now pattern companies are also considering these factors including the cup size. So you need to make adjustments and tweaks depending on the type of patterns that you are going for.
Getting the fit just perfect: The fact is most women will not be right fit for any size no matter what the number. Our bodies tend to have their own shape that may not fall into the sizing categories decided upon by the clothing manufacturers. Then the option is to have a tailor stitch your clothes to order. But this option is costly and not all of us can afford this option.
Then the other option is to sew your clothes yourself if you know how to. You can get cheaper patterns and fabrics at good prices and buy buttons, hooks, zippers etc in bulk. But you have to factor in the time and effort you put into this. Plus the capital cost of buying a good sewing machine and all the threads you will require. But consider this, not all of us are good at sewing or for that matter have the time, patience and inclination to do this.
The third and last option is that you find a good shop that will do the alterations for you. Make it a point to buy good quality clothes and then get them altered at this shop. What you then need to do while buying your clothes is to buy clothes that fit the bigger portions of you well and alter the other bits to fit. This way you will have smart, durable clothes that fit well.