We’ve been vaguely aware of it for years: dress sizes are getting ever more generous. Your brain is pretty sure you’re a size 10, but then you’re shopping and lo and behold a “size 6″ suddenly fits you. Flattered, your brain now finds this “smaller” item of clothing much more appealing.
The clothing industry is well aware of this and, as a result, dress sizes have been creeping up ever larger for years. I recently came across the wikipedia article for dress size and found it fascinating. These charts were standardized in the 1940s and 1950s before the US had a serious weight problem. Back then the percentage of overweight Americans was about 10 to 12%; now it’s over two-thirds!
Today’s average American woman is a size 14, about 5’3″, 165 pounds, and has a 40″ bust, 31″ waist and 41.5″ hips. That equates to a size 18 back in the ’40s. Yikes!
To give you another point of view, Marilyn Monroe’s measurements, according to her dressmaker, were 37-23-36, which would be roughly a size 8 for today’s sizing charts. She’d be too “fat” for Hollywood now.
How do you feel about dress sizes today? Are we doing ourselves any favors by allowing the numbers to creep lower and lower? And how soon until a -2 appears on the racks?