Monday, December 8, 2008

Vintage clothes and vanity sizing, an update

A few weeks ago I mentioned having some vintage (circa late 1950s, early 1960s) dresses that I've been considering selling through Etsy. They're all labeled with what I'd consider fairly large sizes (14, 15, 16) so the question was what's the modern equivalent.

The Younger Daughter suggested I bring them to Texas at Thanksgiving. She'd try them on, and we'd be able to extrapolate from her size to the dresses' sizes. So I did -- brought half a dozen dresses, and to say a size 16 from from 1960 is not a size 16 in 2008 is an understatement.

Both of these dresses are labeled as 16s. Tammi wears about an 8. The top dress, the pink polka dots, fit fine, although she did have a little trouble figuring out the mysteries of a side placket zipper (she'd never seen one before). (The dress has never been worn -- still has the tags from Gimbels department store -- but I have no idea why.)

This beautiful blue linen dress, on the other hand, although labeled as a 16, is more like a 6. Tammi was able to get into it, but it was obviously small -- among other clues, it flattened her chest into oblivion. Which was a shame, because we agreed it's a gorgeous dress. Fine quality workmanship, wonderful detailing (triple darts on the bodice), and a style that a person could actually wear into work today, if, of course, a person had an office job. Although it looks like a straight skirt, there's actually a deep pleat in the back that provides enough material to make it possible to sit comfortably.


  1. What beautiful, classic dresses. The sizing thing is a confusing mess, but those dresses are fantastic!

  2. I have a hell of a time buying shoes, what is with the sizing of them these days?

    I love old homes, the sort of Victorian type. But I don't want one now, don't want something that as much as owns me.

    I'm good with my little cave here. Oh, I like any dress that is sexy and turns me on, that is what it is all about anyway.

    Otherwise you may as well just wear coveralls all the time.

  3. Hmmm...male viewpoint butting in.

    #1, no question, we have it easier. S,M,L,XL.... 34, 36, 38... no big deal. Either the pants fit or they don't. Either the cuffs are too long or too short. Whatever. And then there's all the infrastructure issues which we don't have to worry about.

    #2. The first dress, with the pink polka dots, is no big loss- way too June Cleaver. The other one, though... that's too bad. That one could look really nice- hell, it looks elegant on the hanger, for Pete's sake. (I've always been a sucker for a girl in a blue dress.)

    #3. I remember Gimbels. Guess I'm old.

  4. I always loved those dresses..and that one is should have no problem selling it on ebay or where ever...they are classics

  5. This verifies something I thought. My daughter, size 6-8 tried on the dress I wore to my senior prom in 1972. It is sized a 12. She could not close it. I didn'think I was any larger then than my daughter, and it seems I was right!

  6. they're lovely dresses and sizes have changed a great deal over the years. The best thing to do when selling them is give an accurate bust and length measurement on the description.


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