When baby boomers were first getting married, many a bride strove to fit into the perfect size 10 wedding dress. In today’s world, the tag on a similar-sized wedding dress will be a size 2, 1, or even 0, depending on the manufacturer you choose.
We are getting larger and more obese nationwide, baby boomers included, and to make our ballooning population feel better about themselves (thus encouraging sales), somewhere around 1980, American clothing manufacturers took to downsizing women’s dresses. Prior to that, both American and European clothing manufacturers followed similar standards that were established in the 1940s. It’s hard enough to know what size we are (or strive to be) when the rules keep changing.
The “perfect size 10” of the 1950s and 60s was something altogether different from the image we have of a size 10 today, which is considered by some, less than ideal and certainly not “perfect,” and compares more closely to size 14 or 16 of previous decades.
If you need validation, take a look at any dress pattern from the 1950s. (You can find them on the Internet.) The dress size with bust and sometimes waist size is generally listed on the front. A size 12 dress will list the bust as 31-32″ and the waist as 24″. Look at a modern clothing pattern and you’ll see that the same “bust/waist” measurements will say size 4/6. Confused yet?
“Vanity sizing,” as it is called, has become the norm. Case in point: Size zero? Now come on. What’s next, minus 1? Minus 2?