Gransnet forums

Style & beauty

Are clothes manufacturers to blame for the rise in obesity?

(123 Posts)
paddyann Fri 23-Aug-19 11:04:49

Marilyn Munroe was a size 14 .I expect we've all seen that written somewhere ,usually to bolster a "curvy" womans self esteem.I have no problem with bolstering self esteem in any one,but maybe it should be pointed out when its said.that sizing was very different in the 50's.

I've always believed I was overweight .Mainly because my mother used to tell me I was.Yesterday my husband came across a box of clothes in the attic from the 60's and 70's .Many were a 10 and 12 ,the size 12 "Shubette" dress has a 22 inch waist .A size 12 nowadays has a 30 inch and sometimes larger .I'm wearing a size 10 today with a 27 inch waist .Has the change in size come with an increase in womens size or has it led it?Do women believe that as long as the frock has a small size number on it they are thin?

Sparklefizz Fri 23-Aug-19 11:25:48

Are clothes manufacturers to blame for the rise in obesity?

....only if they are force-feeding customers. grin

Septimia Fri 23-Aug-19 11:31:21

I think the sizing system has changed but maybe not entirely. You're right about the waist sizes and I think women are now a different shape from the 1950s. The 'hour-glass' figure must have gone out of fashion in the 60s, with Twiggy etc and never come back.

Young women today seem to be much plumper around the middle than used to be desirable. Even slim women seem to have a pronounced tummy. It's a look that would have got glances asking 'is she pregnant?' when I was young!

But I do agree that there's something psychologically encouraging about a small dress size! Would that I could get into 10 (I did once, when I was 18), I was always a 12 and nowadays often buy a 14 for comfort.

fizzers Fri 23-Aug-19 12:33:19

I think women today are much taller, bigger, better nourished than back in the fifties so therefore need clothes that fit.

mosaicwarts Fri 23-Aug-19 12:43:49

My Mum was born in 1932, and when I look through the albums it is really apparent when rationing ended. She wore tight waisted slimline dresses and had a flat tum in the early 50's photos - by 1955 she had definitely put on weight and her clothing changed to skirts and tops. I attribute it to the end of sugar rationing and enjoying a better diet as more foods became available. Sadly she continued to put on weight until she was unhealthily overweight.

Maggiemaybe Fri 23-Aug-19 12:49:11

Perhaps some people actually do believe they’re still the size they were many years ago, but I doubt many are fooled. When I got married I was 8 stone and size 10. Now that I’m two stone heavier, I’m still size 10 and can even fit into an 8 on occasions (when I’m offered DD2’s cast offs).

The younger ones probably don’t know about sizing changes anyway, but I take your point about the much-quoted dress size of Marilyn Monroe.

Hetty58 Fri 23-Aug-19 12:52:58

I think people tended to be slim in their youth back then. Everyday life was far more active, most people walked a lot and housework was hard graft too.

I was a size 10 teenager and young adult, a 12 after two kids and a 12/14 after four. My waist was no more. Yes, I'd kid myself by favouring M&S and Dorothy Perkins, where I knew the sizes were more generous - so I could be a 12!

HildaW Fri 23-Aug-19 13:05:19

……..well its an emotive point of view but having been a 'chubby' teenager who found buying trousers a bit of a problem back in the 60s (when every one of my friends were so skinny) I realised that I would need to be a bit careful as I was in danger of running out of choices. I began to be a little more sensible as I got older and then after some back problems really had to make sure my input matched my output. At the odd time (after babies and after a few family problems) the weight crept on (comfort eating) but I would be brought back to earth by the realisation that fewer of my clothes fitted or actually looked good half way decent. So I must admit that I came to the conclusion that if clothing just got bigger and bigger and we did nothing to reign our appetites in then ….yes, perhaps the trend of just making stuff bigger might be adding to the normalization of being really hefty.
I am not talking about being a size 18 when healthily you should be nearer a 14.....I'm talking of being probably size 24 when you are barely 30 and only 5ft 6. Yes its a judgemental thought but having just seen a very pretty girl this morning who fitted that description my heart sank a little and I just found myself thinking.....can you not just get a bit of advise, take some exercise and try to get a bit fitter....because in 20 years time you will be in a lot of trouble?
I know I will never be a slender creature, but according to the Dr's figures I am in the ok ratio for long term health and perhaps a few kilos less would be ideal but I have no problem with any shop's size 14. That being said....when making up a reproduction 1950's dress pattern a couple of years ago I had to use the size 18 pattern!!!!

Lessismore Fri 23-Aug-19 14:17:41

Do you mean paddy that people ( well women) have got bigger because they have been " allowed " to?

I don't know, I feel so uncomfortable with these weight and women conversations. They are not kind or supportive.

The past was a different country alright. There was the odd greasy spoon for truck drivers and maybe a few seats in a bakers where you get a cup of tea. People didn't eat out or consume cappuccino and pastry. It just wasn't there.
There was less reliance on cars and more manual work.
Simpler times.

Calendargirl Fri 23-Aug-19 14:44:14

More women wore corsets, which hoiked you in. Hence the wasp waists?

paddyann Fri 23-Aug-19 15:04:52

Not "allowed" thats the wrong word but not encouraged to stay a healthy weight the way they were in the past .Given excuses to let them believe being 3 or 4 sizes bigger than is good for them is fine ,like the Marilyn Munroe statement .Her size 14 is very different to a size 14 now but you'll get people who think they look like a sex goddess when thats not the reality and losing weight would make their lives better in many ways not just their appearance .

lemongrove Fri 23-Aug-19 15:50:00

In the past ( including the 60’s in that) women and girls still wore a type of corset (roll ons) that did pull you in around the waist and hips, now we don’t, so sizes are bound to reflect that fact.
So comfy now in just a bra and pants/knickers 😁

Grannybags Fri 23-Aug-19 16:44:35

In the past if you were overweight you would have to buy your clothes in shops such at Evans, which were not very "trendy".

Now all the fashion retailers seem to cater for sizes 24+ so young people can still find fashion clothes in their size.

I think if larger clothes tended to be more old fashioned more people would be encouraged to loose some weight.

Callistemon Fri 23-Aug-19 16:47:22

Even in the 1970s many women were still wearing a 'girdle' and some older women I worked with still had that well-corseted' look.

We still had rationing in the 1950s but an hourglass figure was something to aspire to: 36/24/36 was considered ideal, then along came Twiggy so those of us who were 36/24/36 (actually I was a bit slimmer) were considered plump!

I thought I'd read that Marilyn Monroe was a size 16, and does anyone remember Jayne Mansfield?

sodapop Fri 23-Aug-19 16:54:17

No its because we eat too much and don't exercise enough. Retailers are just cashing in on an existing problem.

lemongrove Fri 23-Aug-19 16:58:36

Yes, I read that Monroe was a size 16 too.

lemongrove Fri 23-Aug-19 16:59:56

However, looking at her in Some Like It Hot ( unless she was pulled in by a mega corset) she looks no more than a 14 at most.

HildaW Fri 23-Aug-19 17:03:03

U.S. sizes are at least one size smaller than ours...….I once had a pair that said '10' when I was very much an M&S 14 back in the 8os!

Daisymae Fri 23-Aug-19 17:04:08

It's a psychological thing, manufacturers know that we will buy more clothes if they are labelled generously. Economics. Back in the 60s nothing would fit if you put in a couple of pounds. Who is going to buy a size 18 in Topshop when size 14 m and s fits? I believe that size 16 is average, which would surely be size 20 back in the day!

paddyann Fri 23-Aug-19 17:13:48

you're probably rightDaisymae and I'm not getting at anyone its just I hadn't realised the huge difference in sizes now from when I was young .As I said my late mother used to tell me I needed to lose weight regularly even when I was a size 8 in 1970 and I ,in passing said to my OH that when I look in the mirror I still see a wee fat woman.
Now I've seen the difference in my size through the old clothes I'll try to lose a bit more weight .I cant see me fitting into the 22 inch waist any time soon though .

Lessismore Fri 23-Aug-19 17:24:52

I think Marilyn used a lot of drugs and was sometimes pregnant, sad to say.

rockgran Fri 23-Aug-19 17:27:59

I remember wearing a girdle with stockings in my teens but after tights came into fashion no one needed the suspenders any more. I'm sure waistlines spread after that. I was very glad not to be squeezed into a roll-on or even a suspender belt.

mosaicwarts Fri 23-Aug-19 18:39:36

My Mum made me wear a girdle when I was about 11, I'd forgotten about that. A horrible waist high white roll on. I remember it had a pale blue rose on it. I had to go into the school toilet to change for gym as everyone else just wore their pants.

Davida1968 Fri 23-Aug-19 18:48:36

I agree with Leesismore. End of.

Davida1968 Fri 23-Aug-19 18:51:09

Lessismore, even! (After a wee glass of Prosecco - OK, more than that!) I can't spell properly.....