I get a lot of questions about sizing, so I’m hoping this sizing guide will be a helpful reference for those buying vintage clothing. Vintage sizing for women’s clothing (from 1930-1960) is vastly different than by today’s standards. What is considered a 1950’s size 20, for example, is close to a modern size 14. And in reverse, a 28″ waist by today’s standard falls into a size 6, but by vintage standards is a size 12.
Did you know that while today’s ladies sizing scale starts at 0 or 2, in the 1930s-1950s the sizes started at 8, 10 or 12? This is why there is the misconception that women during that time period were larger than the standard woman today. In fact, the average woman today is actually taller and wider.
The only true way to know if a vintage garment will fit you is to know your measurements. I’ve created two visuals below to show how to measure yourself and how to measure a child. (Let’s thank these paper dolls I had laying around for their mad modeling skills. Bravo ladies.)
When I measure garments for Thrifty Vintage Kitten I place the garments on a wood floor and take the measurements laying flat. I find this to be the most accurate way to get the measurements. Bust, hip, and waist measurements are taken flat and then doubled. I make sure to list all measurements in each garment’s listing, so there shouldn’t be any mystery on whether an item will fit you or your child.
I hope you’ve found this guide helpful! Let me know what you think. Any tricks you’ve learned that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you!