If you shop regularly for vintage clothing online, you've certainly seen a caveat that goes something like this, "Vintage clothing sizes run small, please disregard label size, and check stated measurements." Is this just sellers trying to con you into buying what they have in inventory? Or is there some validity to this common practice?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Americans are now are roughly 1 inch taller and 25 pounds heavier than they were in 1960.
However, our sizes have gotten smaller. If you wear an 8, you would have worn a size 12 or 14 in 1940. Those size measurement changes can be clearly seen in clothing patterns over the decades. In fact, some resale stores measure vintage garments - and tag the clothing with the "modern" size, to reduce confusion among potential buyers.
In 2003, a nationwide survey called Project SizeUSA, scanned 6,310 women. Prior to that, the last time any national standard was taken for sizes was in 1941 – when the average woman was an 8. It turns out, though, that in that study, only 87 women were a true size 8!
And based on that 1941 standard, today’s average woman - is a size 16.
For example, this 80's dress has an 11/12 label...
However, the model wears a size 2/4!
So, when you see that cute Vintage 70s Boho Hippie Chic Ethnic Print Sundress 12, and you're a petite size 6 - don't just pass it by. Check the measurements, or ask the seller what the true modern size is.
Happy Vintage Shopping,