Why there are 20 different size 12s but nothing fits

first of all, I have been looking for an excuse to link to Elisa’s Bodacious house of style for a while. I missed my chance during her ‘pose-off’ with Fred, and I keep checking her store waiting for something to demand to be a post, but have had no luck so far. but now she’s scanned the newspaper article above, and so I can post it and credit her. Yay!

Elisa gives the date of the paper she scanned as 1953. another helpful eBayer (the eBay vintage seller boards are really quite nice, I wish I had more time to hang out there) unknownshopper, added a link to this PDF, “Body shape analysis of Hispanic women in the United States”, by Elizabeth Newcomb, which looks very interesting, and includes this information:

Development of Sizing standard “CS 215-58”

The O’Brien and Shelton study of 1941 did not result in a sizing standard until the 1950s. In 1958, the U.S. department of commerce issued a new commercial standard known as CS 215-58 based on the 1939 study. This standard used four classifications of women (Misses, Women’s, Half-Sizes, and Juniors), three height groups (Tall, Regular, and Short), a bust measurement, and three hip types (Slender, Average, and Full) to classify sizes (U.S. department of Commerce, 1958).

The sizes were based on bust measurement, height group, and drop value (difference between hip and bust circumference), and yielded over 20 sizes for use by the apparel industry (Chun-Yoon & Jasper, 1993). However, this standard was only voluntary, meaning that manufacturers did not have to follow it. They could either revise it to fit their needs, use it as it was created, or disregard it entirely. In addition, it was based on the 1939 study by O’Brien and Shelton, and thus suffered from the same inadequacies that the study had. due to these problems, women of the 1950’s and 1960’s attempted to get around a growing size problem by using corsets and girdles to mold their bodies to the shapes of the clothing produced (Agins, 1994).

Development of Sizing standard “PS 42-70”

Despite these problems, the next step in the history of sizing standards did not occur until 1971, when the U.S. department of commerce released a new voluntary standard, known as PS 42-70. This standard was basically a revision of the previous standard CS 215-58, but did include modifications based on a health survey performed by the national center for health statistics in 1962. This survey indicated that U.S. adults were taller and heavier than they were in 1940. Thus, the bust girth was increased by one grade interval per size code for all figures. other changes from CS 215-58 included the elimination of “Slender” and “Full” hip options for all figure types as well as the elimination of the “Tall” option in the Juniors’ and Women’ figure types (U.S. department of Commerce, 1970).

Even with all of these changes to the CS 215-58 standard, the new PS 42-70 standard was still voluntary and based on the 1939 study by O’Brien and Shelton. At this time, still none of the problems with sizing systems had been confronted.

Thanks also to Mary Beth for the pointer to the discussion …

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