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Old 05-16-2012, 02:43 PM   #1
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Women used to have such tiny waists!

I was just reading on a news site and saw a picture from the 1950's of gals waiting for a turn in the new photo booth... 4 poses for 25˘.

The '50s was the decade when I was in jr. high and high school. I'd forgotten about the dresses with full skirts and fitted bodices, with little belts at the waist.

I remember my waist was 26 inches, and I was embarrassed because so many of the other girls had 24-inch waists.

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Old 05-16-2012, 03:32 PM   #2
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wow!

does that take into account that the "waist" was in a different place? (like now, most garments have a much lower "waist" than then?)

I also wonder how much undergarments factored in to it. What do you think? I don't see many folk wearing longline bras nowadays!

I'm very curious to know how much is different fashion vs. we're simply bigger, you know?
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:33 PM   #3
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We certainly are taller and bigger now, aren't we? I went to the Titanic Exhibit last week and was shocked at the size of things. What little people they were in the early 1900's. Chairs were smaller, beds were shorter. The clothes were so tiny. The gloves for their hands looked like they were child sized.

My mom was so proud of her 21 inch waist. It's fun to look at this, isn't it?
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:40 PM   #4
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My wedding dress was a size 2 (1987) and even then the tailor at the shop had to take it in, I had a 25 inch waist....*heavy sigh* I can barely get 1 leg in that dress now! Women in the 50's had tiny tiny waists!!
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by circusgirl View Post
wow!

does that take into account that the "waist" was in a different place? (like now, most garments have a much lower "waist" than then?)

I also wonder how much undergarments factored in to it. What do you think? I don't see many folk wearing longline bras nowadays!

I'm very curious to know how much is different fashion vs. we're simply bigger, you know?
My waist has always been in the same place. And whenever I've taken my measurements, then or now, it's always at my waistline, the narrowest segment of my torso.

As to undergarments, we always just wore bras and panties. And sexy little garter belts to hold up long silken stockings. There were girdles, but hardly any of we younger women wore them. Those were mostly just worn by our mothers. And for a lot of women, it was far more to control *butt jiggle* and camouflage any hint of there being *form* to a woman's behind, than it was to squeeze our hind ends into a smaller size. Hips were usually only 34 or 36 inches anyway. (Mine were only 33 inches, so you can see how upset I was with that gigantic 26-inch waist!)

A long-line bra was only worn by an overweight woman, and there were so few then. That was offered in the stores and pictured in the ads, but it wasn't worn by very many women.
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:57 PM   #6
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well yes, lol. our waists haven't moved....but the fashion industry has moved them for sure!

I know we are bigger now in general, I always just question if some of it is a bit of an illusion. Sounds like the answer is no for you!

vanity sizing is so confusing too. I recall being a size 4 and not being able to fit into my mother's size 12 bell bottoms.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:09 PM   #7
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Here's how it works in my family by generation:

My great-grandmother was 4'10".
My grandmother was 5'2".
My mom was 5'6".
I'm 5'10".
See the pattern?
Keira will probably be 6'2"--she's in 1st grade and already looks like she's in 3rd or 4th!

Our waists have gotten proportionately larger generation to generation (excluding periods of obesity). I don't think my waist was ever under 30", even when I was a very, very underweight 106 pounds (1990-1991). And there were bones sticking out all over the place!
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
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well yes, lol. our waists haven't moved....but the fashion industry has moved them for sure!

I know we are bigger now in general, I always just question if some of it is a bit of an illusion. Sounds like the answer is no for you!

vanity sizing is so confusing too. I recall being a size 4 and not being able to fit into my mother's size 12 bell bottoms.
Having been born in 1943, so early childhood in the 40's, school years during the 1950's with HS graduation in 1961, college years in the 60's (Woo Hoo), etc... I can assure you that there is absolutely no illusion about the size increase! There is truly no comparison between the size of the general population of women then and now. It's absolutely not in any way an illusion created by the look of fashion or trick photography, etc. It's a truth.

Yeah.. sizes of clothing mean absolutely nothing when you are comparing the sizes we used to be and the sizes we are now. Those sizes can be called anything, and it's only relevant when compared to other clothing sizes of the same season of fashion. Even comparing *the numbers/sizes* from season to season and decade to decade can confuse.

But, boy! That actual tape measure tells the true story. An inch is still an inch. They haven't *vanity sized* that.

I found this bit on the WebMD site about the difference in body size of women then and now:

"..........Today, the average American woman is 5’4″, has a waist size of 34-35 inches and weighs between 140-150 lbs. Fifty years ago, (in the early 1960's) the average woman was 5’3-4″ with a waist size of approximately 24-25″, she weighed about 120 lbs.........."

So we average only maybe an inch taller these days, but average 20 to 30 pounds more in weight, and it looks like most of that is right around our middles! To the tune of 10 inches more in circumference! LOL
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by KeirasMom View Post
Here's how it works in my family by generation:

My great-grandmother was 4'10".
My grandmother was 5'2".
My mom was 5'6".
I'm 5'10".
See the pattern?
Keira will probably be 6'2"--she's in 1st grade and already looks like she's in 3rd or 4th!

Our waists have gotten proportionately larger generation to generation (excluding periods of obesity). I don't think my waist was ever under 30", even when I was a very, very underweight 106 pounds (1990-1991). And there were bones sticking out all over the place!
Grandchildren tower over me. Even a granddaughter who is 6 feet tall. Looks like a model!
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:14 PM   #10
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Even just 20 years ago our waists were smaller. My mom has portable wardrobes full of clothes in every size from that long ago. And the waists are def. smaller. Even her size 12's from them are snug on my waist (or at leas they were). They were huge everywhere else. So proportionally, the waist is def smaller on those pants. And my waist is proportionally bigger now compared to the rest of me.

I wonder if our waists were smaller in part because we wore clothing AT our waistline that helped snug it in. Sort of a corset effect. Or if there is another reason. I'm sure the amount of sugar/refined carbs we eat has a lot to do with it.

Even thin girls these days seem to have a muffin top/love handles.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:14 PM   #11
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wow, that IS a big change!
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by mykidsteacher View Post
Even just 20 years ago our waists were smaller. My mom has portable wardrobes full of clothes in every size from that long ago. And the waists are def. smaller. Even her size 12's from them are snug on my waist (or at leas they were). They were huge everywhere else. So proportionally, the waist is def smaller on those pants. And my waist is proportionally bigger now compared to the rest of me.

I wonder if our waists were smaller in part because we wore clothing AT our waistline that helped snug it in. Sort of a corset effect. Or if there is another reason. I'm sure the amount of sugar/refined carbs we eat has a lot to do with it.

Even thin girls these days seem to have a muffin top/love handles.

yes, that's partly what I was saying. but apparently not!
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:16 PM   #13
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Holy cow Pat! 10" bigger on average around the middle?! That's incredible.

I doubt the corset effect would account for that.

I was barely 105 lbs all through high school, and had about a 24" waist. Now, I'd just be happy if I could get it under 30".

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Old 05-16-2012, 04:20 PM   #14
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I think the change is due to hormones in the food and GM (genetically modified) foods.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:31 PM   #15
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Even just 20 years ago our waists were smaller. My mom has portable wardrobes full of clothes in every size from that long ago. And the waists are def. smaller. Even her size 12's from them are snug on my waist (or at leas they were). They were huge everywhere else. So proportionally, the waist is def smaller on those pants. And my waist is proportionally bigger now compared to the rest of me.

I wonder if our waists were smaller in part because we wore clothing AT our waistline that helped snug it in. Sort of a corset effect. Or if there is another reason. I'm sure the amount of sugar/refined carbs we eat has a lot to do with it.

Even thin girls these days seem to have a muffin top/love handles.
I really don't think so. There was the era of *the shift* dress.. straight up and down with no waist, and the empire dress, where the fullness was gathered in right beneath the bosom and then flowed down, again with no waistline. Even the muu-muu style dress when we were hippy women had no waistline. But beneath even these styles, the woman was slim and had a tiny waist. She could fit right back into those fashions that emphasized the tiny waist when those style showed up again.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:34 PM   #16
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Even thin girls these days seem to have a muffin top/love handles.
This is so true. I sat in my booth at a craft show last Saturday and watched the young girls and noticed they were not overweight and looked slender except they had a roll around the middle since they are really into skin tight tops in my area apparantly which shows every bulge.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:10 PM   #17
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This has been really interesting. Thanks for the post, Pat, and for all who've given their input to this thread. Very interesting!

My Mom is only 5'3" and had the tiniest waist when she got married - I've seen her wedding dress and the only time I could fit into it was when I was a child, lol.

In my early to mid-20s I bought a 1950s dress off eBay because I was into vintage stuff at the time. A friend warned me the sizes were smaller back then and it might not fit. When it came, I put it on and it fit, but it definitely had a small waist and there wasn't much "give" in the material like there tends to be now.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:26 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by KeirasMom View Post
My great-grandmother was 4'10".
My grandmother was 5'2".
My mom was 5'6".
I'm 5'10".
Oh how I wish this were true for my genes!!!

My great-grandma was 5'8
my grandma is 5'9
My mom is 5'9
me I am 5'1.5" (I claim the 5'2" though lol!!)
my daughter is 5'6"

dont know where I came from lol!
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:59 PM   #19
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I think the change is due to hormones in the food and GM (genetically modified) foods.
I so TOTALLY agree. And how about our modified wheat? Have any of you read "Wheat Belly"? Reading it now. The "wheat" we're eating now has been unbelievably modified. Greatly contributing to Americans being so FAT nowadays and so SICK.
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:19 PM   #20
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I was such a tiny thing when I was younger! I was proud of it back then. Now not so much!! I see pictures now and realize....I really was anorexic!!!

I was able to wear a KIDS 16 when I graduated high school. My waist was a tiny tiny 20 inches........gone are those days!!!!! Right now my thigh is 2 inches bigger than my waist was......eeekkkk!!!! I only remember this because trying to borrow a prom dress was horrible!!! I did finally find one that I could borrow and take in though!!!! My gram measured and took it in, and omg was I yelled at when my mom realized how tiny I got myself!!
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:29 PM   #21
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I was between 96-98 lbs with a 26 inch waist all through high school (at 5'1.5" with shoes on, no one ever thought I was "too thin" then and I thought my waist was proportionately large). I started gaining weight after my first semester in college and at my highest weight, my waist was somewhere close to 40 inches. Right now with my high bounces around 107 lbs, my waist is still 32 inches....... It's gone down for sure but I'd really like to get down under 30 inches as well especially since I've always had no hips or chest no matter what weight I was at.

As a drastic difference, my mom snapped back to her 24 inch waist AFTER she had two kids and didn't start to gain in her midsection until her 50s.

This is an interesting topic!
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:32 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Katiebubb View Post
Oh how I wish this were true for my genes!!!

My great-grandma was 5'8
my grandma is 5'9
My mom is 5'9
me I am 5'1.5" (I claim the 5'2" though lol!!)
my daughter is 5'6"

dont know where I came from lol!
Milk man?
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:38 PM   #23
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Milk man?
We used to say *the Mailman*.....
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:42 PM   #24
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Milk man?
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoHappy View Post
We used to say *the Mailman*.....
Hahahahahahah!! My dad always said it was the UPS guy making a special delivery!! I know he would tease me when one would show up at the house. He would always yell "Tanya your dad's here to see you!". Gosh he was so mean, but funny!!!!
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:34 PM   #25
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I had a 21 inch waist in high school and still have a small waist, 28 inches. I think it's just how we are built. My hips have always been larger, even when I was much thinner and because of this my waist looked even smaller (as it does now in my profile pic) because of my larger hips.
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:34 AM   #26
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I am 5 foot 10 and a half and I had a 25 inch waist when I was in my teens and early 20's. This was in the 1970's. Back then UK size 12 jeans were marginal on me. Today I got into my size 12 jeans and my waist is 34 inches.

Nearly all my weight is around my midriff and I hate it. The best I can aim for now is 29-28 inch waist, even at what is termed underweight at 136 pounds.

I am very interested in that Wheat Belly book - I'll order it.

Maybe it is to do with visceral fat - stored around the middle but not under the skin so it's less obvious. All the same it will fill you out - especially round the tummy.

I read on the HCG forums about the idea that it targets this visceral fat first and leaves a flattering layer of fat under the skin. Sounds like what we need.

Visceral fat is the most unhealthy and leads to diabetes.

If we could get the benefits of low carb by just cutting wheat that would be a good compromise. Interesting.
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Old 05-17-2012, 05:41 AM   #27
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This post has made me realize that the changes in clothing sizes might just not be vanity sizing all over. Proportions may have changed, too, and that has been to my advantage.

I am a pear shape, and growing up, particularly in high school, I had trouble finding jeans/pants that weren't too big in the waist while being too snug in the hips and thighs. I always had that infernal "gap" at the back of the waist. My waist was 26.5", and my hips were about 38". I wore size 12 pants!

Fast forward to now. With my weight about the same as in H.S., my waist has actually shrunk to that same 26.5. I have extra blubber in my belly now. I guess it moved up from my hips, lol. My jeans are all size 4's and 6's.

Everything fits better now! I don't have so much trouble finding pants that fit, and I wonder if it's because the waists are not quite as much bigger than the hips and thighs as they used to be. Hmmm.... I'll take it!
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Old 05-17-2012, 05:49 AM   #28
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We used to say *the Mailman*.....
We say my sister's red headed daughter was a "delivery" from the UPS man!!
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Old 05-17-2012, 05:56 AM   #29
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All this chatter is very very interesting but sad when i think about my THIGHS are bigger then and now then all of you gals waists~
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:49 AM   #30
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My senior year of high school, in 1991, I weighed 135 lbs at 5'6". I swam about 1 mile per day. I measured 36" - 24" - 36". I had no clue just how good I looked or any idea that once I stopped swimming I would gain weight. I just never thought about it.

Fast forward to today...21 years, 30 lbs, and 2 kids later....I measure 37" - 34" - 40. My THIGH measures 25"!! It is primarily because I am overweight and out of shape, and have been for a long time.

Feet are getting bigger. My grandmother wore a size 4 1/2 narrow shoe...my mother is a size 7....I am a 9 1/2 and my 13 year old step daughter is already a 10!
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