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number sizing

You’re out on a Saturday afternoon looking for that perfect dress for what you hope is that perfect dinner date coming up. Something lady like and vintage would do the trick. You’ve been working out, eating all those salads and drinking only water (boring)… you feel pretty darn terrific as a matter of fact. Dropping into your favorite shop (HLV hopefully!), you spy the prettiest green dress with a bit of tulle peeking out at the hem. It’s PERFECTION. The label says size 10… again perfect. You grab it and hurriedly run to the dressing room to try it on. You’re even thinking about the stilettos you have that’ll look great with it.

But…but…it doesn’t zip up. What?!


It’s a fact… sizing has changed over the decades. The reason is a combination of issues.

-Women wore very uncomfortable corsets and girdles that really altered their bodies. Not good and, luckily, that stopped in the 1970s.

-Something called Vanity Sizing. Manufacturers started to alter the size of items in the 1980s so their customers would feel good about themselves and thus buy more…. pure smoke and mirrors.

-People are just bigger…working out, better nutrition plus, on the flip-side, the increase in fast food restaurants all contribute.

So when buying Vintage it’s best to just ignore any size label you see. Hold up the dress and if you think it’s a possibility, try it on. Another thing that’s important is to try a few things on. If a customer is trying one dress on, HLV recommends grabbing a few more. This isn’t meant as a sales tactic but rather a way to get a good selection of varied sizes in the dressing room since you don’t want to get put off by just one item not fitting. Expand your odds. After all, if you’re taking your clothes off it might as well be worth it.
(Oh, please, we just mean a good shopping trip!)

There are theories about adding 6 dress sizes to your modern size to get to the right Vintage size….or add 4 sizes up to a certain number then you need to multiple the sine coefficient of Pi then divide by the number of Jupiter’s moons times E=mc2 to end up with your Vintage size… but, in HLV’s opinion, who has the time? ;^) And if you’re looking for something from the 1930s (MUCH smaller sizing then today), it’s a different equation then looking at something from the 1960s (smaller then today but not compared to the 30’s)… so all of that is gobbledegook and takes away from the fun of shopping.

HLV organizes clothes by color and not size. That’s on purpose since sizing for Vintage items is so confusing… again, look through everything and pick out what you think is possible. HLV is pretty good at picking out dresses for any customer that asks for help.

So keep in mind that you need to take some time and try on a few things… be honest with yourself when looking at a dress on a hanger… if there is any chance of it fitting, give it a go. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s shopping and it needs to be fun. And don’t be hard on yourself if something doesn’t fit. It wasn’t meant to be and that next dress will probably fit.

After all, Marilyn Monroe was a size 14…a size 14 in the 1960s…which translates to a current size 6 (or smaller depending on the designer.)

It’s just a number. Who cares if it’s a single or double digit number. Only you’ll know anyway!