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Ideal bodies for the eras

Discussion in 'The Home Front Woman' started by Laraquan, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. Laraquan

    Laraquan Familiar Face

    Hi all. I've recently gotten a bit worried about whether I'll be able to fit into most vintage garbs and vintage reproductions, even if I do lose a bit of weight I'm likely to be around 38, 30, 40 in breasts, waist and hips and I'm not sure just what era could fit my oddly hourglass proportions.

    I know the 1920s is strictly out due to their focus on lithe, straight lines. Jersey dresses - mostly the repro ones I've found - seem to fit a dream and it sure does make some 1960s tailored jackets look just fine. The thing is, my favourite eras is the 1930s but can someone of my figure pull off that look? It seemed to be hourglass but somewhat more slender from what I've seen... Please advise.

    As much as I prefer the 1930s, I can live with 1940s through to some of the more classic 1950s and 1960s styles. I just don't want to be chasing a dream I can't really achieve...

    On the plus side, my hair has plenty of natural waves and with a bit of cream I can often achieve some nice 1930s-style waves without much bother at all!
  2. NoirDame

    NoirDame One of the Regulars

    Just remember there were people of all size and body shapes in each era...

    While it is true that we have gotten larger, there even then were ladies that needed larger sizes. Just go by measurements...or have reproductions made.

    The 50s work exceptionally well for hourglass figures.

    Don't give up hope! I'm trying to lose weight, too, but I just had a repro of a 40s dress made.
  3. Laraquan

    Laraquan Familiar Face

    That's another problem - a desire to lose 12 kilograms and a desire to buy new clothes. Gah!
  4. KittyT

    KittyT I'll Lock Up

    These are perfect vintage proportions! I am 36-29-39 and have no problem finding items from the 40s and 50s that fit me like they were custom tailored.
  5. GoldLeaf

    GoldLeaf A-List Customer

    This seems to be a common lament :)

    I don't think I am overweight, and I rather like my figure. Take into consideration that I am also 6' tall, so I need to be larger fundamentally. I measure 36 to 38 bust, 32 waist, and 42 hips. I am a pretty standard size 10 US.

    Suggestions have also been made for me that late 40's and 50's styles would suit my figure well. Having a garment custom made also means that they can tweak the garment to make it fit you well, but also keep the style of the era you are interested in :)
  6. Helen Troy

    Helen Troy A-List Customer

    I am something like 37-31-38 and I feel your pain, sister!;)

    For my wedding dress, I wanted 30s style but I soon found out that the most typical 30style does not look good on me. It was too clingy and emphazised my hips more than I liked.

    What I did was that I used a original pattern, but my seamstress adjusted it to fit my body shape. I used this pattern [​IMG]
    but we reshaped it by moving the waistline to more of a empireline right under my bust. We kept the typical beautyful construction with the diamondshape on front and the skirts construction.

    I think that worked very well, the dress came out woderfull. So I think this way of thinking is the way to go. And that must have been what the more voluptiuos ladies did back then, right? Taking the style but adjusting it to fit your bodyshape.
  7. ssubialdea

    ssubialdea One of the Regulars

    hourglass figures are great for vintage clothes, I'm a 38-28-40 and find that 40s and 50s styles suit me best (they're my favorite so that works out well) Even some early 60s dresses are great for hourglass figures. Wavy hair is also perfect for a vintage style.
    Also, I have difficulty finding pre-40s vintage, if this is something you encounter you might try looking for more classic pieces and then use accessories, makeup and hair to tailor the look to the period you're going for.
  8. epr25

    epr25 Practically Family

    I think that you will be pleasntly suprised. When you are an hourglass you will find things that fit you better in vintage then in current clothing. I am 36 28 38 and about a vintage 16 some thing smaller due to my lack of chest. But really I don't think it will be that bad. I have said it before and I will say it again all you guys need to e-mail the vintage lady in my town. She has a ton of stuff that is larger sizes! retrose1 on ebay. Tell her what you are looking for.
  9. My advice Laraquan is forget about losing the kilograms if it's proving impossible, buy the clothes anyway!
    For the beginning of my long adult life I weighed about 92 pounds (42 kg) and the vast majority of my clothes were mod 1960s, also I wore flapper 1920s. Then when I gained a lot of weight in a short week it became obvious that 1940s-1963 styles looked much better on my 38-28-38 figure. However, 1930s modes offer something for every figure. They are truly classic styles. If you look at a classic clothing for women you will see elements of 1930s style. Twinset, gored skirt, pleated skirt, jacket over a simple dress, loose blouse with a bow, pullover sweater, fit and flare dress, pajama pants. These styles can be found in stores now if you look hard enough amongst the skimpy faddish clothes, and abound in sewing pattern catalogs.
    Your lovely hair might be the key to the 1930s look, as whenever I wear any era clothing people always comment favorably that I look like I stepped out of the 20s, showing that the population doesn't differentiate between eras!
  10. Be thankful for your figure! I wish I had more of an hourglass, I'm about 33-26-35! I can be an hourglass with a padded bra on though. :) I'm quite petite and short-waisted, so EVERYTHING goes to the tailor. Oh well. Vintage STILL looks way better on me than any modern clothes do.
  11. roselily

    roselily One of the Regulars

    What always cracks me up is girls want to wear period clothing without dealing with the correct undergarments. Just like a Victorian gown isn't going to look right without petticoats and a corset. My grandma used to bind herself with Turkish towels during the 20's to get that boy silhouette.
  12. imoldfashioned

    imoldfashioned Call Me a Cab

    I usually wear an 18 in modern clothes (44-35-46). It's true that a lot of the vintage clothing out there is in smaller sizes, but I started being able to find a fair number of nice things once I got into the size 22 range and lower. I do wish more of those nice 1930's/'40's Lane Bryant things had survived--we have documentary evidence it was made so where did it all go?

    Also, proper underwear makes all the difference--I have dresses where I can't even begin to get the side zip done up that fit perfectly when I wear a girdle. Everything just looks better when you're pulled in too.
  13. zaika

    zaika One Too Many

    I'd love to have your figure! It sounds pretty normal to me, and I've seen many a vintage dress with your waist size so that the rest could be altered to fit.
    Currently I'm...huge compared to the ladies who have posted their measurements so far. My waist is 43!! *gasp* :eek: I've only been able to find one dress that fits me perfectly, so...I'll be getting proper undergarments and repro's made once funds become available.
    For me, it doesn't matter about size because there were big women in all eras. It's a matter of finding the clothes that look good on you and going out there with the intention of owning your beautiful look! Have fun with it! lol
  14. dashiell

    dashiell One of the Regulars

    In my uninformed opinion, the rule of thumb for the hourglass is whether a set of clothing has a waist where a waist ought to be. Sometimes waists are dropped (as in the twenties), sometimes raised. While an hourglass may be able to wear these styles and look great, too, I think the best bet is to stick with a natural waist if you have one. When I think of the thirties (in my uneducated way) I think of a natural waist, overemphasized shoulders, and underemphasized hips (not nonexistent hips, mind you). I think your figure could pull that off smashingly.

    My two cents, and sorry for the ramble!

  15. Caledonia

    Caledonia Practically Family

    I love that phrase! Says it all. Thanks for that Zaika :)
  16. And in the 60's before the bra burning, it was binding your breasts with ace bandages!! (info from me mums)

  17. I'm 43-33-43. Am I going to get into a bidding war with you for all the cute stuff on eBay? ;D

    There is a dress I am eyeing on the bay that is about two inches smaller than me, that I think I will need a girdle for, as my rice cakes and water diet isn't working. ;) Which ones do you (heck anyone here!) recommend?
  18. imoldfashioned

    imoldfashioned Call Me a Cab

    LOL! I'm on a clothing diet right now after binging for most of this year, so hopefully we'll steer clear of each other!

    I swear by the Rago products--pretty and retro looking, they wear well and (most importantly) are effective without being uncomfortable. I used to get the long line shapers but now I prefer the open bottom girdle (model 1294, to be specific) with garters and a bra. I really want to get a proper corset someday but I'm too cheap to spend the money right now.
  19. Laraquan

    Laraquan Familiar Face

    Gosh, what lovely advice. Those measurements are all a couple years old, however. I've put on ten kilograms since then. Gotta get back to that shape.
  20. ClaraB

    ClaraB One of the Regulars


    Basically any vintage garment with a 25-26 inch waist will fit me but often I find that the busts are far too large (nothing that a needle and thread can't fix most of the time). What I do enjoy about vintage clothing is that it tends to accommodate my large hips and provides a nicer silhouette than modern clothing. The thing that really gets me about sizing is the modern stuff. I am anywhere from a size 4 to a size 8 in modern clothing and generally hate how the clothes fit anyhow. My body certainly isn't made for this era, I'll be happy when this low rise jean and empire waist top trend is over.

    On a semi related note, this is a thought that often pops up when I am vintage dress hunting: In 1953 my grandmother was 20 (the age I am now) and had an 18 inch waist and maintained that size through 20 years and 5 children. So I guess what I take from this is the idea that there are and always have been a variety of body shapes and sizes. There is no way I could have an 18'' waist unless I got rid of a few ribs and a few vital organs. Needless to say that in my dress hunting I have not seen any dresses that would have fit my grandmother, but I have seen plenty of dresses with a 38+ waistline. There are vintage items out there to accommodate all shapes and sizes, some just take more searching for.

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