Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What's in a Size? 1950s Junior Sizes

Sizing standards have changed so much over the years, it's hard to know what size one wears any more.  Add to that the fact that in the 1950s, garment manufacturers made clothes in many more sizes than their counterparts today, and the choices can be dizzying.  This week we're looking at the various size ranges manufactured in the 1950s and what that means for you when you're shopping for a vintage dress.

Today we'll analyze junior sizes.  Please be assured, a junior size does not mean the dress was made for a teenager!  Junior-miss garments were made for a woman who is high-busted, slender-waisted and a slight touch shorter from shoulder to waist (usually 15" - 15 1/2").  Many women have this figure at seventeen and work hard to keep it all their lives.  Junior sizes are odd numbers, often starting as low as a 3 and running up to 17.  All the clothing shown here is from 1951.

When you're over forty and still a junior size, look for a dress like this.  There's easy fullness in the skirt, pretty but not teenage details in the pockets. Ira Rentner dress in a two-tone amethyst wool check trimmed with amethyst colored pins. 

For the career woman who wears a junior size, this gray flannel dress by Carlye has long lapels that button over like a bolero to flatter a high and small waist.  Slim lines make it an "all day long" and "all occasion" dress for all but the very young.

This dress by Youth Guild is perfect for the young woman for whom junior sizes were originally designed.  Scoop neck dress in lilac wool trimmed with braid.

The sophisticated woman in her thirties with a junior figure will find this long sleeved dress with high round neckline has a slim elegance not usually associated with junior dresses.  Dress by Anne Fogarty in dark gray flannel is accented with an ermine collar.