June, 2012

Jun 12

Marilyn Monroe, cleavage queen?

I love Marilyn Monroe. She was a great actor and fashion icon – I’m up for that old style glamour of perfectly coiffed hair,  beautiful gowns, cheekbones like wing mirrors and her trademark slash of lipstick to set the look off. Absolutely stunning.

In fact, I’m such a fan that I have a lovely photograph of her in my loo:


But please don’t tell me Marilyn waved the flag for full figured women.

She had breasts and hips, yes – giving her that figure of eight hourglass shape – but the reality was, Monroe shimmied about in very small dresses indeed, depending on how her weight fluctuated.

Folklore dictates she wore size 16, but it wasn’t the British size 16 of nowadays, but the one from the American 1950s which  instead was far smaller.  Any full figured woman who has ever tried on vintage clothing with a promising size label will be familiar with the crushing disappointment of simply being way too big for the dress or top in question.

I’m a size 16/18 depending on an outfit’s cut, and there’s no way I’d get anywhere near one of her figure hugging frocks, even with the help of the tightest Spanx! Not without cutting off a major blood supply, anyway.

Fans who go to exhibitions of Monroe’s clothing often express surprise at how tiny her clothes were, because she was indeed very slender.

Marilyn was this week voted queen of the fuller busts by British lingerie shoppers, who also named Kelly Brook and Holly Willoughby amongst their favourites. All very beautiful ladies, but it’s such a mistake of labelling women who have any noticeable curves at all as full figured.  

According to one of Marilyn’s dressmakers, she wore a 36D bra (although of course that’s variable – every woman knows different brands and styles of bras give different sizes for the same breasts!) which is a pretty average size.

The truth is, Marilyn was heavier than our current celebrities but she wasn’t viewed as unusual back in the mid 1950s to early 1960s.

Gorgeous, yes. An icon, most certainly.  A tremendous actress, very much so. But full figured? Hmm, you decide…

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