The Myth: Marilyn Monroe was a size 12.
The Truth: While the truth is she was a size 12, people must understand that that was a VINTAGE 1950s size 12. In today’s modern sizing, that is closer to a size 2-4. At Marilyn’s heaviest, she wasn’t any bigger than a (modern) size 8. I personally don’t think she ever was bigger than a (modern) size 6.
The numeral size chart has changed over the years. With every passing decade the same amount of inches in the waist became a lower and lower numeral representation. This is often referred to as Vanity sizing. A 24 inch waist is the same today as the 24 inches in the 1950s. However today we refer to that as a size 0-2, depending on designer and in the 1950s, a 24 inch waist was a 10-12.
"But Marilyn looked curvier." True, but this had to do with the different exercise and nutrition available back when. People exercised more in their daily routine than we do today. Also cardio exercises were more popular then than the core strengthening exercises of today. Nutrition was also different back then. All this creates different body types.
Let’s also keep in mind that Marilyn was (I believe) 5’4”. A 24 inch waist and body type will look different on someone who is shorter than someone who is taller. As a general rule, people are a lot taller today than they were back when.
Marilyn is approximate a size (1960’s) 10-12 in this picture which is about a 4 by today’s sizing. (Since I do not know her actual measurements in this photo I am going by guesstimation and comparing it to vintage sizing charts.)
So when you hear the modern argument that Marilyn was a size 12, don’t mistake that as her being a plus sized lady. She never was.