Marilyn Monroe was Not Even Close to a Size 12-16

Myth: Marilyn Monroe was a size 12-16.

From Roseanne Barr stating, “I’m more sexy than Pamela Lee or whoever else they’ve got out there these days. Marilyn Monroe was a size 16. That says it all”, to Elizabeth Hurley stating,  “I’ve always thought Marilyn Monroe looked fabulous, but I’d kill myself if I was that fat…I went to see her clothes in the exhibition, and I wanted to take a tape measure and measure what her hips were. She was very big”, you’ll often hear people saying Marilyn Monroe was around the same size as the average American woman today (12-16).  In fact, nothing could be further from the truth, at least by today’s sizing systems.

How this myth got started isn’t exactly known.  One possible contributing factor to this myth was Marilyn Monroe’s atypical extreme hour glass shape.  More directly, it probably partially stems from the fact that women’s sizes today are not at all equivalent to women’s sizes in the 1950s. In the 1980s, in order to accommodate people’s vanity and ever expanding girth, the U.S. Department of Commerce got rid of the uniform sizing system and instead allowed for more ego stroking sizes.  As a result of this, today, a size 8 would have been roughly equivalent to a size 16-18 in the 1950s, obviously though this varies a shocking amount from brand to brand.

So what size was Marilyn Monroe actually?  Luckily, many of her dresses, carefully preserved, are still around to measure off of.  Further, one of her dress makers also chimed in with exact measurements he took.  Those measurements were 5 ft. 5.5 inches tall; 35 inch bust; 22 inch waist (approximately 2-3 inches less than the average American woman in the 1950s and 12 inches less than average today); and 35 inch hips, with a bra size of 36D.  Her weight fluctuated a bit through her career, usually rising in times of depression and falling back to her normal thereafter, but her dressmaker listed her as 118 pounds and the Hollywood studios tended to list her between 115-120 lbs.

As to what size Marilyn Monroe would be in women’s sizes today, that’s not an easy thing to answer due to the differing sizes from brand to brand, country to country, and the fact that her extreme hour glass shape would have made it difficult for her to find the perfect size while clothes shopping.  Lucky for her, she could afford to have her clothing custom made, which she usually did.

As a direct example of her size, the white dress she wore in The Seven Year Itch was recently auctioned off and was put on a mannequin that was a size 2, but they were still unable to zip up the dress as the mannequin was too big.  Many of her other dresses that exist from throughout her career match up to about the same, give or take an inch or two.  That being said, Marilyn Monroe at times would have her dresses so tight they’d have to be sown onto her, so something more comfortable in a size 4-ish (American) and something like an 8 in the U.K. is probably more accurate with most brands, though it should be noted that a 22 inch waist in many popular American jean sizes today would be below a 0.  So, again, the exact size is difficult to nail down thanks to the non-standardized sizing system we have today.

If you’re curious as to how that compares to modern contemporary fashion models, according to BluFire Model Registry, models are generally in the vicinity of a 34 bust; 24 waist; and 34 hips, which is very close to Monroe’s measurements of 35-22-35.  They list the average model  today at 5 ft. 8 inches, to Monroe’s 5 ft 5.5 inches.   Elizabeth Hurley, who in the above quote called Marilyn Monroe “fat”, actually has around the same dimensions: 34-24-34, though is about 5 inches taller than Monroe was.

So while it’s often lamented (rightly so) that female models and actresses today set a standard that no normal woman can realistically live up to, the same was true in the Marilyn Monroe era, minus Photoshop, even though she’s often used today as an example of how things were different “back in the day”. Probably the perception of the difference between then and now lies more in the fact that the average American is a lot bigger today.  To this point, the average American woman in the 1950s had a 25 inch waist compared to Monroe’s 22 inches.  Whereas today, the average American woman has a waist size of 34 inches, so the gap between the models and “average” was much less pronounced then.  And, of course, today we have more advanced means of photo and video editing to make the gap seem even larger, with the edited results being truly unattainable. At least a 22-24 inch waist is do-able for some with a significant amount of work via a great fitness routine and healthy diet.  A 22 inch waist that is then Photoshopped to look smaller, on the other hand, just isn’t healthily attainable, not to mention that any blemishes are also removed from pictures and film quite easily today via these modern editing techniques.

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Bonus Facts:

  • Marilyn Monroe in 1945 Posing For YANK Magazine

    Another Marilyn Monroe myth was that she was a blonde.  In fact, the actress famed for her platinum blond curls actually was a dark haired brunette.  She first dyed her hair blonde after being told that models with lighter colored hair were preferable, so bleached it to golden blonde and later adjusted this a total of nine times until she settled on platinum blonde.  As Monroe later stated, “There’s only one sort of natural blonde on earth – albinos.”

  • The words “blond” and “blonde” are not wholly synonymous.  Find out the difference here: The Difference Between Blond and Blonde
  • Monroe reportedly kept a small library of around 400 books, largely non-fiction.  Her third husband, Arthur Miller, commented though that she rarely finished any of them.  She tended to skim them until she picked up the basic idea and then felt it was pointless to read in more detail later.
  • Veronica Hamel and her husband purchased Monroe’s Brentwood home in 1972 and attempted to have the roof replaced.  What the contractor found in the roof was an eavesdropping and telephone tapping system.  At the time of Monroe’s death in 1962, this type of system was “standard issue” for the FBI.  This, and other evidence, further inflamed conspiracy theorists who maintain Monroe was murdered due to her alleged relationship with JFK and Robert Kennedy.  However, in 1982, whether she committed suicide or was murdered was reviewed by an official inquest and they determined the original investigation got it right, that she committed suicide by ingesting large amounts of Nembutal, enough to raise the level in her bloodstream to 4.5 milligrams per 100, meaning she must have ingested about 40-50 capsules.
  • Monroe, originally Norma Jeane Mortenson, and then shortly thereafter Norma Jeane Baker (Baker being the last name of her mother’s husband before Martin Mortensen, Monroe’s father), was born all the way back in 1926 and spent most of her early years in foster care and some time in an orphanage.  Her father ran off before she was born and her mother had severe mental problems, including ultimately being placed in a mental institution.  When she was 16 years old, her foster parents moved and could no longer afford to keep her. In order to avoid having to go back to an orphanage, she married her first husband, 21 year old Jimmy Dougherty in June of 1942; apparently not entirely by choice, though this point has been disputed.  Monroe herself stated about it,  “Grace McKee arranged the marriage for me, I never had a choice. There’s not much to say about it. They couldn’t support me, and they had to work out something. And so I got married.”
  • Doughtery soon went off to fight in WWII, leaving Monroe at home.  Before he left, she tried to convince him to get her pregnant, as she was afraid he’d die, but he refused because he thought she was too young to be pregnant.  This worked out for her, though, in some respects, as she found herself working in a Radioplane plant where she was discovered by a photographer.  Before her husband returned from the war, she already had a successful career in modeling and would very soon launch her movie career.  Shortly after he returned, they got a divorce partially due to the fact that he did not approve of her new career and how scantily clad she was in many of the photos.  According to Monroe, though, they just didn’t have a good relationship, with the two almost never talking, not because they were fighting or angry at one another, but just because they had nothing to say.
  • Doughtery wasn’t the only husband she lost due to her career, another was Joltin Joe DiMaggio.  When she met him she was “surprised to be so crazy about Joe. I expected a flashy New York sports type, and instead I met this reserved guy who didn’t make a pass at me right away! He treated me like something special. Joe is a very decent man, and he makes other people feel decent, too.”  However, less than a year after getting married, the two divorced.  According to Monroe, “I didn’t want to give up my career, and that’s what Joe wanted me to do most of all.  I want to be a big star more than anything. It’s something precious.”  That being said, DiMaggio and she remained close and when she was in the Whitney Psychiatric Clinic in 1961, he helped her get out.  She then spent time with him in Florida where he was working as a batting coach for the Yankees.  Concerned with her mental state and the people she had surrounded herself with, he tried to get her to marry him again so he could look out for her directly, but she refused.  DiMaggio was the one who a year later arranged her funeral.
  • For 20 years after her death, DiMaggio had fresh roses placed in the vase next to Monroe’s crypt three times per week.
  • Marilyn Monroe was on the cover of the first ever Playboy magazine in 1953.  The nude centerfold photo inside was taken by Tom Kelley and was originally for a calendar called “Miss Golden Dreams”.  After she became famous, it was discovered that the nude photo in the calendar was Monroe.  Rather than payoff a blackmailer at the time, she instead came out and admitted the photo was her stating, “My sin has been no more than I have written, posing for the nude because I desperately needed 50 dollars to get my car out of hock.”  Hefner shortly thereafter purchased the right to use the photo in the first edition of Playboy for $500.  Besides the initial amount she was paid when the photo was taken, she never saw a dime for it after, even though it made Hefner millions thanks to it instantly propelling his magazine into wide circulation, selling around 54,000 issues within week of that first issue being published.
  • Hugh Hefner purchased the burial vault next to Marilyn Monroe as his future place of final rest.
  • Playboy was founded thanks to $1000 Hugh Hefner’s mother gave him to start the magazine, along with another $7000 he raised from other sources, such as his brother.
  • When Monroe died at the age of 36 in 1962, her estate value was estimated at around $1.6 million (about $11.4 million today).  Four months shy of 50 years later, her estate still earns around $2 million per year licensing her name and likeness.  Her films grossed around $200 million in her lifetime (about $1.7 billion today).  She earned so little through most of her career largely thanks to being under contract in the old studio system, making a certain amount per week. In her early years, this was often less than the makeup artists and the like made, despite her being the star of the picture.  At the time of her death, she was making considerably more and even had an offer for a four movie stint for $10 million ($72 million today), among many other offers.
  • Monroe was almost propositioned by the Prince of Monaco, Prince Rainier, being one of the women he was considering for his future wife.  However, he instead chose to marry actress Grace Kelly, at which point she quit acting.
  • Monroe attempted to have kids a couple different times with famed playwright Arthur Miller, resulting in two miscarriages.  She had a condition, endometriosis, where tissue of her uterus lining would attach itself to other areas of her body and grow, which can be extremely painful and cause bleeding and difficulty getting and staying pregnant.
  • Marilyn Monroe started going by that name in 1946 around the same time she dyed her hair blonde and divorced her husband.  However, she didn’t legally change it to Marilyn Monroe until 1953, seven years later.  Funny enough, she stated, “I’ve never liked the name Marilyn. I’ve often wished that I had held out that day for Jean Monroe. But I guess it’s too late to do anything about it now.”  She changed her name initially at the behest of Ben Lyon of 20th Century-Fox.  He chose the name “Carol Lind” for her, but she hated it.  She then chose Monroe, after her mother’s maiden name, and Lyon chose the Marilyn part, which he liked better than her first choice of Jeane Monroe.
  • Marilyn Monroe suffered from severe stage fright, even late in her career.  Producer Henry Weinstein remarked that he saw her on many occasions near physically ill from stage fright while preparing to film her scenes.  He further stated of her stage fright, “Very few people experience terror. We all experience anxiety, unhappiness, heartbreaks, but that was sheer primal terror.”

Marilyn Monroe Quotes:

  • “In Hollywood a girl’s virtue is much less important than her hair-do. You’re judged by how you look, not by what you are. Hollywood’s a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty cents.”
  • “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”
  • “I used to think as I looked at the Hollywood night, ‘There must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me, dreaming of becoming a movie star. But I’m not going to worry about them. I’m dreaming the hardest.'”
  • (on her time in orphanages was a child) “The world around me then was kind of grim. I had to learn to pretend in order to – I don’t know – block the grimness. The whole world seemed sort of closed to me . . . I felt on the outside of everything, and all I could do was to dream up any kind of pretend game.”
  • “Do I look happy? I should — for I was a child nobody wanted. A lonely girl with a dream — who awakened to find that dream come true. I am Marilyn Monroe.”
  • “No one ever told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. All little girls should be told they’re pretty, even if they aren’t.”
  • “If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything.”
  • “If you’re gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty.”
  • “We are all born sexual creatures, thank God, but it’s a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift.”
  • “Dreaming about being an actress, is more exciting than being one.”
  • “How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself.”
  • “I’ve often stood silent at a party for hours listening to my movie idols turn into dull and little people. ”
  • “Boys think girls are like books. If the cover doesn’t catch their eye they won’t bother to read what’s inside”.”
  • “Your clothes should be tight enough to show you’re a woman but loose enough to show you’re a lady.”
  • “People had a habit of looking at me as if I were some kind of mirror instead of a person. They didn’t see me, they saw their own lewd thoughts, then they white-masked themselves by calling me the lewd one.”
  • “I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.”
  • “My illusions didn’t have anything to do with being a fine actress. I knew how third rate I was. I could actually feel my lack of talent, as if it were cheap clothes I was wearing inside. But my God, how I wanted to learn, to change, to improve!”
  • “I’m a failure as a woman. My men expect so much of me, because of the image they’ve made of me and that I’ve made of myself, as a sex symbol. Men expect so much, and I can’t live up to it.”
  • “Sometimes I think it would be easier to avoid old age, to die, young, but then you’d never complete your life, would you? You’d never wholly know yourself…”
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  • Might want to replace all appropriate instances of “waste” with “waist” in this article. 🙂

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Scott: Ha! My fingers kept doing that for some reason while typing this article. I thought I noticed all of them, but looks like I missed two. Thanks for catching it. 🙂

      • Just so you know, women today wear their jeans on their hips, not their waist. So the right size would be a 35-inch jean, not 22.

        • The waist measurement you have listed is not measuring apples to apples. MM’s waist measurement would have been measured at her natural waist, the natural indentation near the bottom of her ribs and well above the belly button.

          When you talk about the waist measurement for a pair of pants or a belt, that is actually a hip measurement. Unless I am unlclear, a 34in waist would actually be more like an XL today and that is not the average woman.

        • Just so you know. Wearing jeans on the hips has not always been the case. I am 5ft and have to cut a lot off the bottom of my jeans even with short leg size. If I wore them on my hips I may as well cut the legs in half. Hips and waist are preferences not a given. Fashion changes all the time. Men wearing jeans flashing their pants isn’t always the case either. We cannot generalise.

          • I concur! I am female, currently wearing the low rise style of jeans (and even among this style, there are at least 3 variations – eg. low, ultra low) and I wear a size 0 or 1 – because my hips are 34. The low rise jean sizes also come with a measurement (which doesn’t really make sense but it’s consistent) size 0 = size 25, size 1 = 26,
            size 2 = 27 … and so on. Now my waist is 24 (unlike MM 22) and if I wanted to wear high waisted jeans, I would probably need a size 2 maybe 4. I’m 5’5 and between 105-110 lbs, so although I’m technically thinner than MM, I’m not necessarily a much smaller size. In addition to all this mess, there are variations between designers! Och

          • Hips and waist-not a preference, it’s in the cut of the garment. You can’t pull a pair of any pants up to the waist if the crotch won’t allow it. I’ve always preferred to wear pants at my waist, which became harder to find as the hip hugging style came in favor.

        • When I was in high school I work a size 11-12, sometimes a 9-10. These were Junior sizes. When my daughter was in high school she usually wore a size 3, on rare occasion a 5, as did most of her friends. Her school had a 70s day and she and her friends wore all my old clothing. Everything fit them perfectly. My old Lee patterned jeans fit my daughter like a glove.

        • But just so you know. Most jean sizes are done based off the “true” waist and then tailored for fit on natural hips. Sooo a women with a 35 inch hips would NEVER fit into a size 35 jean.
          I’m in the fashion industry.

          • No kidding, where are people getting that idea? I wear a size 26-27 jean (approx. size 5-6). I do NOT have 27″ hips good lord, who does maybe a 10 year old boy? A woman with 35″ hips is not wearing a anywhere near a size 35 jean that’s ridiculous.

          • Isn’t this size specification the waist measurement? In which case a woman with 35″ hips would drown in a size 35 jean-unless her waist is the same size as the hips.

        • I have never once bought jeans to my hip size. I don’t know what places do this but it’s clearly not as common as you make it sound. And I have a big difference between my waist and hip measurement of about 12-13 inches.

      • I highly agree, Marilyn was very VERY fit in her day

      • Just so you know, in 1967 a “perfect size 12” was 36-24-36. And it remained so for quite a few years. (See the song Brick House)

      • Hi there – Marilyn’s size VARIED. She hated ‘Some Like It Hot’ for example as she was working hard are with The Actor’s Studio to hone her craft and was determined to get off of the dumb blonde hamster wheel and so she purposely gained weight for it hoping to be replaced. She was a size 14 for that film. But normally she was much smaller.

      • daven women today do not sew . they buy ready made clothes. back then they are referring to pattern sizes, back in the day everyone would learn to sew, and a requirement in high school / home economics . google pattern size sewing chart pattern sizes are different than store size. depending on your measurements you maybe between two different pattern sizes also what type and brand of pattern and yards to make notions ect (i
        know what im talking about my mother worked for a garment factory and the sizes are totally different systems . it two diferent sewing styles precut
        patterns and the Lutterloh System® type way .
        example if pattern Size – 14 back

        Bust – 32 inches

        Waist -26 1/2 inches

        Hip – 36 inches hope this may help answer the question of her size.

      • Thanks for taking the time to write this article – I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    • But at least the facts are straight. She was a slender girl, she just had wide hipbones, and larger breasts. Anyone that likes vintage knows that a size 12 in the 50’s is barely a size 6 today.

      • Monroe had slim hips by any standards. They look large(r) because her waist size seems very small by comparison, but was unremarkable in her time, as 50s fashions required corseting. Her uncorseted waist was likely closer to 26-27″ — and this is evident in later photographs when she is wearing slinky, A-line evening gowns without foundation garments — which makes her a perfect American size 4-6, perhaps even a 2 in some brands, circa 2015.

        Her bust size is certainly large for her frame, but hardly unusual even for her time, despite common myths claiming slim women cannot naturally wear anything above a B-cup and those who do obviously got “work done”. It looks larger than it is for similar reasons to her hips: the visual contrast, next to a corseted waist, is striking, and in the 50s, the style was to don heavily padded bullet bras that offered a dramatic enhancing effect.

        • Ali, excellent points you make there! I have a corset that was my Mom’s (currently 72 yrs old), that is exactly as you describe it. Incidentally, my Mom has a hourglass figure, even today. When she was younger her hips were very slim, but the difference between her waist and hips gave the illusion of having wider hips than she did (she had a 20 inch waist WITH the corset) when she married my Dad). Thank you also for addressing the myth that all slim women who have large breasts have had implants, it’s not common, but it does occur naturally. Her measurements were 40-22-36 and she’s 5’5. Even at 72 she has a very small waist, my sister had a reduction to DD, neither one is overweight. My Mom had 4 sisters who were all large breasted, but not all the same body type.

        • I have always wondered about sizing. My mom had a very fitted wedding dress. The women in my family had hourglass figures. All were avg, not thin not fat…But weighed WAY less than their kids. The girls are the same height, but even though we were NEVER fat, we weighed 120lbs+ most of our lives. My mom, and her sister stayed 110 to 112 lbs. They were both C cups, but very small waisted. I couldn’t fit my mom’s wedding dress because she was tiny in the waist. My waist was 24″, so not big at all. I won a Scarlett O’Hara contest in my teens, but I cinched it in to be her size. I never got how much heavier I was, and my cousins were compared to our mom’s. I did one of those BMI deals, and if I got every ounce of fat off me. My bones and organs still would weigh MORE than my mom did. Which surprized me. We just were bigger a generation later.

          • Size does have genetic factors, but so does environment. How well nourished you were & how much stress you were under as a kid greatly has an effect on how tall & well built you become as an adult. If they are in their 70’s, their parents went through the depression, & they grew up during WW2.

        • I have natural size 36D boobs, 36″ hips, and an un-cinched 26″ waist which can get down to 19″ at the smallest with a tight laced waist training corset (and I’m taking about the ones with steel bones and no stretchy spandex). The only problem is I’m 6′ and have a long torso so my curves don’t show nearly as much as they did on Marilyn despite us having the exact same measurements.

          My height also makes it harder for me to find clothes that fit properly because most things made in the size I need to fit my slim frame are made for girls much shorter than I am despite the fact that in the industry the sample sizes and the original patterns are made using dress forms that have my same measurements and are set to be around my height (I studied fashion and costume design for about 3 years). The problem lies in when the clothes go into production and the pattern is sent off to be altered to fit all the sizes that will be made for that garment because that’s where they take the averages for all those sizes and adjust the pattern accordingly which leads to size 26 jeans fitting perfectly well on someone 5″+ shorter than me with the same waist but being way too short on me thus causing me to either buy jeans that are too short or me always having to wear a belt so they don’t fall down.

        • … People claim thin women cannot be naturally larger than a b cup. Really? I never heard this claim, who are these simpletons. They must be jealous women or ignorant men. I was a size 6 growing up and a DD then DDD but I am also 5’9 1/2 but I had a cousin also so tiny she could wear clothes from the children’s store but for her boobs which were DD.

          • The less you weigh, the lower your body fat percentage generally is. This is why fitness models generally have natural A or B-cups… or implants. You can appear thin–or even be fairly athletic–and still have large breasts IF you also have a higher body fat percentage and the appropriate body type.

        • And let’s be honest- a 35 inch chest could in NO way be a 36d. 36 band would require a 36 inch rib below the breast tissue and a 40 inch measurement around the bust. She was much more likely a 28e or f cup.

          • Exactly what I had concluded. You cannot wear a 36D bra and have a 35″ chest measurement. The number for a bra is the measurement around the rib cage just below where the breasts begin. The cup size reflects the difference between the band size – 34, 36, etc. – and the measurement at the fullest part of the bust.

    • It wasn’t informative , everyone knew this or atleast I did , also look at those again she wasn’t thin or fat she was curvy with the good luck to have her curves in the right places she was 118 lbs at 5.5 1/2 and was a 36d in modern day stats also her hip size was 12 her waist was small *rolls eyes* I was a grammatically great article but showed no Empathy or real feeling. She was a person ya know.

      • To be fair, over three years ago when this was posted, the myth hadn’t been busted with so many posts all over the internet disproving the “Marilyn was fat” narrative.

    • And also replace “sown” with “sewn,” unless you mean that they planted seeds on MM’s body and waited for them to grow.

    • “As a result of this, today, a size 8 would have been roughly equivalent to a size 16-18 in the 1950s, obviously though this varies a shocking amount from brand to brand.”

      This is not true.

      I was in high school in the 1950’s. I wore a size ten. In the 1960s, my size ten began to be called a size eight. both in sewing dress patterns, and in purchased clothing. I still wear a size eight, I have been the same weight and size since high school, except when I was pregnant.

      • Strange, I am a 35″, 26″, 35″ and I wear a size 4 in modern clothing. Recently I bought some patterns off Ebay from the 1950s. And the size I need for them is like a 12-14.

    • How about “sown” for “sewn”?

  • Thanks for this article. I was always under the mistaken impression that she was around a size 12.
    Her death, according to the coroner after the fact, was not suicide, as reported. He claimed he was pressured to declare it suicide, but the Nembutal she supposedly swallowed would’ve left trails down in throat, which weren’t present at the autopsy.

    • It’s abundantly clear that the Kennedys either murdered Marilyn Monroe themselves or the had one or some of their minions do it. The Kennedys are a slimy lot. None of the Kennedy males can keep their pants zipped or keep control of their dick.

    • Adding she died in 1962, the article stated 1982.

  • Nice article, nice info.

    You forgot to mention that Roseanne Barr is an idiot…or maybe she was trying to be a funny fat person.

    • No, almost all of the info is incorrect. Even the title is factually incorrect! The truth is, she wasn’t any standard size, sizes today aren’t the same as they were in the ’50’s, sizes in designer clothing have always been different from “regular” clothing sizes, she had her clothing made to fit, some dresses were sewn onto her (actually, that one thing is true), her weight fluctuated enough to make a woman of 5’5 wear many different sizes throughout her life, the only person who knows her true measurements (which also fluctuated) is her seamstress and neither her or her seamstress were allowed to disclose her true measurements or weight under the old Hollywood system (much like models of today), and trying to dispel the myth that she was fat instead of pointing out that beauty is based on the current standard of beauty AT THE TIME, that men & women are brainwashed into adopting this mindset by people with no conscience which is perpetuated by the media, magazines, and movies.

      This is a proven fact BY the fact people are arguing she was/was not fat! She’s an icon & considered beautiful by the VAST majority of people either way (fat or not), so it can only apply to how we reconcile what we think is fat now portrayed by the media as opposed to what was considered “fat” in the ’50’s. She was fat by today’s standards for actresses, at some points in her career when she gained weight she was told to lose it by the studio. Her beauty transcended weight and dress size, but that’s too complicated, we must oversimplify to the point of outright lying to justify how someone considered fat by today’s standards became a iconic sex symbol, with her beauty being more relevant today than it was when she was alive! The “facts” presented are largely incorrect, although you could make the argument with facts, it’s just unimportant, shallow, and superficial Just because something is in print doesn’t make it true. Since people, men in this case, seem to believe everything they read, and the truth is too HEAVY, no pun intended, I’ve decided to become a writer!

  • While the size thing is true, most of the quotes weren’t said by her.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Art: Many of these were pulled directly from things penned by her own hand, such as in “My Story” and “Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters”, so which ones specifically weren’t from her, so I can remove them?

      • “Your clothes should be tight enough to show you’re a woman but loose enough to show you’re a lady.” – is by Edith Head

        “If you’re gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty.” – there is no reliable source to confirm that she ever said this

        Other than that: Awesome article, even though I really wonder who could’ve EVER thought she was a big woman after seeing even one of her movies. True, her weight fluctuated throughout her career, but size 16? Liz Hurley is an idiot. Marilyn Monroe was clearly a petite woman.

        • Petite refers to height, not weight.
          She was 5 ft 5 inches and that is not petite.

          • You are correct in saying that “petite” refers to height, not weight. A lady who wears size 24 can be petite if she is short. When I was 19 years old, I wore a size 11. I was 118 pounds, 5 ft. 6 ins. tall, my bust and hips measured 35 inches and my waist was 22 inches, very similar to MM’s measurements except that her bust was larger than mine. I remember all this because that was the year I was married and I needed the measurements for my wedding dress. I have been married for 56 years and at our 50th anniversary, I gave my wedding dress to my youngest grand-daughter who was 10 years old, to use for playing dressup with her friends. She is quite tiny and it didn’t fit her! Sizes have changed so much over the years! It would probably be a size 0 today. Why have we become so fixated with size that we want to pretend we’re smaller! At the time of my marriage, 1958, I was considered to be “too skinny”.

          • No it doesn’t. Petite means “attractively small and dainty.” which MM indeed was. A woman can be 4ft11 and fat, that is not petite, that’s short and fat!

          • Joan Palmer, I guess sizes have really changed, my waist is about 22 inches and my hips about 35.5-36 and I usually buy a size 2-4 pants depending on the brand, sometimes I can fit in a 1. That’s crazy that sizes have changed so much over that many years! :3 so happy to hear youve been married for so long

      • If you’re writing an article giving anything other than person opinion it’s supposed to be supported with references —

        • Then it’s a good thing that there’s a little link down at the end of the article that says “Expand for references.”

      • What about the difference in garments? Most women back then were still using a corset or some sort of under garment to pull in the waist and garments were measured assuming this was in place. So were any of the measurements accurate? I am curious too how the article takes on a sneering attitude at women’s waist sizes. Evolution created taller people and in order to have taller people the waist and such will become proportionate to the rest of the body. I mean did you intend to hint that women are just simply fatter on purpose today? In the early 1800’s people were amazed by someone over 5’5″ tall now the see many people much taller than that. We are still evolving that is why people in the fifties were smaller not just women the men were too. I just wish there were clarification that it is not a implied attitude of it’s just lazy, fat women today but a real scientific fact that we are changing as a species. Fashion and evolution don’t seem to ever coincide except during breeding and mating rituals. Otherwise the article was entertaining and fun but a bit condescending towards women in my opinion.

        • jollygreenjoshy

          Actually, she permanently altered her body through corseting. It’s still common, and I’ll even recommend it to women who have great bodies, but need that extra piece to look perfect. Take a look at her chest xrays.

          • Actually, Marilyn Monroe was one of the first women to exercise daily.

          • WHAT, Eileen?? As if living back before all of the “modern” amenities such as running water, well-stocked grocery stores, and gas cooking was SO easy on one’s body! How utterly ridiculous! Every generation before hers was FULL of women who exercised daily as a way to stay alive. As it was, the 1950’s wasn’t exactly like it is today. Everyone was much more active, then! They didn’t spend 8+ hours a day sittting at a desk in front of a computer screen, like a large portion of today’s workers, and having to “schedule” physical labor. First woman to exercise daily, indeed.

          • Must be nice being a misogynist making healthy women hate their bodies <3 "You're healthy and fit with a nice body, but not self hating enough for me! Wear a corset to cause serious long term harm because I think your waist needs an "extra piece" and call me in the morning babes…"

            Yuck. Who are these women who are taking this dangerous advice from you and do they ever talk to you again?

        • The perceived difference in height from the 1800s to today is often very overstated. A lot of people think our ancestors were dramatically shorter because of things like lower doorways in old buildings, but they don’t put together that most of those buildings with low doorways were in the North in a time before efficient heating and were built that way to more efficiently keep warm air in. If doorways are the judge, then the Southerners from the same time period would have been giants with all of the 7-8 foot doorways and 12-14 foot ceilings in Charleston and other old cities.

          • interesting…I know the fashions in the south, the hoop skirt needed room to get through so they created the buildings to accommodate the fashion.

            The height of the women in my family was 5’5″ to 5’8″. They married men of 6ft. The girls in my branch 5’4″ mostly, the guys all over 6ft. The women were hourglass…all of us girls didn’t get the boob gene at all, small waists, a bit larger in the hips. Avg size never thin or fat, but at least 10lbs or more in weight. They weighed less in our family than the girls and the guys do now. The mom’s all told us they refused to wear the corsets or heavy type of foundations, which was scandalous.

    • “How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself.” This quote is from Anais Nin.

  • I’m sure they didn’t put her dress on a manikin (which is used in education), but rather on a mannequin. Love the site, but the grammatical errors and typos (waste/waist) make it hard to take the site serious.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Grammar Nazi: “…grammatical errors and typos (waste/waist) make it hard to take the site serious.” I would think this would be the case only if you assume the errors are due to ignorance of grammar and not simply typos generally due to blearily editing many of the articles at around 3:00am. 😉 In case you’re curious, I did for a brief time employ a professional proofreader. After about three weeks, he informed me that I didn’t need him as I’d already mastered English grammar and all he was doing was catching the occasional typo here or there. In fact, he told me it would probably improve my writing, in terms of readability, to take more liberties with my grammar, rather than sticking to the hard fast rules so rigidly. He thought this would particularly help when doing science articles, which can at times come across a little dry and heavy.

      That being said, I do thank you for catching my typos. Believe me, it’s harder than most people think to catch typos when writing lengthy articles in the wee hours of the morning after a long day’s work. Without you Grammar Nazis, they would remain in my work forever. 🙂

      Incidentally, I’ll return the favor and say that you meant “seriously” not “serious” in your comment… typos everywhere!!! “Seriously” is an adverb, whereas “serious” is an adjective and since the word describes “take” using an adverb is correct in this case.

      “Typos are very important to all written form. It gives the reader something to look for so they aren’t distracted by the total lack of content in your writing.” Randy K. Milholland

      • BOOM!!!! You OWNED that commenter!

      • damn, baby!! You got PWNED!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. XD

      • I loved this article and everything on the site—- you put a lit of work into this site and it evident. My new favorite!!!!

      • Nice! #owned

        • I wouldn’t say owned, more like responded rationally to a rational comment.

          • Dude, he’s a Nazi. We’re allowed such frivolities in the face of our death camp guard’s demise. 🙂

      • Well, Grammar Nazi is German, it explains the “serious” mistake since in German, it would be “ernst nehmen”, which is literally “taking serious” rather than “seriously”. 😉

      • Grammatical errors and punctuation errors are only going to get worse as time goes on. Teachers cannot mark errors as incorrect any more. My grand-daughter had a math question and answered 2
        + 2
        = 5
        The teacher marked it as correct, and when asked why, said “it was a good guesstimate”. NO!!!

      • Good thing you don’t work for anyone. Imagine working at a law firm and bitching about editing at 3am. You sound very unprofessional and honestly not a fabulous writer.

        • Daven Hiskey

          @Katie: “Good thing you don’t work for anyone.” It is a good thing. I’ve always hated working for people. 🙂

        • Common core math = making our children “stupid”! I refuse to let mine do common core and make the school substitute it or I teach her math. America already cannot compete academically across the world, we do not need a system that makes it worse!
          (Stepping off of soapbox)

      • @Grammar Nazi: “…grammatical errors and typos (waste/waist) make it hard to take the site serious.”

        Good Lord. We’re doomed.

        • My sentiments, exactly, Alan.
          It should say, “…grammatical errors and typos (waste/waist) make it DIFFICULT to take this site SERIOUSLY.”
          Minus the all caps, of course. I used all caps to highlight the improper grammar and replace it with proper wording.

      • When I was on active duty in the Air Force an old sergeant taught me to give my police reports the once over reading them backwards. Helped me catch a lot of typos.

        • This backwards idea still makes me laugh when ever i try it. A late know it all Aunt of mine told me to try this some 25 years ago. How can i find typos when i am laughing?

    • They probably did.
      I used to be a fur finisher ….using materials to give fur coats substance and shape and lining them by hand. I used mannequins for that purpose and I also had one at home as I sewed most of my clothing by hand. I was very picky , was very small and had a tiny waist. It was difficult to find clothing to fit me.

  • How could she be a 36D if her bust measurement is only 35 inches? That doesn’t make any sense–and I would know (I worked at a lingerie store in college). My guess is that she is actually a 32D or even a 30DD. A 36D would have a bust measurement of 39+ inches. Just saying!

    (Kudos for the rest of the article, though–she has never looked like a size 12-16 in any pictures I’ve seen her in. I get so annoyed when people say that!).

    • Indeed. I’m a 32D at a 35″ bust. The shape looks right enough, so Marilyn would surely be a 30D in today’s sizes.

      Bra manufacturers didn’t always offer the range of sizes that they do today, and bra sizes have changed (with less difference between cup sizes, if I’ve understood properly). That said, this article did aim to debunk the myth that Marilyn was a size 12 by today’s standards, so the same should go for bra size.

      • Oops, a follow-up: I actually wear a 10D in Aus sizing, which seems to be closer to a US 32DD.

        So, if my 35″ bust fits into a 32DD, so would Marylin’s have (in today’s sizes). I can also wear a 30E, and from what I understand, Marylin had a tiny ribcage, so I guess she would have fitted more comfortably in today’s 28F (yes, this is a real size, available from a few companies).

        • Thank you thank you thank you. I wear a 30E/30F and the 35 inch bust with a 36anything bra size irks me to no end. No idea why people (playboy?) perpetuate the myth that very slender women with big breasts wear band size 36 and above.

          • People are stuck in the A-to-D-only paradigm, from the first mass-produced bras which only went up to a D-cup (from what I can find — happy to be corrected by anyone who knows for sure). That was when adding 5-6″ did in fact give the correct band size, and from what little I can find there was a greater difference between cup sizes. But anyway, 50 years ago, if you overfilled a D-cup at your correct band size, you would just have to upsize the band 🙁

        • Actually, the cup size is determined by the ratio between the rib cage measurement and the around the bust measurement. So without further information, there is no way to guess the bra size with any accuracy. The rib measurement would normally be very similar to the natural waist size, but we don’t have that information for Marilyn because she was almost certainly fairly heavily corseted.

      • There is no way Marilyn was a 30 or 32. My wife is a 32 and she has a smaller ribcage than Marilyn did. As for cup size, I estimate a D at most and maybe a C. I can speak from experience, but won’t go into it.

        • Russ49:
          Your wife then needs to size down in the band (and up in the cup, correspondingly). My ribcage measures 27-28″ and I wore a 32D for 7 or 8 years. I recently discovered the wonders of smaller bands online and now wear a 30E or 28F (depending on the brand).

          As for your guess at cup sizes, maybe I’d be a C-cup in old sizing, I mean my boobs look medium-sized on me. But sizing has changed — each letter just means one inch difference between the band and bust measurements.

      • The 32 refers to the measurement, in inches, from under her bust. She should have worn a 35 or 36 DD.

    • Agreed!!!

  • I love Marilyn Monroe just as much as I love reading every article in this site day by day. 🙂

  • Her weight fluctuated. In some movies, she was slimmer than in others. Ex: Gentlemen Prefer Blonds. But even when she was a bit plump, she was still more beautiful than Elizabeth Hurley.

    • jollygreenjoshy

      It did fluxuate, but I don’t think by that much. You are talking rail skinny, to maybe an extra 10-20 lbs, back to rail skinny.

      • Actually, the only thing that doesn’t lie are photos & film, and sometimes they do. There is no way she was the weight they (studio) claimed her to be. She’s a pear shape, not a hourglass at all. Her breasts are relatively small, she’s all hips and thighs, and her waist was 24 1/2. I’m guessing she was 36-25-38, unremarkable. Jayne Mansfield and other actresses of the day had better proportions 40-21-36, and who cares about the dress size discrepancy, her thighs and hips WERE quite large and her upper body was quite small. Elizabeth Hurley wasn’t being disrespectful, but truthful. She’s overrated.

  • The article says, “Her IQ came out at a full 33 points above the national average at the time when she was tested (at 163).” I highly doubt the national average IQ was 130 at any point. The way the Stanford Binet IQ test works is that 100 is the “average” score. If Marilyn indeed had an IQ of 163, she was a whopping 63 points above the average, approximately 4 standard deviations above average. For perspective, .004% of the population has an IQ that high. However, I believe all of this is anecdotal, and that Marilyn never actually took a Stanford Binet IQ test. Thus, I would say all reports of her IQ are hearsay.

    • jollygreenjoshy

      She may not have been a physicist, but how many average looking high school dropout housewives achieve what she did? All “celebrities” are seeking super-stardom, but how many can actually succeed? Does Paris Hilton ring any bells?

    • jollygreenjoshy

      Also, iq tests are hogwash. You are right, it was done for publicity. But again, she may not have been a brain surgeon, but achieved a lot for anyone.

      • People with higher IQs almost always accomplish more than people with lower IQs. You don’t get to be President if you have a low IQ, although it seems so often enough. Heck, you don’t get to be Iggy Pop if you have a low IQ.

        Hogwash, hogwash.

        The only reason that people dismiss IQ numbers is as a defense mechanism because they have low ones.

        • People dismissed Iggy Pop in his day because of the onstage nudity and smearing himself with condiments, but he is wickedly smart, as is evident anytime he is interviewed.

        • That is absolutely and categorically untrue, that most people with high IQ’s accomplish more than people with low IQ’s. Perhaps more people TESTED for their IQ accomplish more. There are too many other factors to consider when someone “accomplishes” something to base it on IQ….quite a lot of people with mental illnesses have high IQ’s but don’t accomplish much due to their mental disorder. It’s been researched and proven this is untrue. That’s a generalization you just made up.

  • Regarding Seven’s comments, the number portion of a bra size does relate directly to the bust size (that’s where the numbers come from). I wear a 34C and my current bust measurement is 34 inches. I have to wear them on the last of the three clasps (furthest out). When I was in my teens, I wore a 36B. My bust measurement was 35 inches and I had to wear my bras on the first of the three clasps (nearest in).

    If Monroe were alive today with a 35 inch bust, she would wear a 36 bra and need to clasp it on the first or second one for a comfortable fit. Anything smaller would squeeze her (and give off the appearance that her breasts are falling out of her bra) and anything larger would aggravate her skin from too much movement of the fabric (on top of giving the appearance that her breasts are smaller than they are).

    The only way this could be confusing to anyone is a result of a lack of education and training in proper bra fitting. (Many women today do not know how to properly do so, which is why there are women specifically trained in this area to help women with picking out the appropriate bra sizes.)

    • For someone talking about proper education on bra fitting surely you realise the number is the underbust measurement and the letter is the bust size….

    • Evy, it’s bizarre if a 34C fits a 34″ bust. All the bra calculators/charts suggest a 34″ bust would fit 34AA, 32B or 30D, depending on ribcage size.

      Do you get a significantly greater bust measurement if you lean over 90 degrees?

      My underbust and bust measurements are 28″ and 35″ and I’ve worn a 32D for years, since that’s what all the charts say, and size 30 bands are rare. However, the band could be firmer (the top of the gore pulls away from my chest), so I’ve ordered two 30E’s online to try on for size (I realise current wisdom is that one’s underbust measurement = band size, but the 32 is nearly firm enough).

    • That’s really bizarre. My bust is a 36 and I wear a 30E/F.

    • «Many women today do not know how to properly do so» which seems to be your case given that the number refers to the underbust in inches and the letter to the cup, which is the difference between bust and underbust measurements.

      • Exactly! If your under-bust measurement is 34 you wear a size 34 bra, then A,B, C, etc according to the cup measurement.

    • Bra sizes used to be measured like this. Under bust measurement eg 34 (band size) add 4 if even number or 5 if odd number. Measure the bust eg 36. You then take one from the other to give a number in this case 2 and use a chart to work out the cup size. Your measurement would then be 34 and what ever cup size the chart showed. Bigger cup sizes have been introduced so the chart would be different now.

      • Does anyone remember an ad campaign done by Bali the bra manufacturer. They stated cup size varied. I found that so true. You could get measured properly in the lingerie dept. They gave you a size, but different lines would fit differently for the same size. I was the same size as my cousins but I was fuller looking than they were and yet we measured the same. My point is, Marilyn looks busty, someone with the same size can look totally different due to shape of the breast with the same measurement.

    • The only way this could be confusing to anyone is a result of a lack of education and training in proper bra fitting. (Many women today do not know how to properly do so, which is why there are women specifically trained in this area to help women with picking out the appropriate bra sizes.)

      And, many women in the U.S. who are wearing the wrong size have sought out services advertised as professional fittings, and left the store with bras that are far too large in the band and too small in the cup. Consider:

      • Most women who are exasperated by “outdated” fitting advice either run lingerie blogs, live outside the U.S., or reside in a large city with many European and Asian stores, and do not take into account that much of their audience lacks the proximity and disposable income to invest in correctly sized lingerie.

      • Most women who are being sized incorrectly live in America outside of the coasts and often have just a handful of affordable department stores to turn to.

      • Most of those department stores use same measurement techniques from Monroe’s heyday, when bra bands weren’t elasticized like they are today, and so adding 4-5 inches to the raw underbust measurement was standard.

      • Nearly all mainstream American department stores refuse to stock cup sizes above a DD or DDD, or band sizes below a 32. And, should you, via the “old” sizing system, need a band size of 34 or smaller with a cup size of DDD or greater, you are going to either be living in sports bras or camisoles (usually, the largest size they stock, with alterations made at home to better tailor the fit) or shelling out $100+ per bra, plus shipping, for European lingerie (assuming you know your size, realize it’s an option, and can afford to pay double the typical American price).

      • Accordingly, such stores have no incentive to adopt the modern sizing system, because they advertise and order bras within a set, narrow range of sizes, capture the majority of the customer base, who is unaware that they’re wearing the wrong size — and profit from doing so.

      • Because the bras in stock cover a narrower range of sizes than women need (assuming the newer, correct measuring technique is employed), in some stores, like Victoria’s Secret, it’s more common than not to find fitters who exaggerate the band size beyond the “measure underbust, add 4-5 inches” number and coax women into cup sizes even smaller than this measuring technique would suggest. Doing this ensures that the small stock of DD- and DDD-cup bras are purchased only by the bustiest customers.

      When your shopping options are J.C. Penney and Victoria’s Secret, and every “bra specialist” tells you to add 4-5 inches to the underbust measurement to determine the size, you will most assuredly leave the store with a purchase that is many inches too large in the band and just as many too small in the cup. We can hardly blame women when it is the stores, brands, and members of the fashion industry perpetuating the trend and profiting from it.

  • Evy, my bust measurement is now 34 inches (87cm) and band measurement 27 inches (70cm). I wear 65E in Europe sizes (used to wear a 75C, which was helplessly off) and it’s been measured at a professional. The number is the band measurement, the letter is the breast measurement. The bust measurement alone doesn’t tell us anything about the real bra size, because the two are connected. You can have a bust measurement of 40 inches, but if your band measurement is 39 inches, you’d be wearing something like 44AA. If the bust measurement is 40 inches and band measurement is 30 inches, it’s 34E. Pretty simple, isn’t it?

    And 34C and 36B both are the same size, only the band is different. The cup size is the same.

    The band is supposed to be tight. If the band isn’t tight enough, the breasts won’t get any support. Most of the support comes from the band. If the breasts bulge, then you need a bigger cup. Most women use bras that have too big band and too small cup, and that causes the bulging, the band riding up in the back and all the other problems.

    I’m guessing that her underbust measurement was around 26 inches. Then, she would be wearing something like 30DD, or 28E.

  • This was an interesting and revealing article about Marilyn. I had always wondered about her true size because they bring it up so much, and it is interesting to see how urban legends distorted this. I always thought Marilyn look skinny but curvy in many photos and movies, and the one above confirms this.

  • Seven the bra size probably were different back then too. Just my guess.

    • They certainly were sized differently in the 50s, and that has everything to do with the fact that elasticized materials were in their infancy and mid-century bras of the previous era were notoriously unforgiving and heavily structured/padded. Fitters were instructed to measure the underbust, and add 4 inches if the result was an even number, or 5 inches if the result was an odd number. From there, they were told to measure around the fullest part of the bust and subtract the “underbust + 4-5” number from the bust measurement. The final number was them matched to a chart indicating which cup size corresponded to which number: e.g. 0=AA, 1=A, 2=B, 3=C, and so on.

      The reason we see so many articles about women wearing the wrong size today, or not knowing their true size is the same reason we see so many women who have the time and money to get fitted correctly “correcting” everyone’s sizes in comments sections. Bras have changed quite a bit since the mid-20th century, with much stretchier bands and far rounder, softer cups, but the sizing techniques have, for the most part, not — at least not in the U.S., anyway — and the available stock in most mainstream American department stores is determined by the outdated sizing system, despite it being inappropriate for modern bras. Any woman who wants to be fitted correctly has only a small handful of stores from which to choose, and may live hours from the nearest one. And even if she is fitted correctly, she will have little to choose from if her correct measurements fall outside the typical, 32AA-40DDD stock.

  • Isa, b and c are not the same cup size, no matter what band size i use my breasts will not fit into a b cup and they bludge making it look like they are falling out the top of my bra giving that look of having four breasts. to measure for a bra you measure under the bust then add 5 inches.. thats your band size. then you measure around the breast , for each inch more than your band size its one cup size.1 inch a, 2 inches b, 3 inches c and so on. there is a difference in the size of each cup as you go up.

  • Its been proven that adding inches to a womans band measurement renders a bra useless and is ill fitting for the majoirty of women. Using the old ways of measuring a bra I should be a 32 DD or a 34 D in reality I am a UK 30 FF or 28 G. I would say Marilyn would probably be a 28 E/F at her smaller stages and possibly 30 F/FF when she was plumper I say plumper she wasnt that big. The reasons in the 50s bra sizing was different was because there was hardly any elasticity and didnt move like modern bras.

    Also most models lie about there meausrments most models are rectangles or straight up and down while they have hourglass measurments.

    • Thank goodness someone has it right! I’m a bra fitter and I’m sitting here tearing out my hair at some comments LOL!

  • Enjoyed reading this. Impossible for me to be sure on any of the alleged Monroe vital statistics in modern-day terms, particularly the bra sizes. I’m a UK 30 (DD) and have a conspicuously small and to my eyes, too small, upper torso/rib cage. Monroe looked more in proportion than I feel I look, so I can’t imagine her fitting the 28E and 30DD bras that I wear. And as Faith said, I also simply cannot believe that modern day fashion models actually possess those rather hourglass measurements as cited. They do generally look indeed, very far from hourglass shapes. Most fashion models I see have far more slight and decidedly un-curvaceous figures, and nothing like the female aesthetic ideal of the 50s.

    • I can guarantee you that models cards have made up measurements on them, the Agency IS selling them after all, then they have the measurements used for fittings, their true measurements. Anyone with eyes can see some of the most famous have no waist (Linda Evangelista, Adrianna Lima, & Kate Upton), or very wide hips with a very small rib cage so you can find their waist, but it isn’t small by any means (Heidi Klum,etc), and are either rectangle/pear shaped or straight/ruler body types. You would think Kate Upton with her extremely large breasts and hips for a model would be an hourglass, but she has no indention where her waist should/could be located. Interesting, since they are “the most beautiful women in the world”…but then this is brought to us by the same people who set sizes….the truth is the article should be called “How we reconcile the fact Marilyn is still an icon when today’s standards for the “perfect body” are the opposite”….that’s what it’s really all about. Aside from establishing sizes are different today than they were in the ’50’s is all this article really did, almost every other thing is incorrect. I knew it was a man writing right away, and by the time I got the part about how you can “diet” your way to a 22 inch waist….I KNEW it was a man. All these super-skinny models with waist size possibly 1 inch difference from their waist…that should be common sense. This article perpetuates all these crazy myths that only men can agree with because they don’t know any better….like the man who said “I saw her on Playboy so I know that she is flawless”, lol, Playboy? You mean the most photo shopped magazine in the world? Even from day 1? They (men) actually believe those images are real.

  • it’s kind of hilarious how ill-informed some of these women are about bra sizes. the number on the the bra size refers to the measurement UNDER your bust— it IS NOT the measurement at the apex of the bust. the a-b-c-d-dd refers to how big the breast is.

    i would recommend EVY go get a bra fitting because she so clearly has no clue what size she should be wearing.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @tay: Apparently I should do a post on how to properly measure for a bra and what bra sizes refer to. 🙂

      • I need help, could come around, Hiskey and help me fit these C-cups into my Ds? Or I think they are Ds struggling into my Cs

    • Using a tape measure wrap it around your back across the center of your nipples (the apex). The apex of your bust gives you the size…such as 36. Measure directly under your breasts….for example 40 ” means you wear a 36D (one inch equals a letter). A lingerie representative showed me how….no wonder my bras didnt fit right before her lesson to me. LOL

  • Wonderful story. I came of age in the fifties. Marilyn Monroe certainly was not fat. She had a tiny figure with lots of curves. And I believe she succeeded when no one was there for her, because she became her own mother–her own advocate. She loved and protected herself and took herself wherever she wanted to go. And she got there.

  • This would be a decent article, except for the fact that at least 5 of the quotes you listed are not actually Marilyn Quotes.

    She also never actually took an IQ test, though she was very intelligent and well read.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Lauren: Which quotes are not accurate? (I take the accuracy of things on my site very seriously, so if you know of inaccuracies please be specific and, if you happen to know credible references backing up your claim, it would save me some digging to verify what you say. ;-))

      • At *least* 8 of these quotes are commonly attributed to Norma Jeane/Marilyn Monroe but in fact, actually have never been proven to be from her lips. You say you have read My Story and Fragments (the only written works from Marilyn herself). The quotes I have listed at the bottom are nowhere to be found in either of those or any other credible biographical work on Marilyn. It’s an easy mistake to make since so many “credible” websites claim these quotes are in fact Marilyn’s true words (I would know. I was a journalist before a career change and know the pains of researching credible sources nowadays!) In the 5+ years I have researched Marilyn reading over 20 biographies based on her life, watching several notable documentaries and interviews, reading My Story and Fragments, and communicating with other Marilyn experts, I have never once seen these quotes proven legitimate.
        Also for the record, Marilyn suffered from endometriosis, gall bladder issues, and other stomach conditions. She would take enemas to relieve her constipation and other stomach conditions, as they were accepted as a fad prescription from doctors in the day. Not to mention, Marilyn suffered her whole life from fluctuating weight gain and loss, especially in her married days when she became pregnant and settled into domestic life. To say she was so-and-so measurements for her ENTIRE life is far from accurate. For example, we see progressive, albeit light, weight gain from 1954-1960 and then a sudden weight loss from 1961 until her death in 1962. Furthermore in the 1950s, studios and other “credible” sources would often fabricate/alter a woman’s so-called true measurements to create an image, especially with Marilyn, who was already rocketing to stardom. This, combined with Marilyn’s intimate knowledge of how to pose her body, apply make-up, and wear the right clothing to look thinner and more lean, shows us that we are all wrong to say we “know” what Marilyn’s true size was, whether than be a 4 or a 16.

        I would safely say that the only people who know Marilyn’s true measurements are the ones who knew her intimately, her dressmakers (the ones not influenced by the studios in reporting her measurements), and Marilyn herself. Marilyn suffered from weight gains and losses attributed to domestic life/pregnancy, health issues, prescription drug dependencies, and life/aging in general, as many women do. Let’s allow this wonderful woman to rest peacefully and remember her for her on-screen talents, compassion, and spirit without doing her the dishonor and injustice of bickering about her damn body size.

        Here are the 8 quotes I know from research to be falsely attributed to Marilyn:

        “This life is what you make it. Not matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes, it’s a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you’re going to mess it up. Girls will be your friends – they’ll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything – they’re your true best friends. Don’t let go of them. Also remember, sisters make the best friends in the world. As for lovers, well, they’ll come and go too. And babe, I hate to say it, most of them – actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can’t give up because if you give up, you’ll never find your soul mate. You’ll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”
        “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”
        “Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”

        “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
        “A wise girl kisses but doesn’t love, listens but doesn’t believe, and leaves before she is left.”
        “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
        “I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”
        “I am good, but not an angel. I do sin, but I am not the devil. I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love.”

        • I squealed when I saw your username, Zelda. I was utterly fascinated by Marilyn as a teenager in the 80s, and loved that Zelda Zonk was one of her pseudonyms. Your reply to the real quotes was also fabulous. Thanks! 🙂

      • Furthermore, the following is a very detailed and accurate collection of Marilyn information (specifically quotes with this link from dedicated fans and researchers:

        • Daven Hiskey

          @Zelda Zonk: Thanks for the detailed analysis. I edited the Marilyn Monroe quotes appropriately given your recommendations.

          • Great article Daven–thanks so much for all your interesting content (though I’m sure it was a labor of love 🙂
            regarding Marilyn’s IQ, why do people keep saying “she never took an IQ test.” How the heck would they know. i DO know that Marilyn had undergone a great deal of psycho therapy. In order to create a profile, it’s quite likely she WAS given an IQ test. And if her IQ were measured to be quite high, more tests would have no doubt been administered, and word would have no doubt gotten out, but the studios would have made sure it was NEVER made public ( I know about the IQ testing through my own experience with psycho-therapy)

  • @tay – not necessary – A 30E (which is what I’d estimate Monroe to be more like) has a smaller chest measurement/breast size than a 36E. I’m still not convinced with the dress sizes – the photo used at the top in the article looks very similar to my dress size (a UK 8-10 / US 4-6). I guess actual ‘dress’ measurements can vary based on 1950’s styles. I have a small 24″ waist by my hips (about 36″) means I struggle to get into trousers that are a size 8 (US 4) I suspect the same would have applied to Monroe. I think in a way it is dangerous to peddle Monroe as a size 0, as she has been a pin up for a more natural female form than a lot of what we see today.

    • This is a direct example of her size, the white dress she wore in The Seven Year Itch was recently auctioned off and was put on a mannequin that was a size 2, but they were still unable to zip up the dress as the mannequin was too big

  • Marilyn and I have so much in common it’s scary. Our birthdays are even the same, how ’bout that?

    • Funny, Jane Mansfield has the same birthday as I do (my son has the same birthday as James Dean) and she died a day after my Dad’s birthday the year I was born….about an hour from where live I (in Louisiana). I don’t know what she was doing there.

  • I think you do need a post about bra sizes…sigh. Sizes beyond D didn’t really exist in the 1950s so I guess unless she got something custom made marilyn would have had to wear something like a 36D. If she lived now I would estimate she would fit a 28FF or or maybe 28G, ideally she could even be a 26G-26GG or something – but there is only one brand that makes 26 bras so yeah bit of a problem for small framed ladies. You don’t add 4 inches to the band or you get a way too big bra! Though lots of people still do it – that is the reason everyone (like Evy I bet) wears the wrong size! There is no way someone with a 22 waist would fit a 36, here underbust could not be more than 28! To truly be a 36 you would have to be overweight and she sure wasn’t she was tiny! Even if you added the 4 inches you would get a 32 size for someone like her – no where NEAR a 36! Go get bra-ducated people

  • I’m a 22 inch waist and its all natural. I was scouted as a professional model for this reason when I was younger. I’ve been the same size most of my young adult and adult life.

    My own mother is 5’10, has had 3 children and is barely a size 4. Its metabolism as much as it is genetics and bodyshape.

    I also have unusual 34 inch hip, 34 bust, for such a small waist line. That’s genetics!

    Please don’t say something a size 22 isn’t “healthily attainable”. I’m perfectly healthy and saying individuals can’t be otherwise is promoting anti-intellectualism of the body and is also promoting as much of a myth as saying Marilyn Monroe is a size 12-16.

    Individuals need to pay attention to their own body needs and health needs. Not everyone is built (literally) to have a size 22 inch waist line. We are all different shapes, statures– and we all have different needs! However, saying that a 22 inch isn’t “healthily attainable” is as unscientific as saying a 40 inch is unhealthy. It all depends on the build, metabolism, needs, genetics AND the person’s individual health!

    • Please reread the article…Sizes 12-16 in the 50’s are equivilent to a size 8 toda y and nalso…Here is a direct example of her size, the white dress she wore in The Seven Year Itch was recently auctioned off and was put on a mannequin that was a size 2, but they were still unable to zip up the dress as the mannequin was too big

  • When one is using needle and thread on a garment, it is sewn. When one is spreading seed in a field, it is sown.

    Probably a typo, as you say.

  • Size in inches is not the only thing that matters. Marilyn Monroe’s percentage of body fat IS higher than what is accepted in the modeling industry today, although no higher than someone like Jennifer Lawrence or Salma Hayek. In beach photos towared the end of her life she has visible cellulite, thighs that touch, and ripples on the sides of her waist. She also had a handful of extra fat on her lower stomach. In short, she had a womanly body… something women’s magazines do not approve.

    In general I appreciate this article, and Monroe was certainly far from plus-sized or even average-sized compared to modern women.

    • “thighs that touch”

      Please note, this is not even nearly a reliable indicator of body fat percentage. Yes, thighs fill out at a higher weight, but they also change size with muscularity; and the size at which they touch is determined by hip (pelvis) width.

      TL;DR: Large thighs set far apart might not touch, whereas slim thighs set close together might

      • That’s true, and most women’s thighs will touch, the only time they don’t touch at all is if the woman has very wide hips or is anorexic, literally.

    • cellulite is something every woman has, regardless of weight or body fat percentage cellulite is a part of what distinguishes females and a consequence of their hormones.

      • P.S.: and try being photographed in high waist briefs in certain poses and I bet you too will have “ripples on your waist” even if you are very thin

    • I read Norman Mailer’s biography of MM which included many beautiful pictures, and yes, she certainly had a lot more subcutaneous fat (that would account for those famous curves) than today’s stars who are on special diets and exercise routines. Of course, she was still a petite woman and not “fat” by any reasonable standard.

  • i dont see how any one could look at a picture of her and think she was in the double digits of clothes size. have you seen a person thats a size 16? marilyn did not much extra weight on her. shw was thin.

  • At least one of those measurements given is way off. If Marilyn’s bra size was a 36D, then your bust measurement of 35 is way off. 36 inches would be her under-bust, and then being a D cup, she would be four inches bigger than her band size at her bust measurement. So, she was really either a 40 inch bust, or she was only a 32C. Not a bra or body image expert, but if she’s a 36 anything then she’s not a 35 inch bust measurement. Can’t say I trust this article anymore for de-bunking a Marilyn myth :/

    • vintage bra sizes worked differently because the fabrics had much less elasticity than nowadays, that’s where the “+4” or “+5” method of bra fitting comes from and why it is outdated.

  • Sorry, but I have NEVER, EVER seen a photo of Marilyn Monroe in which she appeared to have a 22 inch waist! I believe this to be as much of a myth as her being today’s equivalent to a size 16. She was well proportioned, but did not have the wasp waist that 22 inches would have given her. The only time her waist looked small was when she was corseted. It’s possible that when corseted, her was was 22″, but NO WAY was that her natural waist measurement. With 35 inch hips, I’d guess her waist to be around “25, maybe 24. Look at photos of Audrey Hepburn (who I’m sure was also cinched and padded in some of her roles). Her waist was reported to be 21”. Even at her thinnest, Marilyn’s waist was always considerably wider than Audrey’s.

    • She was very small whatever her size was. Below are sites with pics of her tiny waist. As she got older and more famous she started packing on the pounds so probably wasn’t a size 0-2 her entire career BUT had she maintained her weight as she got older like many actresses have to these days she would have looked tiny her whole career.

      Of course women who use her as an example of large is lovely probably can’t stand the reality that she was as small as women they hate on by calling skinny. She was pretty small then and tiny by today’s 70% overweight/obesity stats. (she’s topless in this one if that bother anybody then don’t look)

      • Bother anyone?! You just made my day a whole lot better! 😀

      • Sir, “below are pics of her tiny waist”….do you know what a waist is? These are photos from the side, you’ve proven that she had a flat stomach, her breasts were BARELY a full C cup, and she’s all hips and thighs! She’s not even a hourglass shape! Her breasts are relatively small, and she DEFINITELY had a 24 1/2 inch waist as reported, or larger.

    • I have 35 inch hips and 23 waist and I never corseted in my life, can’t see why MM can’t be the size stated on the article.

      • Do you also have a big bust? How tall are you? If so, that’s very rare. I think her waist would look much smaller if it were 22 inches…but she differed throughout her career, with no corset, I think not. As stated, she’s nowhere near as small as Audrey Hepburn in terms of bone structure or waist.

  • Okey, perhaps I can help a bit. I agree with Jasmin, I do not believe Marilyn Monroe waist was only 22 inches (in cms 55.9) that is simply not true. Why? I am a very naturally slim person and my shape is also hourglass (but not like Marilyn, smaller.Here, in Australia , I am size 6-8 (a smalll 8) which in America would be sizes 2-4 (I am 4 in Diane Von Furstenberg, to give an example but I was 2 in other brands). I can change sizes according to the brand but I am never more than a 4 American or 8 Australian. My waist is or 60 or 62cms (if I am ovulating) and my heaps are 90cms and my bust oscillates between 90-92cms (35.4 inches), so I wear bras that are 34D UK, Europe 75D and France 90D.I know the different brands may change but I am like that in Aubade, La Perla, Chantelle, Lise Charmel, and Simon Perele, to mention some) and that is for sure, they fit super well, I am not left with anything on the sides, I mean they fit marvellously, and I got told that all the time; nonetheless, with a smaller band I don’t feel that comfortable (in those brands with a smaller band I would be 32DD or 32E), because of my back of course. At first sight my bust may look smaller, that is why I do not trust all the girls who work in shops and apparently can help you with your fitting, they may be trained but they lack criteria, for they always think I am a B or C and a 32! perhaps they get confused because what I wear does not show my breast together, and because I am petite; yet when I try what they give me and doesn’t fit, they get surprised and only then is when they start trusting me and giving me bigger sizes, obviously they end up agreeing with me. One of the reasons why I am D is because my breast are not as close as other, and they always stay up (gravity and pregnancy never affected them, thank God). But hey, my breast can be C sometimes if I wear some Australian brand, but still not the same; the European brands are the ones that fit me better, maybe the cut, or because my figure is more European,I don’t know. So for what I have exposed, I believe that objectively, Marilyn Monroe could have been 36D, but I am sure she didn’t have a smaller waist than mine…not at all, it is soooo evident, if you see me that I am slimmer there than her. Don’t forget that oftenn movie starts lie about their measurements. I think they mostly do with their waist, because of the mytch! Also, I am very petite (1.59 cms) with long legs, so if you see me, you would totally agree with me.I don’t look skinny but I am slimmer than Marilyn.

    Perhaps I can help now about how having the right bust measurement. There is a lot of confusion because until a few years ago the bust were wrongly measured and many still do it now, and believe the old stuff, but now it has change, and yeah, the band is your underbust measurement, and then you have to find the size. If you can’t find the perfect one Lets say if you are UK34D, is better if you don’t buy a UK32DD or 32E, why because it is not quite the same, although sometimes it works. You know what is the beauty of those brands I am using? that once you try them you can even get them send to you from France and they will always, always fit, soooooo well! 🙂 Hope I was of help 🙂

    • No way she was a 36D, she was probably a 34DD or 32DDD, she is too tiny for that large of band , *band does not mean cup size. And I’ve always understood her waist was 24 inches not 22inches. But I am glad people are clearing this about her weight. Women use to be very tiny before fast food and abundance of soft drinks hit the market. soda use to be drank occasionally not every meal.

  • Those measurements would make her a size 0 or even 00 in today’s standards, that cant be right, right ?!

    • Here is a direct example of her size, the white dress she wore in The Seven Year Itch was recently auctioned off and was put on a mannequin that was a size 2, but they were still unable to zip up the dress as the mannequin was too big

  • Interesting article. I thought it was common knowledge that sizes changed over the years due to the ever-expanding girth of people.

    One issue is the claims about modern models. While the stats are no doubt from their agents and presented as ‘facts’, they are simply incorrect. Modern models are not remotely curvy and are, in fact, ‘boyish’ in appearance.

    Marilyn would really stand out on a runway now.

    • She was not a runway model, she was a glamour/playboy model,there is a difference and even today its still not fashionable for glamour models to be stick thin or boyish like it is for fashion models. Glamour models are required to have curves& have similar proportions to Marilyn who’s playboy shoot done in the 50’s would still to this day fit in among the models of playboy, bodywise

  • thank you for this article I always knew there was no way she was that large! also thank you for not having that “I’m a little insecure…” quote!!! I had a feeling she didn’t say that either!

  • I do not believe that Marilyn ever came close to a size 16. She had a beautiful figure and my guess has always been that she was about the size of my younger sister who was a size 4-6. I am built exactly like Marilyn but taller and I was a size 10-12 in my younger years. Today in my 60’s I am a size 16 and trust me that is way bigger than Marilyn ever came close to even on her most bloated day (two Marilyns could fit in my pants now! it’s disgusting). Honestly all the bra talk, who really cares? She probably looked best without one and I suspect that she doffed the bra on many occasions.

    • Why does everyone think a size 16 is big and for fat people? I was a size 16 and only weighed 8st 3lb. I had a large bust and broad shoulders. My waist size was 14 but it’s difficult to get a dress with two different sizes unless it is made to measure. Size 16 isn’t for fat people unless you are 3ft tall.

      • I noticed you referred to weight in “st” – are you in the UK? UK and US sizes have a difference of 2, so a US size 16 is a UK 18. Unless the woman has a very tall, broad figure like an amazon woman, that’s rather fat. Some brands are even weirder, like ASOS, which has a difference of 4, so a US 16 is a UK 20 there. So a UK 16 would be a US 14 or 12, which is on the upper end of average for us, but we are a fat country. I was a 12 for a few years at one point in my life and I was definitely flabby, but my frame is kind of small. 16 is unusually large but different women carry their bulk differently.

      • Oh, and I also have the same issue about the waist being one size smaller than the bust and hips. Tailors are your friend.

    • This is a direct example of her size, the white dress she wore in The Seven Year Itch was recently auctioned off and was put on a mannequin that was a size 2, but they were still unable to zip up the dress as the mannequin was too big

  • She was a vintage size 12-16, which is more like a 2-6 nowadays. Vintage sizes are way different and usually run very small with a small waist.

  • I am 125lbs, shopping at Target I’d be a size 11, shopping at macy’s I’m a size 9/10, shopping at Anchor blue I’m a size 7. Marylin Monroe would be considered a plus size model, you can tell that looking at her shoulders and hips, I have her identical build and have to shop in the plus sizes and they don’t fit properly because they don’t complement my waist, which is about equal to my shoulders like Miss Monroe. So yes, Marilyn Monroe would be a size 12-16. People forget about the shape of a woman’s body, a woman can be “heavier” without looking like it, she has curves and all of her weight is well proportioned, she would be 12-16 petitie. Consider the curves on Beyonce & Jennifer Lopez, consider their height and those women are considered plus size. Kim Kardashian,Kathleen Turner back in the 80’s, Pam Grier in the 70’s, all of those women considered plus size but their bodies were well proportioned. Unlike these shapeless hollywood women of today. Hollywood wants their women to look like 11 years old boys with perky tits these days. Miss Monroe also wore Girddles and clothes were actually sewn onto her so a measurement in one dress may be completely different from a dress she would wear out of work.

    • Wow, a size 11? How tall are you? I’m 120 lbs, 5’2″ and wear a size 3. A size 11 would fall right off of me.

  • Wow, that is very interesting. She was so plump. She really looks like she would fit a size 16 today.

  • A lot of these replies sound like wishful hoping.

    Marilyn was a tiny woman, give or take weight fluctuatioms.

    I am 36″ – 22″ – 34″

    I am 5′ 6″ and 118 lbs.

    There is NO WAY on GOD ‘S EARTH that I am anywhere near a US 12 – 16.

    Deal with it, ladies – she was tiny AND curvy.

    • @Boo:
      You clearly just wanted to post your hourglass stats. In response to your comments, I skimmed the replies and didn’t see a single post saying, “This is wrong, she was fat.” The closest I saw were people pointing out that Marilyn got heavier later in life (but still not large).

      • To be fair, if I was a 36 – 22 -34, I’d want to announce that to the world at every opportunity myself, cause, damn. Seriously, how did you do that? Is it mostly natural or do you have a specific eating / exercise routine? Inquiring minds want to know.

        • My measurements are 36-22-33… I’m short, have a tiny frame, & weigh 90lbs. I’ve never seen anyone but my Mom & sister naturally have bigger proportions on top than the bottom, except Janye Mansfield 40-21-36 and she was always pregnant (post baby breasts!6 kids I think, and the corset would take 1 or 2 inches off the waist). Pictures of her look as if she has these measurements, MM has no Everyone I meet thinks I have breast implants. It IS rarely found naturally. I’m a former Elite gymnast, my sister was born with a congenital heart defect and has always been sedentary. I can tell you it has nothing to do with exercise, it’s pure genetics. My post baby measurements were 40-22-33, not fun. I’ve never seen anyone medium or tall with those measurements naturally, but I’m sure they exist.

    • My measurements were the opposite of yours! 34-22-36…I am amazed at how many people think it isn’t possible unless you are corseted…I am 5’6″ and tipped the scales at 118lbs…I am now much older and much heavier (a U.S. size 12)…but my waist is still only 28″….some of us really are just tiny in the middle!

    • You obviously didnt read the whole article…This is a direct example of her size, the white dress she wore in The Seven Year Itch was recently auctioned off and was put on a mannequin that was a size 2, but they were still unable to zip up the dress as the mannequin was too big

      • She weighed 150lbs when she died, I’d say that’s quite a bit of fluctuation. Just because YOU have perfect measurements doesn’t mean that she did, have you ever looked at a photograph of her straight on? Her upper body is significantly smaller than her lower body. “Tiny” is hardly what I would call her hips and thighs. There is no way she had a 22-inch waist, it was reported at 24 1/2.
        The reason these posts sound like they do is because the article is factually incorrect on EVERYTHING, you will not find a photo of her straight on that shows she is NOT a basic pear shape, the most common shape. If you haven’t had breast augmentation, those are truly remarkable measurements you have, if you have had one, they are still remarkable measurements. The nude photo shows her breasts aren’t that large and her upper body is much more narrow than her much wider hips, are you going to believe something a studio said to sell her, or your own eyes?
        Her measurements are more likely 35-25-38….general measurements found on Victoria Secret models, but they are much taller than 5’5, therefore not as “curvy”. The truth is she had an average figure for a actress, she’s over-rated because the studio sold her well. Comparing her to “average” overweight women is stupid, compare her to other actresses or models! It’s easy to for me to say I’m more educated than someone who dropped out of school in 7th grade, it doesn’t prove how educated I am at all! I could have a 8th Grade education, is that really so much better? That’s what the author is doing, saying she’s not fat compared to fat American women today, which is a comment on obesity in this country rather than a comment on MM.
        Bridgette Bardot, amazing face and body, Jayne Mansfield 40-21-36….hourglass…the difference being you can SEE this tiny waist (achieved with a corset no doubt), VERY large breasts, and slender hips. Monroe will always be a icon due to her presence, femininity, etc. She was SPECIAL. Some people want to focus on her size for various reasons, usually men who can’t figure how VS Models AND MM are “the most beautiful women in the world” when there is such an obvious discrepancy in size, so they have to find justification for those 2 apparently opposing thoughts by saying that MM wasn’t really fat. She was average, & when she gained weight she was fat. 150lbs at 5’5 is overweight by any standards, the measurements are an obvious lie, and so is the weight.
        What did I learn today? That Marilyn Monroe did not have the hourglass figure she’s so famous for, it’s just ACCEPTED after years of brainwashing that she does indeed have this famous figure. You shouldn’t believe everything you read, since almost everything else was incorrect, I doubt this doesn’t have some extenuating circumstance, for example, different manequins are different sizes, if all brands/designers/countries have different sizes, does this have any meaning at all? I think not.

  • A 22 inch waist is what an 8 year old has. This measurement is mad for a healthy woman past puberty. your stomach and intestines wouldn’t fit long term! This will be a measurement wearing a corset.

    • For the first 37 yrs of my life, I was- 25 inches under bust, 33 across the bust, 21 inches in the waist, and 34-35 inches across the widest portion of my hips, 5’2 inches tall and 97-103 pounds. Thus was without any type of diet, exercise, or girdle or modification. My mother, two sisters, daughter, and niece were all/are now all approximately the same Why anyone finds that impossible to believe or thinks it’s unusual, truly confounds me. My mom has 8 sisters, as well, and 6 of those were all very close to this. It’s just genetics, because after I became ill, had to have a hysterectomy, I gained 47 lbs in 14 weeks, and have only been able to take off and keep off, about 22 lbs of it. Life’s just like that.

      Great site, BTW!

      • The measurement under the bust is always the same or larger than the center (apex) of the bust measurement. For example, if the center (apex) of the bust is 36″ and underneath is 39″ your bra size would be 36C (one inch per letter)

  • There are various measurements for Marilyn and she has been estimated to have been generally an 6/8 and up to a modern 10 in the some like it hot heavier years. I agree that the 22 waist measurement was with foundation garments. You have to take the clothing of the period into account – it was structured and designed to be worn with foundations.

    Marilyn was a healthy, curvy woman. But never big or plus sized.

    Elizabeth Hurley got her bust/measurements at a plastic surgeons office – She herself is not an hourglass, but it was pretty tacky of her to comment on a real curvy actress (who could act). Hurley’s (real) body is a ruler shape, straight up and down minimal curves. Not bust no hips, not much of a butt. So yeah, I guess Marilyn was “fat” to her, having hips. Nature balances shape, unlike modern surgically enhanced bodies.

    • Hurley does not have implants or a straight “ruler” figure….you say “ruler shape, straight up and down, minimal curves, no bust, no hips, not much of a butt”. She has a small waist (and a butt, which is actually a muscle having little to do with inherited body shape, except the inherited tendency to carry weight in upper, lower, or middle of body is not a characteristic of body shape that is inherited, such as “straight” or “ruler” as you call it), but having a small waist means she has natural curves and is not a “ruler” shape. Granted, comparing her to MM measurement wise does little good because Marilyn was about 3 inches shorter, making her more curvy than Elizabeth, but they are both “hourglass” shaped. Eyes can tell you that. Don’t distort facts while trying to prove your point, it makes you about as credible as this article.

  • Ugh, I get so sick of hearing 200lb sausage shaped women saying things like “Marilyn Monroe had a figure I can relate to unlike all these skinnies today”. You could cut the delusion with a knife.

    First off, Marilyn was never ever medically overweight or “fat”. She *did* become rather soft/voluptuous around ’59-60 after a string of failed pregnancies, at least by Hollywood standards, however even then she was only 140lb and a modern size 8-10 tops. Note that this was also considered rather too large and frowned upon by Hollywood even back in the day.

    However MM was also downright teeny tiny, itty-bitty in some movies – watch How to Marry a Millionaire, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and River of No Return. I actually gasped at how tiny her waist was in How to Marry a Millionaire where she plays a fashion model. Put it this way – if Keira Knightley or Katherine Heigl could zip up her costumes from that movie I’d eat my hat. I fail to see any significant SIZE difference between Monroe and the typical modern starlet in most of her movies (other than those from the aforementioned ’59-60) other than her being relatively larger breasted and smaller waisted. The Hollywood trend does seem to have moved towards more what I’d call an “androgynous” body, however that is a *shape*, not a size, and is not related to caloric intake. Neither does it make one less of a “real woman”.

    It’s also wrong to assume that Hollywood standards for women’s bodies were any less oppressive in the 1940’s/50’s than they are today. First off, any woman less than a C cup was almost always portrayed as unattractive and undesirable whether she was thin or not. The flatter chested woman was always shown as doing menial work or as the dull wife that the husband was lured away from by the busty MM or Jayne Mansfield. Second, MM DID get labelled “fat” as soon as she gained a bit of weight.

  • I can tell you if she has a bust size of 35 she cannot have a bra size of 36D. The number in a bra messurement is the inchs of her underbust/chest, that bra size would implicate her bust is an inch inside her chest, not possible. The cup size which is the letter is based on how many inchs out the breasts are from the chest, so the difference between chest size and the bust size. Since the chest is wider than the waist we would have to assume her underbust messurement will be a bit higher than 22inch which you gave for her waist. I am an hour glass and I have about a 3inch difference between waist and chest so lets assume she was 25inch underbust. Because bra’s come in even numbers that would be rounded up and as their is a 10inch difference her bra size in Uk at least would be 26GG so a J cup is US based on those messurements. Those bra size charts on google are nonsense. I’m a 36E and fit those bras perfectly, if I went on bust size for the number which half seem to or just some weird number I would be a 42E or potentially 42D and I can tell you those bras would not touch the sides or fit at all, unless all the charts are US based then they use some strange over complicated system.

    • Marilyn might have fitted a 36D from 1950. The “add 4 or 5 inches” thing is outdated, but it did come from somewhere, when the first mass-produced bras were made of less elastic materials.

      My ribcage measures 27-28″ and MM’s build looks considerably lighter than mine, so 25-26″ sounds likely. Even so, that puts her in a ye olde band size 30… but bras only used to go up to a cup size of D.

      With measurements 25″ (assumed) and 35″, your assessment of MM’s fit in today’s bra sizes is right, but it’s also possible that she “fit” (of sorts) into a 1950s 36D.

  • You said
    ( Luckily, many of her dresses, carefully preserved, are still around to measure off of )

    How silly does that sound?

    Simply say ( Luckily, many of her dresses, carefully preserved, are still around to measure off)

    Off Of sounds silly ! Sounds like you are saying OFF OFF !

    • Linds, I find people from the US say “off of” at every opportunity. It’s fine.

    • Not really providing you don’t butcher simple pronunciation of the English language. Really it should be pronounced “off uhv”. And just for the record I’m not American, I’m English.

  • Sizes change. What was a 12 in my teenage years is a 4-6 now. My mother wore a size 12 as young girl at 5′ 3″ and 105 pounds. Marilyn may indeed have worn a “perfect” size 12 or “voluptuous” size 14 by the sizing of her day. It would make her a 0-2 in today’s sizes. Sadly we have gotten much bigger.

  • great article. I find it so interesting that her waist was supposedly, 22 inches… did she tight-lace, or wear a lot of corsets when she was younger or in her off time? (in a corset my waist can go as small as 24 but is naturally 27″) her waist just doesn’t appear THAT small. I know the camera adds a few pounds. she still looks petite, but a 22 inch waist is a stretch for me. scarlett johansson is considered an hourglass today and while she’s not as vava- voom as marilyn, her waist is 27 and she’s shorter than marilyn, but in pictures side by side, their waists don’t look too much different, in size, from one another.

    • Take Reese Witherspoon 5’1″, 35-25-34 in Legally blonde the playboy bunny costume she looks like she is corseted and probably the same as a young MM was said to be. But Reese looks smaller than MM.

  • Thanks for the article. And I cannot believe the long conversation about bra sizes … and the people pointing out grammar / spelling. Give the guy a break. Some people are not great writers. He got his points across …

    • If an article is published on the internet, it should most definitely be up for correction, both in facts and language, by readers. It improves the article for future readers.

      Bluntly implying that the author is not a great writer is tactless, I feel.

  • As a point of comparison, here are measurements for four major stars of the late 1920s and 1930s:

    Joan Crawford: 5’4″, 110 pounds, 37″ bust, 24.5″ waist, 37″ hips

    Greta Garbo: 5’6″, 125 pounds, 36-28-38

    Carole Lombard: 5’6″, 109 pounds, 34-28-38

    Clara Bow: 5’4″, 112 pounds, 33-24-36.5

    (Lombard’s height has been listed between 5’2″ and 5’6″, although one major biographer claims she was 5’4.5″. Her bra size was 34B. Carole was curvier in the late 20s; she then shed a few pounds to gain the lithe, sleek figure she’s best remembered for.)

  • I’ve heard this about Marylin but only in context of British sizing – British sizes being about +4 on US sizing – so in this case a UK 16 is a US 12 and probably the scale Liz Hurley was talking on, seeing as how she is British.

    This would make 12-16 a more reasonable estimate.

    This article does not make this difference clear and I have to wonder whether the writer considered this and from where the sources of information came from. It could be they are getting their international wires crossed.

  • Another typo – “sewn” not “sown” with the latter being a farming term and the former being a dressmaking term. 🙂

  • People. Please get a life. To this day i barely hear a word said about Ghandi, or say Nikola Tesla, but marilyn monroe, possibly the worst role model EVER, who has done nothing beneficial to the world except provide the illusion to women that she has increased EVERY woman’s self-worth, and therefore she is practically an altruistic deity. why are you people so insecure you need facts on someone’s clothes size to ensure that she is certified in making you feel better about yourself through her “inspiration” and the “symbol” she was. Listen marilyn monroe didnt give two craps about how you felt about yourself, she didnt feel good enough about herself to not end it. And furthermore the greatest fallacy of our time is the idea that SELF-WORTH is the greatest of all morals and ethics. ME, ME, ME. How I feel. Please, get a life, you seriously have nothing better to discuss? Well actually clearly, and me too, clearly.

    • Thank you!

    • She was hardly”‘plus size”, even if she weighed 150lbs. Her BMI would have been well within “Normal” weight limits, i.e. 25. That is NOT FAT, nor plus size. I can’t believe I have to even post this!

  • Go back to the dress patterns of the time and you will see that sizes have changed.
    You couldn’t fit a modern woman in a dress from back then. In 1950s sizes, she may well have been a 12-16, but that would be tiny today. My mother’s wedding dress from 1950 was a 10 but I couldn’t squeeze it on my size 6 body 20 years later

  • “To this point, the average American woman in the 1950s had a 25 inch waist compared to Monroe’s 22 inches. Whereas today, the average American woman has a waist size of 34 inches”

    This is what the “Fat Acceptance” movement has brought to the world.

  • All the comments about bra/bust size remind me of some of those social websites where the guys ask women inappropriate questions like what bra size they are. Those guys would have a field day here. *lol*

  • – I’m a 34DD … a tape measure around my chest gives me a 36″ bust, so it’s not impossible that Marilyn had a 35″ bust measurement.

    – I wear a size 5 in modern clothing. I use a size 14 dress pattern. I believe this is where the “Marilyn was a size 12-14” thing comes from.
    -Enough has been said about vintage sizing vs modern sizing that I don’t need to repeat it. I remember an episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy was trying to shrink down to fit into a “tiny” size 6 costume in order to be allowed to perform with Ricky. Of course, he assumed she couldn’t do it, but she did. 🙂
    – I would venture to say that much of Marilyn’s 22″ waist measurement was attained with corsets. She was probably more of a 24-25″ waist naturally.

  • Kirsten Houseknecht

    with a 37 inch bust, a 23.5 inch waist, and a 37.5 inch hip (according to one screen test measurements for costume….) she would most certainly NOT be a size 0

    that is one size up from my fashion design standard dress form size 10 (which is more like a ready to wear size 8) so she would be a size 10/12 on the wolf dress form, or about a size 10 in ready to wear

    depending of course on what dart board the manufacturer used to create their size chart

  • Kirsten Houseknecht

    i will also say that relying on a studio to tell you a actresses weight, or measurements is laughable, ESPECIALLY back then.

    remember the studio manufactured everything to make their stars look good

    as to size? and how thin the modesla er these days? look at the measurements of the very first “Miss America” she would be sent to the chubby seat these days

  • Her bra size was nowhere near a 36D. With a 22 inch waist, she would likely have been a 28G or 26GG, although most women don’t even know these sizes exist because WalMart and Playtex and Hanes don’t even make them.

  • An obscure fact about MM:

    Early in her career as a model and aspiring actress – this would have been during and shortly after the war – she was an active and skilled surfer. Marilyn loved the ocean and was a good swimmer. She liked to spend time on the beach at Malibu and became friends with many of the crowd of young people who pioneered the surfing lifestyle in the area. Malibu was the center of Southern California’s surfing culture. Marilyn became an enthusiastic surfer and ‘regular’ on the local surfing scene, which, though little-known even in the area, grew into a huge subculture by the time she became a major star.

    Marilyn became famous for her beauty and striking blonde looks, but as a young woman was known among her surfing friends for her athleticism and skill on the waves.

    • AND she was much more intelligent than people realize. The dippy blonde like the walk (referred to in Some Like it Hot) was all part of Her act

  • MM was not ONE size, like ALL people her weight fluctuated sometimes very thin sometimes she has a belly -the size that never changed was her heart which was always monumental
    she was a beautiful lady but if you think it was all in her looks you are missing out on who she was which was a beautiful person and actress.

    she was also a RED HEAD not brunette as this article states.She had light red hair as a teen.

  • Even though you were guessing at sizes, I was almost the exact same measurements as a teen-20’s, 35-23-35 and 5’5″ and I wore between a 6-8. So now you are underexagerating her size , I think. Especially since I wore the same bra size! There is no way a 36D would fit in a size 0 unless you were bound like Milan as a boy!

  • Seriously. This woman was tiny. Did you even see the dress she wore to sing Happy Birthday to President Kennedy? The difference is, she had curves.

  • I could have guessed that this article was written by a man as soon as I saw the bra size. So bra sizes work like this. The band size is how many inches around your rib cage is, the cup is how many inches larger you are when you factor in the actual boobs. Which means that if her bust was 35″ around, there is no way a 36 inch band would fit her. A 36D is made to fit a woman who is about 40″ around the bust. Similarly a 38C and a 34DD fit women who are approximately 40-41 inches around in the bust but factoring that some women have a larger rib cage to bust ratio and others have a smaller rib cage to bust ratio. Now cup sizes have been scaled down over the years, which is why I’m 40 inches around in the bust, but a 32G (which is a full cup size larger than I would be based off of how bras are actually supposed to be measured). Assuming your measurements for Marilyn are correct, she’d probably be a 28G (keeping in mind that different brands label sizes differently when you get up above D)

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Jali: Exactly on the sizing discrepancies. The problem with all this bra discussion is, I think, the idea that there is a standard bra sizing system in place and that this has stayed constant from when Monroe lived to now. This simply isn’t the case, with, I’m sure as most women know, a 36D in one manufacturer’s estimation being different than in others, let alone from country to country and decade to decade. Women’s clothing and underwear sizing systems are a mess and need some agency to step in to set hard standards across manufacturers and the like. We men have it a bit easier there. 🙂

    • Jali, no small number of women are clueless about bra sizing. The “+4 or 5 inches” system used to be valid when materials weren’t (so) elastic, and the problem of oversized bands comes from women today adhering to that old convention.

      I would guess an underbust measurement of about 28″ for MM, but she may well have been a legit 34 band in her day.

      That said, you have a point in that this article was supposed to clear up confusion about sizing, and while it did so for clothes sizes, the same has not been done for bra sizing (as is obvious by the comments here).

    • The point is she was thin. Lets not worry over the bra size. She was size 12 back then, which makes her a size 6 today. I am a woman, and I shop vintage. So I know.

  • Oh, how i’d love to smack Elizabeth Hurley in the mouth.

  • I’m sorry but I do not believe this article for a second. All you have to do is look at pics of Marilyn back in the day and know that these measurements are bunk. By no means was Marilyn Monroe fat but she definitely did not have a 22 inch waist either.

  • i find it slightly bemusing the emphasis white folks put on skinny shapes, and especially this one person. I have seen other white stars from the 50s and she is NOT the hottest.
    and none of them meet sir mix a lots nor my criteria, you gotta have back!!!!.

  • Ok, for starters those ‘measurements” are when Marilyn was much younger. when she passed away she was 150 pounds. she always had a weight problem but that’s what made her beautiful, she was full figured. Look at the video at President Kennedy’s Birthday party. She was not small. that’s when she was a size 14-16. She’s beautiful no matter what size.

    • MM was 117 pounds at the time of her death. she was tiny at Kennedy gala. Have you seen the backstage pix?

      She was underweight, IMO, at that time.

  • At age 16 in 1964 I was a size 12,
    34 -22- 36, 135 pounds … not fat sizes were different then they are now…

  • She was a tiny and curvy woman of average height by any not forget that any photo gives an illusion of extra 10-15lb packed on your body…that is why slim and tall girls are such popular models … as to her jean size translated into modern times I estimated it to be between 25-26… yes, we do not wear jeans at waist , but we do not wear them at low hip either, where the widest hip measurement is…we wear them at high hip… and for the woman with such tiny waist and 35″ lo hip it would be size 25-26… 15 years of work experience in Fashion Industry …trust me..:)

    • Then look at a photograph of her and you will see the measurements cannot be correct, as her hips are significantly wider than her upper body and her breasts are not large by any standard, nor is her waist that small…we’re looking at 35-25-38…something in that area, she has a pear shape, not the standard hourglass one that propaganda has taught. Jayne Mansfield was 40-21-36, and when you look at photos of her straight on, you can tell. I’m beginning to think men can’t just not spell waist, they don’t know what one is, as someone posted photos of her from the side to show her tiny “waist”. It shows she has a flat stomach, the waist is the measurement all the way around, and hers is not distinctive in any way in photos straight on.

  • Matt Sowerssrsbry

    Ha ha! ‘Yank’ magazine! Oh man I wish they still were in business. That is priceless.
    Marylin Monroe had a great figure and she was hyper-feminine which let’s face it all men love sometimes.
    And she was in ‘Yank’ magazine hee hee hee

  • Great article. People work so hard to find excuses for their bad choices…

  • Her bra size is wrong. If her measurements were 35 chest, 22 waist her under bust ( band size) would be anywhere from a 26 to a 29 which would make her bra size around a 32 E. Putting a bra on that is 36 D ? Really…it would slide up every time she moved her arms over head… My measurements are 38 -29 -38 and I am 5′ 5″ a very healthy size … I wear a size 8 comfortably and a bra that fits 32 F perfectly… I weigh 150 lbs dead on… Some people call me chubby ( childless younger women lol), some people call me slim…( women my age who have had kids like me…I am 50 by the way…) I love my size…I used to be thinner in my 30’s I weighed 120 lbs but I looked awful… I am curvy and parts of me jiggle lol…every woman is different… and MM well she changed her shape continually…with each relationship and every movie…but know one ever noticed he acting skills did they…

    • Adrenne… there is a lot of discussion about bra size, above. And Monroe’s comedic acting chops are well-recognised.

  • A size two! Ha, maybe by Hollywood standards and no concept size. There are way too many other articles that contradicts what you are saying her. But hey I guess anything to make her perfect. Look at her pics and the pic of an average actress or singer today , she was clearly larger. She can’t be a size 2 if they are a size 2, that’s simple common sense. What’s a shame is if you really love her like you fans say you do…you would love her despite her plus size. Yup, I said plus size. Plus size does not equal fat. Get over it people. The average woman today is a size 10-12.

    • Whatever: your post is super-weird and hostile. Do you know who that woman is, in the photo at the top of the page, with the vanishing midsection? Even if the dressmakers’ measurements run small, the young MM had a size 00 waist, size 2 hips and a size 4 bust.

  • Well they also wore high rising pants back then. The waistline would cover the belly button. Her pants would actually be fitted at the waist and not around the hips. If anyone has seen the high rising pants before, you would now they round out towards the bottom, so her pants would of fit just fine. If she was still alive these days, she would probably be wearing leggings or hipster jeans that sit just at the hips. Her waist would be covered by a shirt 🙂

  • One small problem with this article, is that either the writer is a liar or the sources are. A bra size 36D means that the band size (below breasts) =36 inches plus add each additional cup size over A = 1 inch. If you do the math, her bust size would actually be 40 inches at the fullest part. This is exactly 5 inches greater than her supposed measurements of 35-22-35. I have some good photos of Marilyn when she started her modelling career at age 18. Naked, she looked about a size 4 in today’s standards to me. As she entered her 30s, she looked much heavier from drinking and I’d guess her to be closer to a size 8-10 in today’s standard. She lost weight again after a gallbladder operation, then gained it back. If you closely follow her pictures, it’s hard not to notice. She needed help getting dressed and didn’t wear underwear as she tried to squeeze her growing body into small sizes. If she were alive today, no way would she fit size 0.

    • thathatlady, it’s all addressed above.

      The “+4 or 5 inches” thing doesn’t work today, but the reason it’s hanging around is that it used to work. MM would probably fit into a 28F bra today — almost a sister size of 36D.

      The post only says MM’s *waist* was sub size-0 while her hip measurement of 35″ would require a size 4 or so.

  • Women really don’t get men, do they?

  • What is sad is that after all of the research you did you didn’t take the time to actually research what size she was when she was more plump. This picture you show at the top is the skinniest picture I have ever seen of her, and I haven’t seen a movie yet where she was even anywhere close to that size. Doesn’t mean there isn’t one, but I haven’t seen it yet. Some Like it Hot is my fave of hers, I would say she was at least a size 6 or possibly even up to a size 8 in today’s standard. If you’re going to be accurate, why not be accurate all around instead of just choosing one slant you want to make?

  • Where this exactly got started about her being a size 12 you don’t know? Why would you write an article about her if you don’t know this. It comes from the movie “The Misfits”. Her character says she’s a size 12 and Clark Gable’s character repeats it later. “Size 12” he says. THAT’S where it got it started – out of the horse’s mouth!

  • “…have to be sown onto her, …” *sewn*; *sown* has to do with planting crops.

  • I disagree, she wasn’t that thin, the 35 inches is bull, unless it was taken when she was at her thinnest period of time, when she make the movie something got to give.
    When she started she was 36-24-36 or around that, maybe an inch bigger, when she got fat and she was still gorgeous she was much bigger, I have seen Monroe next to Maria Callas, Callas was a tall woman and very thin and Monroe looked literally double than Callas. I can believe Callas was 35 inches, not Monroe whatsoever.

    So what if people are calling Monroe fat? even when she was fat and round and full she was still much more beautiful than most today’s actresses with better charisma, being little fat is not a bad thing whatsoever, Beyonce, Lopez, and so many super sexy women are round, have lots of meat on them and guys go crazy for them…..I don;t get that skinny mania size 0 thing, the woman looks overly thin and unhealthy, with no muscles on her, thats not very good at all.

    • This is insane! MM standing next to Callas is very small. Her bosom doesn’t look big, she’s extremely slender. This was the thinnest she’d been in ten years!

    • I’ve just googled a photo of her and Maria Callas and she looks absolutely tiny!

  • For all those people disbelieving this article, I’ve seen the dress she wore in The Seven Year Itch – it is tiny. The waist is incredibly small. I have a 24 inch waist and would seriously struggle getting it on. Keira Knightley’s dress from Atonement was at the same exhibition, and while the bust and hip of the two dresses was very different, the waist size would have been close to identical.
    As for sizing, (@ Autumn’s comment in particular), what so many people are clearly ignorant of is vintage sizing. I make my own clothes and own many vintage patterns. A vintage (1930s to 1950s) size 12 pattern has the measurements 32-24-34. You can do a search for yourself and confirm this. So while Monroe’s clothes may have been around a size 12-14 in the 1950s, sizes from the 1950s bear no resemblance to the same numerical size today.

  • The bra size stated has got to be way off.

    “35 inch bust; 22 inch waist (approximately 2-3 inches less than the average American woman in the 1950s and 12 inches less than average today); and 35 inch hips, with a bra size of 36D.”

    A bust measurement is the around the widest part of the breast. The number part of the bra size is the measurement of the rib cage below the breast, where the band goes around. With a 36 inch band size and 35 inch bust her boobs would have to be… concave.

    Source, and pictures:,901,30.html

  • Every comment about bra sizes that I’ve read had been wrong. Wow! You measure under the boob, then around the fullest part of the boob. How ever many inches apart the numbers are determine the cup size. So 36D is accurate, and you’re all idiots. You’re welcome.

  • Dev is right about bra size.
    I find it strange that people don’t know where the hips and waist are located. I was taught, way before ridiculous low rise jeans, your waist is where you bend sideways. It really is. Clothing is not sized the same even from brand to brand sometimes, and I don’t think it matters what size Marilyn wore, she was beautiful. Anyone who called her fat is either jealous, ignorant, or just plain stupid.
    That said, I wish they would quit making adult clothes for little girls, especially underwear. I just had to get that in there. Children grow up too fast and don’t need to be little me’s.

  • It’s actually not a myth that she was a size 12-16. It’s only that American size standards have changed. That’s basically it.

    According to your measurements, she’s actually still those same sizes in Australia/NZ. Her bust and hips are only an inch less than mine (but she falls into the same size category), and I’m a 12-14 in Australia.

  • Well holy carp. I had a 22-inch waist when I was 14, I remember because I had to bring in a dress. It was really tiny looking even on me.

  • Hmm. I am making no judgement about the attractiveness of either woman, as I think they are both lovely. But I will say that having similar measurements with a height difference of 5 inches means that Elizabeth Hurley is quite a lot skinnier than Marilyn Monroe. As a woman who is 6 feet tall, reading the measurements quoted in this article means very little to me except in the few cases where the height was also mentioned. My measurements are quite a bit larger than my friends who are average height, but with the same BMI as mine. Hopefully, we will get to a point where people won’t be so obsessed with the size of women, and just appreciate them.

  • I had no idea she was so short. She and Elvis also. But this poor girl had one crappy life. It seems she was taken advantage by every *hole around – except maybe DiMaggio but I do not know enough about him, but I think most men treated her like a slut – especially Jack and Bobby.Who got their just rewards.

  • Ok! So if clothing sizes now are designed to flatter us modern day greedy guts, how come when I was younger and much heavier I was wearing a size 16/18 and now much lighter I am measuring in at a size 16?

    I believe there is a larger game at play….
    melting women’s brains and making them buy into the diet and weight-loss culture where big companies have much to gain from insecure women.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Clare: When you were younger, were you more in shape, muscle-wise? Muscle weighs drastically more than fat and it’s why an athletic woman might weigh 145-150 pounds while a “skinny-fat” version of herself that just focuses on cardio would be much bigger dimensions wise, but might weigh 10 to 20 pounds less. I actually know a woman like this who tends to lose weight even as she looks fatter during times she stops her normal workout routine in favor of just cardio or nothing. Agree with your second point though, at least in some industries, but it doesn’t just apply to women. On that note, this article may be of interest to you.

  • @Daven Hiskey
    No I was way out of shape back then. I was weighing in at 15st.
    Now I am fit, healthy and a regular at the gym with a free weighs routine, core and a little cardio to keep my heart healthy. I still have some older jeans size 12 which fit me but shopping for our modern sizes I am the measurements for a size 16 according to most measurements and some places a size 18.
    I am a qualified fitness instructor so I understand that muscle weighs more than fat.

  • @Daven Hiskey
    No I was way out of shape back then. I was weighing in at 15st.
    Now I am fit, healthy and a regular at the gym with a free weighs routine, core and a little cardio to keep my heart healthy. I still have some older jeans size 12 which fit me but shopping for our modern sizes I am the measurements for a size 16 according to most measurements and some places a size 18.
    I am a qualified fitness instructor so I understand that muscle weighs more than fat.
    Yes women are mainly and traditionally targeted by marketing, it is also targeted at men and sadly children too.

  • The average American woman today has a 34-inch waist?

    F it, I’m never getting married.

  • Marilyn was 5′ 5.5″ that is well documented. Elizabeth Hurley by all accounts is 5’8″ exactly. So their height difference is 2 and a half inches, NOT the 5 inches Daven states. That’s a substantial difference.

    Interesting article but one would think that in a piece whose entire point is “accurate measurements” he would have gotten his facts correct.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @RIK: Depends on which sources you believe on her height. 🙂 If you know of one where Hurley herself says it, I’d be very interested to see it. We are extremely interesting in the finer details here on TIFO.

  • The firm fitting undergarments of the time helped give the hourglass figure with her waist measurement smaller than the average, ungirdled, woman today. It also, to some extent, stabilized her shape even through minor weight changes in a way that todays stretchy clothes, and stretchy girdles like Spanxx, dont.

  • She was pregnant a few times(that we know of) also lets no forget that…

  • The bra size issue is a common one. Women who were taught bra fitting in the 80s and earlier were all taught to take the underbust measurement and add 4 inches to get the band number. Modern bra technology renders the additional numbers unnecessary. It’s a bit like vanity sizing – so if you are going to put in that her bra size is 36D, you should point out that is 1950s sizing also (like the dress sizing, which is what this article is all about!). So, if you see a statistic like ‘the average bra size has increased from 34B to 36C since the 1950s’ (these statistics vary a bit), you actually need to drop 4 off the first statistic, so it’s a 30B to a 36C, which is much more in line with what we’ve seen in average dress sizes. People still don’t know about the change in general, and it’s causing a number of problems that are only slowly being corrected. Most places don’t stock bands below a 32, yet basically all size 0s, 2s and plenty of 4s should be taking either a 30 or a 28, which in the US (and Australia) is very difficult to find (it is much easier in the UK). Consequently many women are not getting the right amount of support, causing back problems etc. You can’t even trust the ladies in the fitting rooms, because often their training is so out of date that they can’t help you properly.

  • I don’t understand the commenters saying that they don’t believe the measurements when that is the one thing we have concrete proof of – the dresses!

    It does seem to have fluctuated though and she certainly looked considerably larger in her later years. I would be interested to know if any dresses from that stage in her life are still in existence.

  • Sorry, but back in the day those measurements were for a size 12. I was her size in the sixties.

  • Before the drugs and fake persona she was indeed a lot larger. And not blonde..

    The sizes used back then are different from those used today also..

    And I highly doubt she’d release her real measurements in the first place. It’s all Chinese whispers.

    Look at her picks ALL of them. Look at them over a 10 year period. At one point she’s super skinny another she’s a little pudgy and another she’s average for back then. Her weigh fluctuated and being sexy had nothing to do with her weight. It was her confidence and attitude, the persona she put on.

  • I have seen her dresses and it is clear she was tiny, this “size 16” thing really annoys me, afraid people are dreaming, stars in the 50’s where small but curvy. In the late 50;s ( some like it hot) she was a little heavier but most of her life she was a very slender hourglass.

  • By1962 she was super slim again, late 50’s was the slightly larger era

  • The Marylin Monroe was a size 12-16 thing has just been reiterated SO many times that despite the fact that we all have easy access to photos of Marylin Monroe, people just want to ignore reality & believe what they want to to make themselves feel good. Usually the people I hear screaming this over & over are bigger girls that seem to use the word curvy interchangeably with plus-sized, & have convinced themselves that if you’re not plus-sized, you’re therefore not curvy & therefore not feminine. A size 12 back in the 50s was equivalent to about maybe a size 4 or so of today’s sizes. Anyone with normal vision can see that if you compare a size 12-16 woman today with a photo of Marylin, there’s a huge difference. Brands cut sizes larger because people are larger now, & it’s good marketing, yet according to some people, they size everything tiny because they want to make us feel bad. I actually heard this conversation recently between 2 girls that seemed to think that since the average US woman’s size was a 14, therefore a 14-16 should be a size S, and 18-20 a size M, and a 22-24 L, and so on. Some want to believe that in this case ‘average’ means a medium sized person, but it doesn’t. And I guess those of us that are under a 14 can just shop in the boys section, being that we’re according to some just all unfeminine & look like adolescent young boys anyway. Friggin ridiculous.

    • Absolutely correct. I still have clothes from the 1980’s which clearly prove that they are deliberately making sizes larger. What is now a size 8 used to be a size 12. They must accommodate the denial and egos of so many overweight individuals.

      • me too…I have formals I kept from high school that have bigger size tags, and today most of my clothes are a 4/6, Xsmall… I could NEVER fit in my mom’s vintage clothes that were bigger sizes then, she was tiny. I am not tiny, small, but not tiny. MM had to be tiny…

  • Interesting article. I wish we could agree on some international sizing standards – it would make clothes shopping much simpler. The European ones (40, 42 etc) seem to be the most consistent. In Australia M is 12-14, S is 8-10 but each manufacturer is a bit different in regard to actual measurements. Even different ranges from the same manufacturer have different sizing.
    Since you appear to be receptive to comments by so-called “Grammar Nazis”, may I say that “Luckily, many of her dresses, carefully preserved, are still around to measure off of.” sounds clumsy. Is any preposition necessary or could you just stop at “measure'”? Or, if you must have a preposition, what is wrong with just “to measure off” or “to measure from.”
    I’m unsure why the redundant “of” after “off” has come into being – it is one of my pet linguistic annoyances along with “I would of.” instead of or “I would have” or (in reported speech) “I would’ve.” Poor little “of” is so overworked and not appreciated for his true identity.
    I do understand the time-consuming and tiring nature of proof reading and I like your undefensive attitude to your critics. I like the site because it doesn’t require me to waste my time creating an account before I can comment and the other commenters seem to have something to say rather than just point scoring.

  • Correction to my above comment. No edit function, alas.

    I’m unsure why the redundant “of” after “off” has come into being – it is one of my pet linguistic annoyances along with “I would of” instead of “I would have” or (in reported speech) “I would’ve.”

  • One reason Marilyn’s shape was great and weight so low is that she WORKED at it!

    I have 2 photos, one showing her doing bench presses, and another showing her jogging in the alleys of Hollywood, wearing sweats. She never made a big deal about it, probably even hid that “secret” as another way to preserve her image. Or perhaps the studios wanted to perpetuate her image of a magical goddess.

  • Marilyn could have been a size 12 in her day. Clothes are made much bigger now. They are made bigger now than they were even in the 1980’s.

  • You can’t have a bust measurement of 35 and be a 36 D… Your bust would have to measure at 40. So someone got something wrong in this “factually correct” article.

  • Sizing changes to reflect the rich so they feel good about themselves, really think about it, how can csize change on an item that is standard, you never hear of mens sizes changing do you? Who cares about size, all this media/celebrity stuff just feeds egos….

  • “I’ve always thought Marilyn Monroe looked fabulous, but I’d kill myself if I was that fat” – Liz Hurley … Sadly, she did kill herself! (depending on what you believe)

    Referring to individual photos of the person in question or even some of her dresses, does not give an accurate picture.

    It was also popular for women to be corseted or wear shapewear. Especially on film. Although it is also true that Marilyn enjoyed being naked.

    Marilyn Monroes weight fluctuated a great deal, throughout her career. At one point, she was what we today would consider overweight at least in media standards.

    Her weight went up and down so dramatically during the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl that the costume designer, Beatrice Dawson, had to create facsimile dresses in different sizes. “I have two ulcers from this film,” she said, “and they’re both monogrammed MM.”

    Whatever we believe about her size, she was nonetheless very unhappy with a fuller figure. She lost the weight and was really happy with her new slimmer figure, but sadly never overcame her problems with depression.

    So sad that even today, we are discussing her weight. She was a beautiful lady. I absolutely love Some Like It Hot. Admittedly, it would have been nothing without the fantastic comedic duo, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.

  • Ok, how could she have a 35 inch bust, but wear a 36 D bra?? That doesn’t make sense.

  • Just what I’ve been saying all these years…there is no way she was anything like the size 12-16 of today.
    Does that mean a modern size 12-16 can’t be beautiful? Of course not. But I believe that is why some larger women tend to cling to this myth that Marilyn looked just like them…they want to feel better about themselves and to be seen as beautiful, too.
    By claiming that she was “plus size” it makes them feel good in a society where thinness is often synonymous with beauty.

    Many bigger women can indeed be beautiful and charming and sexy, but it is a bit delusional to claim that they have Marilyn’s proportions when they don’t.
    I know somebody who is pushing 250 lbs. and loves to talk about how she is just like Marilyn. Is she attractive in her own way? Definitely…but to compare herself with a movie star who was teeny-tiny, yet had hourglass curves? No way.

    And I’ve been on both sides of the fence in terms of weight. I had a body very similar to Marilyn in my teens and early 20’s…slender, but with nice curves.
    Now I am overweight and I can be honest with myself about it. It doesn’t mean you have to hate your body or that beauty is about being skinny (it isn’t).
    But I think those that often talk about Marilyn being a poster girl for heavy women are delusional and misinformed. Marilyn had a very small frame…even some thin women who have tried on her dresses can’t zip them up! That’s how tiny she was.

    As to her bra size, I’ve often seen it stated as a 36D but I doubt that.
    I’ve read that sometimes she liked to wear falsies…she had a nice pair of boobs, but they weren’t overly big, more on the small to medium side.
    Most likely they seemed larger because the rest of her was pretty small.
    Sometimes people think that slender women can’t also be curvy, but Marilyn was one of the few with pronounced curves.

  • I see lots of mistakes on facts, but I see different facts every where on MM. I’ve read somewhere that she was 117 lbs, 34 C when she died (can’t find the website, sorry). I keep seeing everywhere that she was a 36 D. Maybe when she was at her biggest weight and that was about 140 lbs. I am 5 ft 5.5 (same as MM) and can relate. I have been about 118 lbs – 122 lbs most of my life, with a 24 inch waste (after having 5 children). When I was at my biggest (not pregnant) 138 lbs, I was a 36 C, last clip and it was snug. There is no way that she was 140 lbs with a 22 inch waste line. However, I’m sure when she was 118 lbs she had a 22 inch waste line.

  • Our bodies change often. I was 117 lbs in high school, with and A 32 bust. The smallest I weighed was after having my 2nd child was 100 lbs, size zero, or a kids 16 (stressed out). I was a B 32 at that time. And at one time, I was at 105-108 lbs for about 3 yrs. I was a B 34 during that time. After that I was 114 lbs for a few years. I was a B 34 during that time. When I got back to my normal weight and had 5 children, I was back to my normal weight 117 lbs, but this time I was a C 32. During pregnancies, I was D 38. And my highest non-pregnancy weight was 138 lbs, and a C 36-38 (last clip). So many details, but I wanted to show you all that our weight can fluctuate many times throughout our lives. Today I am 119 lbs, C 34-36. If you want to know MM’s weight and bra size, then look at each photo shoot and movie and match her up with someone that size. Her weight fluctuated, which means so does her bra size. Maybe I am wearing the wrong bra size but I do know that every time my weight goes up and down, so does my bra size.

  • Marilyn was a lovely size 12. Industry sizes have changed over the years, sometime in the early 1970’s a 16 became a 12.

  • I liked your article, and your commentators. NASA, NS3006 Bioastronautics said the average woman was 5’4″ 120lb, so she was pretty normal. Mad scientist Dev Singh said the ideal shape had a hip/waist ratio of 0.65, similar to the mid century magazine editor ideal of “36-24-36”. She was a fine, not far off average normal gal with a special spiritual quality.

  • Take into considersation that dress sizing back than is farrrrr from what it is now. Women and measurements ran smaller. My grandmother is a seamstress and has vintage patterns I always use to look through and the size charts are astronomically different, a size 10 is 32-22-32, a size 12 being 34-24-34.

  • I’m sure someone has already said this, but sizes were different back in her time. Naval uniforms are still sized based on old measurements so I was shocked when I was fitted for my uniforms and was given sizes 10 and 12 because I wore a size 4 in jeans at the time. She probably DID wear a size 12, just not today’s size 12.

  • You need to do your research. I am a size 6 in commercially made cloths. I am a size 14 in pattern sizes for clothing. I am a 16 in antique patterns. I am a seamstress, so I know measurements. This is a miss understanding, not a myth. 34:24:34 would be a mix of a size 10 and 16 (because, tailored) in patterns from the 50’s. Any sewist can explain in more detail if you have questions.

  • The proof that she was NOT fat is shown in the centerfold she posed for in Playboy. Her figure was flawless.

  • Fat girls all over America just let out a long, collective scream of, “Nooooooo!!!!”

  • WHY ARE PEOPLE UNABLE TO READ WELL?? From reading the article, I read that the sizes were different back then from what they are today. Also, so many comments. o_O

  • So Rosanne Barr who probably wears size 18 is wishing Marilyn was a 16? Go figger dat!

    This article still didn’t get it right. If miss MM measured 35 at her bust she would NOT wear a 36 D bra. For Pete’s sake, my wife wears 36 D, her bust measurement is 40.
    To get a PROPER fitting, measure under the bust around the rib cage. If that number is 36, now count up to the number at the fullest part while wearing a bra that covers properly. 37, 38, 39, 40. That’s 4 numbers. Count up 4 letters, A, B, C, D. That is the correct size and cup for 36 D.

    Marilyns’ rib cage was more likely a 31-32 which is the number she SHOULD have been wearing NOT 36. Her dressmaker might have been good at making dresses but didn’t know squat about bras. UNLESS, those numbers have changed drastically since the 50’s. But I doubt it.

    Pay attention, MM’s dress was too tight to fit a modern day size 4 dress form so that makes that dress about a 5-6.

    If the average American women now has a 34 waist it is because there are so many with a 56 waist projecting the “average” into the stratosphere.

    I do suspect waist sizes are moving upward because even my nieces and cousins are wearing slacks with a 28 waist and they are active girls, playing baseball, soccer, volleyball at school. They aren’t couch potatoes but they do still love their snack foods which I fear are high in fat content. And THAT I suspect is the reason Americans are getting chubby.

    Food manufacturers experiment with additives that will increase your craving for their product so you want it and don’t buy the other guys stuff. Oils and salt are added to increase cravings. Read the labels folks. A lot of our processed foods are not allowed in foreign countries because the labels are not full disclosure. To sell in foreign markets producers often have to have a factory separate of the one that makes for the US market because the “junk” can’t even be in the plant in order to be eligible for foreign markets.

    Most of the women in my family back in the 50’s when I was a kid would have worn a 6-8 dress by today’s standards. That would be up until they were in their 50’s. As they aged some began to gain weight but that was due to the need to slow down as the children moved out. The only really big person was my paternal grampa, but he grew up on a farm, and was a big man to start with.

    I suspect the reduced need for physical labor, less need for walking, and the higher fat content of our food are the reason Americans are now the largest people, on average, on planet earth.

  • Her tailor is lying, it is impossible to look that curvacious without being larger than he claims, both my mother, and my eldest daughter are and have been those exact measurements, very bony and thin looking, not shapely and full looking like Marilyn, everyone needs to happily accept that Marilyn was a well rounded fuller figure, there is no shame in looking great no matter what the tape measure tells you lol, i have that hour glass figure and most people cant tell what size i am, all i know is to have those shapely legs and round bum cheeks like she does she must have been bigger than the claims but honestly who cares, she looked great and it did her no good, so be happy and proud of what shape size you have…. its you! 😀 and friends and family will always love you no matter whatever the numbers are.

  • There is no way she was a size 4. My mother is extremely short and a size 4, her waist is tiny. My Grandmother is another that is woman very small. When I see pictures of Marilyn, yes she looks to be about an average size 12. 12-16 isn’t fat people. Where are you getting that mindset at? This seems to be another way of trying to make skinny more acceptable, then just looking at all different sizes and seeing beauty. I don’t think obesity is healthy what so ever, but curves shouldn’t be seen as making a woman look fat.

  • There’s some truth to it though misleading. A 35-22-35 would have natural waist size that of 0, but the drop waist size is that of a 14 and the bust is that. One thing is for sure. She would have a very hard time getting the right fit with today’s sizes. It’s possible such disproportionately small natural waist is partially due to growing up wearing girdles. I don’t know how often she wore them, but it was very common during that time.

  • My mother, who was in her 20’s in the 1930’s used to make her own clothes. She was a perfect size 12 in the patterns everyone bought back then. 34-26-36. The photos of her in those days in a swimsuit show she was trim and fit at 5 ft. 6 in. 130lbs. In the 50’s and early 60’s my beanpole college-age sister had trouble finding adult-styled size 8 clothes as they were so tiny. Most girls had already gone beyond that by the time they were wearing adult clothing.

  • Reading this (really nice) article and then reading the comments, one things is certain: The jealousy in today’s women is palpable!

    Apparently they forget we have eyes and photographs, and think they can throw out b.s. figures and Orwellian corrupted terms like “curvy” to compare themselves to Monroe.

    Sorry ladies. You’ll never ever ever be as beautiful as Marilyn Monroe.

    • I already am because she’s dead! And if she was still alive, she’d be almost 90. So yeah, most of us are more beautiful than Marilyn….

    • You have eyes, but you don’t use them! Firstly, this article is incorrect in so many ways. I’ve never seen such BS 2nd I’m the first female to say flat out, Monroe DID NOT have the measurements given, not even close. Your eyes should tell you that her upper body is much smaller than her lower body, which IS quite large, and her waist measurement is 25, not 22. She’s a pear shape, very average. She did not have big breasts OR a large rib cage, so common sense tells me that if her hips appear significantly wider, she cannot have the same measurements on top and on bottom. Compare to Jayne Mansfield 40-21-36 in photos, she appears to achieved this insanely small waistline! Physically, she is overrated. She is an icon because of her personality, presence, intelligence, femininity etc and that’s what all you shallow men should be focusing on anyway, any ravings about her figure is just plain brainwashing. You can’t have Marilyn as an icon, and Victoria Secret models as your current standard of beauty, so people get fixated on the size of her body as a way to reconcile these two seemingly incompatible sets of beauty. That’s what this fat thing is REALLY all about, you can’t be Victoria Secret Angel thin AND have someone as heavy as Marilyn was BOTH as the “most beautiful women in the world”, so the male brain tries to convince that Marilyn was REALLY the same size as women today…by comparing her to the national average instead of other actresses or models. I think Bridgette Bardot blows her away in both face & no comparison to their figures, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. All the women on here saying they have similar measurements, they do, & most actually better. The fact she has the #1 most common body type means there are quite a lot of women with her measurements. As for being jealous, that’s really stupid, she’s been dead since before any of us were born! What could possibly be the motive for being jealous of someone dead for half a century? You’re entitled to your opinion, and if you don’t want to use your brains or eyes, that’s fine too. I accepted the thinking she was a true hourglass shape before I read this article and looked up photos of her. If you look at her straight on, her upper body is more narrow than her lower body, her hips and thighs are significantly larger, that means she has a very average, the most common, body proportions. As for her persona, acting, etc, she was very very special and will always be an icon. But speaking strictly about her body proportions… The reason so many women had to correct the article is because it was wrong! You can’t diet your way to a smaller waist (unless you are fat), it’s genetic.

  • Watch “The Misfits” Clark Gable asks Marilyn if she is a size 12 and she says Yes. He says his daughter is a size 12. This is how it must have gotten started.

  • Your comparison of Marilyn Monroe’s measurements to those of a model when models are a good 5 inches taller are misleading. I have close to a model’s measurements…except for the fact that I am barely 5 feet. A particular wasteline (and therefore, most likely, weight) on 2 people, when one is 5″ taller, can be the difference of 4 points on the BMI scale…and the category of “overweight” is a whopping 4.9 points total.

    There is a hilarious quote from Modern Family’s Manny: “I have finally reached my goal weight. Now I’m working on my goal height”

    I’m sure you did your research, and your facts are straight about her measurements, but you can’t neglect the impact of height.

  • The first name “Marilyn” was inspired by Broadway star Marilyn Miller, with whom Ben Lyon (a former actor) had co-starred in the film “Her Majesty, Love” (1931).

  • She was never fat or a size 16 and it really irritates me when women who are really overweight say they can relate to her. When a woman is lucky enough to have a curvy figure with hips and boobs it has nothing to do with weight and everything to do with being lucky genetically. Who ever is saying she didn’t have a 22” waist, apparently Dita Von Teese has a 22” waist and looking at photos of her figure they look very similar.

    • Dita has been as low as 13” and made it to Guinness Book” as a result for that.

      Unfortunately, she should have made it for marrying that freak and low IQ as well. They divorced and she is back to normal waist – but she knows the power of a corset. So did women up until around 1968 – then it ceased.

  • Well when I got to this sentence I stopped reading because this is everything that is wrong with many men’s thinking: “At least a 22-24 inch waist is do-able for some with a significant amount of work via a great fitness routine and healthy diet.”

    It’s not doable to have a 22 inch waist if that is not how you are made. PERIOD!!!! For crying out loud, men’s pants only go down to 30 or 32 inch waist for a very, very thin man, yet we women are supposed to be able to be 22 inches? I am 5’9′ and when I was 16 I weighed 115, had about a 25 inch waist and 38inch hips, and measurements were 34-25-38 (not too far off from MM), but I was criticized every single day by siblings and my parents friends and kids at school about how much fatter I was than my thinner looking sister (whose genetics took more after my mom’s side of the family, than my dad’s) She only looked thinner because her hips were smaller: we shared clothes all the time! So I was constantly belittled because people chose to see us differently than we actually were!

    We are made how we are made, and we need to stop being told that if we put in a great deal of effort we can look better than the way we are made to look. No one ever, EVER says this sh*t about men! This double standard is why young girls and adult women become bulimic and anorexic. And the author can thank himself for being part of the problem with his insensitive unrealistic blurb.

    All of the male actors and comedians who are fat would have never made it on television or in movies had they been the exact same person, only female. Do you think for a second that the Honeymooner’s would have aired had the wife been the fat one? Or King of Queens? Or any of the other sitcoms where a thin hot woman is married to an ordinary looking fat man? And I am guessing that the only reason they let Roseanne have a sitcom is by choosing an overweight man to play along side her.

    You see the truth is most woman don’t care if a man is overweight but still healthy, we care more about substance of character. Women are never going to get that break. And worse yet we don’t even have to be “fat”, just being curvy make us fall into the category of overweight or fat! And by the way, MM would have been considered plus size today and she is drop dead gorgeous! (no pun intended)

  • Your conclusions don’t match your facts. I am 5′-7 and have weighed anywhere between 120-185 in my life, with slimmer hips than M, a rounder belly (even when fit, slim, firm), small waist, and large breasts. At my thinnest and fittest I never sqeezed into anything below a 4-6 on the bottom and a 6-8 on top, and my heaviest would have worn a 14. My prom dress at 120 in highschool was a 6 from the woman’s department that had to be taken in to account for my small waist. You see, you don’t buy women’s clothes according to the waist (the narrowest part of our body) but by the hip and bust (the widest). Clothes are not made for women with our shape and it would take tailoring to end up with a close fit. With her hip size, she wouldn’t have been able to fit into pants that small. My 5’5″ friend is considered plump today at 120. Marilyn, according to your measurements,would currently wear between a 6 and a 12 depending on her weight, and be considered very curvy. She would be told she was too fat and too short for fashion modeling today as Hurley indicates. At 5′-7 and 120 I would have been too short and 20 pounds too heavy, so at 5’5 and 120 NO WAY does she make it into a size zero. No way. You’re very confused. Look at her next to say, Lauren Bcall. That’s a woman built more like Hurley.

    • If you consider yourself “plump” at 5′ 5″ and 120# you’re not reading stats for Americans today. The Center for Disease Control has listed the average female size in the USA as 5′ 4″ and roughly 155# whereas other sites state that the average weight for an American female is 140# @ 5′ 4″ which is up from the 1950s by about 20+ pounds and 1/2″ in Height.

      For some odd reason, I distinctly remember reading, in the Minneapolis Times in 1960 (remember because it was the year Edgerton won the state basketball championship) that the “ideal measurements” for the American female were 5′ 4 or 5″ and bust 34″ (cup size not mentioned), waist 23″, and waist 34,” measurements that would be hard to obtain today or at least hard to find in the world of giant sized popcorn, HFC soft drinks (7-ll Big Gulp has about 38 teas of sugar in it), and very very high carb and sugar diets with hours spent at computer games and not outside (we would play outside for 2 to 5 hours per day after school and after supper).

      What is worse, is that for some reasons (not yet known but possibly due to in utero factors), the same exercise and diet today that was done in the 1950s and 60s would result in heavier weights, anyway.

  • Always thought she was a bit chunky.

  • Very badly written article which adds nothing to the extensive information already written about Marilyn. Spelling and grammatical errors make it hard to take article seriously. Author writes as if he is sharing new or unknown information but there is nothing new or unknown in this article as well as several inaccuracies.

  • Marilyn Monroe was trim. Jeans size means zero. Eyes seeing a thin body is all that matters.
    And besides that, she was hot. I’ve seen size 4 women who are unattractive and I’ve seen size 14 women who were amazingly sexy. You’re either hot or not.

  • Janet Marie Cooper

    Two other beautiful, full-figured women today are Tiffani Thiessen, who played Elizabeth Burke in the TV series “White Collar,” and Lady Gaga, currently starring in “American Horror Story: Hotel.” I would be curious to know what their measurements are and what sizes they wear, and how they stack up next to Marilyn…

    Does anyone know?? And please, no snotty remarks about Lady Gaga…Thank you.

    • Gaga may look OK, but her tits look like they have been trough 4 kids and a decade in the desert. Flat pancakes with nipples – she is one of the few who have some tit that should get silicone, as they currently look like a rock in a sock – when not in a bra to give them shape. SHE should get some rubber – vs Taylor Swift – who went from small but perfect to ridiculous C+ on a tiny body.

  • If she was 5’5″ and 118 pounds as this article state, there’s no way her dress would have fit tightly on a size 2 mannequin! More like size 12.

    • You’re crazy! 118 is very thin. I’m only 5 foot and that is around my ideal weight…she’s five inches taller! You must be friends with Ana.

      • If you are 5ft and 118, you can look fine, but you are 20 pounds over your ideal. My first wife I got her into lifting. She was 5’ 5”. She weighed 145 as a “hog” (her words), 122 when we met. 135 when she had enough – and began at the gym, and went from a 7-8 to a size 2, and 105 pounds, just doing basic, but real lifting, cardio, and low card life style. Otherwise no running or anything outside gym – just golf. She was hard as a rock, her once fat C’s were normal B’s, smaller yet at 105, but not absent by any means.

        Such a shame that some people (or women) you can regard as beautiful on the outside are still ugly people on the inside.

        Her top squat was 185, otherwise multi-sets at 135. Top bench at 135 for 2 reps, otherwise multi sets at bar, 65, 85, 105.

  • Elizabeth Hurley said that if she were as fat as Marilyn Monroe, she would kill herself. What a stupid thing to say, because people, won’t even remember, who Elizabeth Hurley was, in 50 years. No matter what people say about Marilyn Monroe, she will always be an icon of beauty, now, and forever! Ask any man.

    • Yet if Marilyn Monroe lived today, you wouldn’t know she existed. Hurley meant she couldn’t tolerate trying to get a job as an actress at that weight, and she would be right. That’s why there are no Marilyn Monroe’s today, although Kate Winslet did speak out against the magazine that airbrushed her making her look thinner. She said “I love my body, and my husband loves my body, and I’m insulted that they made my thighs smaller, etc both professionally and personally, what kind of message does that send to young women?” If you don’t like what Hurley said, then you can’t like Victoria Secret Angels without being a total hypocrite.

    • 50 years? Try one year. I had to go look up Elizabeth Hurley to figure out who this article author was referencing. Needless to say, while Marilyn lives on as an icon, Hurley has already had her 15 minutes and we’ve moved on.

      And your comment underscores exactly what Norma Jean struggled with her entire life. While she was Marilyn Monroe in moving pictures, off screen she was still Norma Jean. Her iconic larger-than-life celebrity status only fed into her own insecurities and fears. She was so insecure of her own talent and looks that, as was stated in the article, it manifested as physical stage fright. How she saw herself was not how others saw her. Oh, she knew how big of a star she had become and how iconic her image as Marilyn was, but that iconic size only served to feed her own personal insecurities so much so that she could never let herself own or become that.

      Additionally, because of her sex object status (of which she was acutely aware), she never could date men properly. She might as well have been the first Playboy bunny, because that’s how pretty much all men saw and treated her. The men didn’t want Norma Jean, that shy awkward girl who grew up from a broken home. They wanted a sex kitten dressed in tight fitting dresses, talking in that breathy quality with platinum blonde hair and looking like a million buck trophy. Even though she made a living at that, that’s not what Normal Jean was or wanted for herself after being disillusioned by the Hollywood machine.

      In other words, no man really wanted (or could) to get to know the real Norma Jean. Otherwise, the men would have found her the same as any other girl with the same fears, insecurities and desires including a story that wasn’t at all glamorous, humorous or intriguing. Norma Jean knew that and couldn’t really seek a relationship with a man because she knew she’d ultimately let them down. She wanted someone who could look past the hair, makeup and tight fitting clothes (and the spotlight on her) to see her for real. Because Hollywood is all about superficiality, she never found what _she_ wanted from a relationship. I believe she thought she could find that by marrying Arthur Miller, but in reality her Hollywood spotlight had shone too brightly even for him. She found at least kindred spirits in marrying Joe DiMaggio. At least DiMaggio understood the spotlight of fame in a somewhat similar way as Marilyn. So, there was at least that. Not sure how far the relationship went beyond that. Apparently it was not what Marilyn needed or else that marriage would have also lasted.

      Her fame ended up so iconic (even in her own time) that it really left no place for her to go as a person.

    • 50 years? Try one year. I had to go look up Elizabeth Hurley to figure out who this article author was referencing. Needless to say, while Marilyn lives on as an icon, Hurley has already had her 15 minutes and we’ve moved on.

      And your comment underscores exactly what Norma Jean struggled with her entire life. While she was Marilyn Monroe in moving pictures, off screen she was still Norma Jean. Her iconic larger-than-life celebrity status only fed into her own insecurities and fears. She was so insecure of her own talent and looks that, as was stated in the article, it manifested as physical stage fright. How she saw herself was not how others saw her. Oh, she knew how big of a star she had become and how iconic her image as Marilyn was, but that iconic size only served to feed her own personal insecurities so much so that she could never let herself own or become that.

      Additionally, because of her sex object status (of which she was acutely aware), she never could date men properly. She might as well have been the first Playboy bunny, because that’s how pretty much all men saw and treated her. The men didn’t want Norma Jean, that shy awkward girl who grew up from a broken home. They wanted a sex kitten dressed in tight fitting dresses, talking in that breathy quality with platinum blonde hair and looking like a million buck trophy. Even though she made a living at that, that’s not what Normal Jean was or wanted for herself after being disillusioned by the Hollywood machine.

      In other words, no man really wanted (or could) to get to know the real Norma Jean. Otherwise, the men would have found her the same as any other girl with the same fears, insecurities and desires including a story that wasn’t at all glamorous, humorous or intriguing. Norma Jean knew that and couldn’t really seek a relationship with a man because she knew she’d ultimately let them down. She wanted someone who could look past the hair, makeup and tight fitting clothes (and the spotlight on her) to see her for real. Because Hollywood is all about superficiality, she never found what _she_ wanted from a relationship. I believe she thought she could find that by marrying Arthur Miller, but in reality her Hollywood spotlight had shone too brightly even for him. She found at least kindred spirits in marrying Joe DiMaggio. At least DiMaggio understood the spotlight of fame in a somewhat similar way as Marilyn. So, there was at least that. Not sure how far the relationship went beyond that. Apparently it was not what Marilyn needed or else that marriage would have also lasted.

      Her fame ended up so iconic (even in her own time) that it really left no place for her to go as a person.

  • Marilyn, like Elizabeth Taylor will always be dolls. Amazing and beautiful. Elizabeth Hurley????? Who’s that????

  • These quotes are definitely fake. Also they don’t sound like anything Monroe would say at all:

    “If you’re gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty.”

    “Your clothes should be tight enough to show you’re a woman but loose enough to show you’re a lady.”

  • As a youngster I delivered newspapers and was present when the 1st Playboy arrived AND there was Marilyn posing naked. However as I seem to recall the shot was tastefully done. She was lying on her side and the photo was taken from above so nothing to offend was exposed. She was and always will be stunning to look at

  • I’m sorry, but this is a horrible article, it needs to be entirely rewritten. Women’s clothing sizes today are SMALLER than they used to be, and the more expensive the clothing the more tiny the size. What the “average” American looks like today has nothing to do with Marilyn Monroe, it reflects the obesity epidemic in this country. Only by comparing her to women of normal weight can you make any point of how the standards of cultural beauty have changed. For example, Adrianna Lima is/was Victoria Secret’s main model, her measurements are 35-24-36 as listed, but anyone with eyes can see she not only does not have a 24-inch waist, but no waist all…which brings me to….. a woman CANNOT change her waist size by losing weight! The most anorexic models are listed as having waists bigger than Monroe’s waist. To say you can “diet” your way into a hourglass shape is absurd, in women who are thin, even anorexic, have different waist sizes, and measurements for that matter, by GENETIC inheritance of body shape of GENETIC inheritance of fat distribution. You must be confusing men with women, not that many women actually carry their weight in their middle, although it differs by locale. BASIC BODY TYPES-There is pear-shaped (bigger hips proportionately than top) which is the most common, incidentally, almost all models fall into this category & THAT is the standard of today’s beauty, how much it differs from Marilyn Monroe’s is why some people think she is fat, by today’s standards she is fat, as the fashion & movie industry set these standards, particularly the fashion industry, as VS Angels are “the most beautiful women in the world” and even with breast implants they do not have an hourglass shape. (J. Lo, Cindy Crawford, pear-shaped) . There is straight or narrow (Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Naomi Campbell), there is top heavy (body fat stored in the top) almost always in conjunction with a wide waist (fat tends to store in the middle, but even if they are very thin (Adrianna Lima) the waist will not be proportionately smaller, and hourglass (Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Elizabeth Hurley, Pam Anderson, Jessica Alba, Britney Spears, Jaime Pressley, Gigi Hadid). There are a lot of mixtures of these 4 basic types, you would think Kate Upton would be a hourglass, but she genetically has no waist, her waist is not much smaller than her hips. If she loses weight, this will not change. It’s a combination of what part of the body fat is stored (where fat goes first upon gaining weight, and inherited body shape, both GENETIC.) You might not think of Britney Spears as a hourglass, but when she gained weight, it was obvious in her upper body and legs, her stomach and waist remained the pretty much the same, and she has a much smaller waist than average. There are no natural hourglass shapes in the modeling industry because women that are 5’9 or 5’10 have straight or pear-shaped body types. You say Elizabeth Hurley is 5’10, & I don’t doubt that it says that somewhere, but I seriously doubt it’s veracity, she would dwarf most of her co-stars. If you look up model measurements for VS Angels, almost all have larger hips than top, and maybe 2 say they have perfect measurements (same on top & bottom, with a 10-inch difference in the waist). This is untrue, as the cards have the measurements the Agency is selling, the “fitting cards” with their actual measurements are completely different. This can be proven by using your EYES, but it’s also recorded in several books that this is standard procedure. They also lie about weight. If Hurley is 5’10 and Monroe is 5’5 and they have the same measurements, Monroe will appear MUCH curvier due to having less HEIGHT to spread the weight around on. You can’t look up a few random “facts”, take them out of context, and get the truth. Moreover, some things are outright lies, like you can diet your way to a 22 inch waist! It’s possible if you have the genes for it, you can use body makeup to contour the appearance of a smaller waist, use clothing to make it look smaller, but these overly thin models with concave stomachs and barely a curve where their waist is supposed to be is proof you must be genetically built that way. Shorter girls generally have these proportions, Jessica Alba has a small waist, and her boobs are large in the context of her overall body fat, that’s where her body fat is stored first. Her hips and upper body are balanced.
    A few more things to consider about Monroe’s figure: 1) legs up to THERE are nice, but perfectly proportioned legs touch at the ankles, calves, and knees when standing with legs together. Modeling has no preference for leg shape & it’s modeling that has changed our idea of what “beautiful”, Monroe had beautifully shaped legs that would technically be considered short & stubby today as she doesn’t have 2) The “thigh gap”, thighs that don’t touch at all, can only be accomplished by genetically having VERY wide hips, and being very, very thin, and 3) you can have the proportions of a VS model and be considered extremely average in society at large but men will always respond to a hourglass figure and beautifully proportioned legs in general society. *I’m not sure about NYC, the model brainwashing may be overwhelming there. I know a girl who is 35-21-33 standing at 5’0 is a genetic freak (no breast implants). I’ve never known or heard of anyone else having these proportions, she is constantly hit on by men of all ages, everywhere. She models and people who see the photographs before seeing her always think she is very tall.(propaganda has taught us only tall women have good proportions, the opposite is true if you consider the actresses considered beautiful that are 5’0 to 5’5 (Eva Longoria, rated #1 by Maxim TWICE, 5’0, 4) If Barbie were a person her measurements would be 40-10-30 (I forgot the exactly, lol, but it’s something like that & is outrageously unattainable by humans)
    Monroe would be fat by today’s standards, the proof is that so many people today THINK she was fat! How and why is important as it reflects how our society has changed the ideals for beauty since the ’50’s…..she would be considered “fat” & told to lose weight if she was an actress today, which is sad, because she truly did have an amazing figure. HOW did the author get this job?

  • Hey, I was not being sarcastic or mean when I asked the writer, or whoever, how he got this job, I REALLY want to know.

  • Marylin’s measurements have been disputed for many years, let’s make the compariso to Lindsay Lohan who did the Marylin puoto shoot. 1 – There is no way on this green earth that Marylin’s cup size was a D, maybe a B-C, but not a D.(someone mentioned this prior) Lindsay Lohan is a D and her breasts are 2-3 times the size of Marylin’s.(must have been a padded D) Lohan is 36-24-35 at 5’5″ and 115 – similar to Marylin’s stature. Marylin(or Lindsay) are not fat by any standard, neither today or back then. You have to take into account, many factors.

    • yes , you are so right I am her size also. Those are b cups not ds are much larger. And Lindsay Lohans has implants..

      • TL;DR: Those are real and she has been shamed because of them. Yes, different ages and clothing and underwear choices have made them seem drastically different but I believe they are real, as an amateur expert of female breasts.

        I am not speaking in defense of Lohan or attempting to imply that implants are a bad choice for any woman. I simply want to point out that her breasts have the natural hang of large breasts. To be blunt they aren’t “teardrop” shaped, as so-called natural looking implants are (and I have seen many, many breasts because I was a topless dancer in my youth and have always been bisexual). Lindsay’s breasts are real, or they are such amazing fakes as to look flawed by fashion standards. Having seen large and small natural and enhanced breasts I know most surgeons would never cause such a sag intentionally, but the beautiful and natural breast, at that size, does indeed sag quite a lot because gravity has its effect on breasts, unless they are very, very small.
        Please don’t misunderstand me. I feel breasts are beautiful and “if you can touch them they are real!” and every woman should absolutely do as she pleases with her own body. I am only saying Lindsay’s breasts have the shape and weight of natural very large breasts. They were even edited out of the movie “Kirby” so as not to place impure thoughts in the minds of little boys. She was that young and was shamed for having developed to an “unacceptable” extent. I have to wonder if such criticism caused her to use drugs and fall back on eating disorders in an attempt to be accepted. That last bit is only conjecture. Thank you if you read this, and thank you more if you understand I would never dare shame any woman, even if she is very famous, for her body shape, surgery or lack thereof, etc.

        • Lindsay is anorexic looking, far from having a curvy figure. Where have you been?

        • You’re right, she’s natural and I hate that people assume(d) she had implants. I was skeptical at one point but then she went through her eating disorder phase and got very skinny, and her breasts shrank drastically as well, proving that they were real.

  • I am 5 ft 6 inches 35 -26 -35. I got news for you all I am a size 3 /4 and very fit. She wouldn’t wear a size 0. She was not a d cup but more a b cup. When she was pregnant her boobs swelled . So in reality she was a petite lady. All though her fat went more to her ass and hips. I wear my clothes very tight. I am real blonde I am sure get tired of hearing she was a blonde bomb shell. None of these women in Hollywood have been real blondes. so fake then they are now all that makeup. nose jobs , Botox and boob jobs, photo shopped I am a California girl so I know. She had surgeries chin implant ,nose job who knows what else.

  • 35 inch bust is plus size. A 35 inch bust is a UK size 10 to 12 or a US size 8. Most fashion models now have to be at the most a UK size 8. Plus she had thighs and many fashion models have bird legs, where their thighs are as thin as their shins.

    • Remember that the top measurement is more a width indicator. 32” small backed women with C and/or D cups look stunning when natural, because of the big tits on such a “small back” or frame.

      btw – Coroner Thomas Naguchi has stated many times what her size/weight were at time of death. As I recall from most recent reading and quote (besides his own book) she was 105 pounds, dehydrated (a 2 liter bottle of water would have added 4 pounds by itself) and that most of the capsules had not yet broken open.

      5’8” vs 5’ 4.5” is pretty dramatic – especially if the person is small framed and also wearing heels.

      While I think Hurley is absolutely stunning (though she must have lacked some talent otherwise Hugh could have had any of a thousand groupie fans vs a street walker!!), she would be closer to 5’ 11” in typical heels of Hollywood – where Marilyn would have been the same in heels as Hurley without shoes (the way I’d prefer to see both at their prime).

    • A 10-12 is small, not even close to plus size. Smh.

  • I don’t think it matters what size she was. You’re either hot or you’re not. And Marilyn was smokin’.

  • Liz Hurley is 5′ 8″, so only 2 1/2″ taller than Marilyn.

    • You say only, but many women won’t date a guy 2.5” shorter because “once they put on heels…” which is a stupid criteria – because if the heels look good on her, and he likes it al the more, why would the length of a ball point pen, in HEIGHT, make someone incapable of loving, unless you wear heels 24/7!

  • Janet Jackson is the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe. A child prodigy at acting, modeling, singing and dancing. Where does that level of talent come from?! GOD doesn’t randomly pick.

  • Her weight fluctuated too.

    • Funny, ha, ha. A huge meal plus a 6 pack of beer made my weight fluctuate too, like back when i weighed only 105#’s. But by the next morning, i would be back to 105 again somehow? I had to get to 40 yrs. old before i could get a big non- disappearing hard orb belly. M. M. was not fat! Maybe slightly plump but only if she was standing next to the Human Barbie with her 18″ waist at 5′ 9″ 97#’s with huge boobs, small butt, skinny legs, & plastic looking face.

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  • A good article – but the ONE thing that confuses me on this……by today’s measuring systems, you cannot be a 36D with a 35 inch bust…that’s literally impossible. a 36D means your ribcage is 36 inches around, and your bust is 40 inches around. (the cup is determined by subtracting the band measurement from the bust measurement, and each one inch difference is a cup; 1 inch = A, 2 inches = B, 3 inches = C, etc.)

    Either her bust measurement is wrong or her bra size is a typo. If her bust is actually 35 inches, and her waist is 22, then I’d venture that her bra size is actually closer to a 30DD or 30DDD, or something along the lines of that (a much smaller band size with a proportionally larger cup – a 30 inch band with DD or DDD would bring you to 35 or 36 on the bust, respectively. I myself am a 32DDD and it doesn’t look as wacky and weirdly enormous as you’d think when reading the letters “DDD”).

    But regardless, Marilyn was beautiful, and people need to stop comparing themselves to others. She wanted women to love themselves.

    • 60 year old woman here. In those days, and I think today as well, the band size is your under breast measurement + 4 or 5. Then the cup is the bust minus underbreast, with a letter for each inch. So she would’ve been 30 – 31″ around under the bust, and to be a D add 4 inches = 34 – 35″ bust. So totally consistent. I’m 34 F – 30″ under bust, 36-37″ bust.

  • Gene Autry has multiple stars on that Hollywood sidewalk, including singer and movie star. He was also a pilot. In one film, he is shown flying a airplane and singing to a photo of his girlfriend. That woman is Marilyn Monroe, who had no acting role in the movie.
    When World War II broke out, Gene said he would serve in the military. He was unlike John Wayne, whom John Ford never forgave for not serving in the military during World War II. Republic Studios warned Gene it would replace him as their main star of B Westerns. He served. They promoted Roy Rogers as King of the Cowboys. Roy was driving to serve in the US military when the war ended. A movie starring Roy’s wife, Dale Evans, was switched to include Roy. Gene become King of the Singing Cowboys. After Gene’s first wife died, he married the woman assigned by the bank to help him with his accounts. So she took over as owner of the California or Los Angeles Angels major league baseball team.

  • Gene Autry is the only person with all five kinds of stars on the Hollywood Walk of Face, including singer and movie star. He was also a pilot. In one film, he is shown flying a airplane and singing to a photo of his girlfriend. That woman is Marilyn Monroe, who had no acting role in the movie.
    When World War II broke out, Gene said he would serve in the military. He was unlike John Wayne, whom John Ford never forgave for not serving in the military during World War II. Republic Studios warned Gene it would replace him as their main star of B Westerns if he enlisted. He served. They promoted Roy Rogers as King of the Cowboys. Roy was driving to serve in the US military when the war ended. A movie starring Roy’s wife, Dale Evans, was switched to include Roy. Gene become King of the Singing Cowboys. After Gene’s first wife died, he married the woman assigned by the bank to help him with his accounts. So she took over as owner of the California/ Los Angeles/ Anaheim Angels major league baseball team.
    The dying words of Jimmy Stewart were that now he would get to see his wife again. The dying words of Joe DiMaggio were that now he would get to see Marilyn again.

  • I am size 16 too. but mostly because my bust is 45″. The rest is nonya. I am 5’11” and NOT fat

  • Barnaby Cricklespiff.

    Roseanne Barr is the size of a sewage pit.

  • Barnaby Cricklespiff.

    Or should that be Roseanne Barr is a sewage pit.

  • the trousers i have from the 1980s are a size 12 now and they were a size 16 then, and that’s in Britain and using the smallest sizes (shops now vary in size so much, it’s a gross inconvenience: in the 1980s, a 16 was so tightly defined that, if you wanted to wear nothing underneath it (as opposed to a shirt – we wore very loose clothing then) if you wanted something tight like a strapless evening dress, you had to buy a size 14, and if you wanted to be able to wear it over something else, for instance a jacket, you had to buy a size 18. I am now a size 10 in one shop and a size 22 in another. In fact, i was a man’s XXXL in one shop (which is off the scale in women’s sizes!) Worse, i am different sizes in the same brand some places. You must now try on everything you buy.)

  • I just saw “The Misfits” in which Clark Gable talks about buying a dress for his daughter and asks Marilyn what size she is because she and his daughter look to be about the same. Marilyn replies (in this movie which was written by her husband Arthur Miller) that she is a size 12. Of course, that was before vanity sizing.

  • Virtuous ignorance among the fat is an abomination. Eat keto or paleo and the weight just melts off and your health improves enormously and rapidly. You are fat mostly because you eat industrial food, designed to earn profits. PERIOD.

  • Even if Marilyn Monroe actually weighed up to 150 lbs,at 5’5″ that is NOT FAT. it is well within normal and recommended weight limits. Her BMI would only be 25. I really can’t believe that I have to even say this, because even at her heaviest she was far from fat. Just goes to show just how skewed our ideas of “fat” have become in today’s society.

    In addition for those who like to claim that being skinny is necessary for good health, that is not scientifically proven either. In fact scientists struggle to explain away the “fat paradox” in which those who are overweight (but not morbidly obese) actually have higher survival rates than those who are thin. Being underweight isn’t good for you either in terms of longevity. This isn’t the only study that has come to this conclusion–it also doesn’t address the negative health effects of weight loss dieting–especially yo-yo dieting.

  • She was SEWN into a dress, not SOWN. That would mean she was planted.

  • Something I’ve wondered about is how the ideal of feminine beauty changed about 1970 without anyone commenting or noticing. If you look at the actresses who were sex symbols ie not women like Audrey Hepburn or Katherine Hepburn, but Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Kim Novak, Maureen O’Hara, Jane Russell, and so forth, you will notice that they were all curvy, with large busts, broad hips, and narrow waists. The ideal was described as 36-24-36 ie a waist just 2/3 of the bust or hip measurement. Often the actress’s bust was more like 38 inches. After 1970 slimness came into fashion. Raquel Welch was about the last of the old guard.

  • AndromedaStrain

    I like Marlyn Monroe.greets

  • Ha! Rosanne comparing her physical self to Marilyn…now that’s funny! She(rosanne) lost alot of weight but she still a fat pig

  • Idc what year it is. It’s wrong to down grade women. Every woman is beautiful in their own way. Get with it. Marilyn was a beautiful woman yes but Rosanne is beautiful to. People should really watch how they talk to others especially women. Karma don’t play and will come for you and make you reap what you sow.

  • I have Marilyn’s exact bust, waist and hip (35-22-35) measurements but I’m 5’2 and i weigh 102 pounds. I wouldn’t consider myself plus seeing as I wear a 24 or a 00 and my jeans are still too big on my waist and tight on my hips