So What Size Was Marilyn Monroe?


Over the years, there has been a lot of controversy about Marilyn Monroe’s size and measurements.  We are not sure where it all began nor do we know the true origin of the myths surrounding her size, but we do know that the public at ‘large’ is only dreaming if they think she was ever a size 16.

All over the world and in Hollywood for sure, new rumors spark up every single day over the size of any and all famous actresses and models. We’ve all seen it waiting in line at the grocers glaring at us on the front cover of the tabloids. They like nothing better than to blot out a face and ask the general public ‘who’s body is this?’  And though she has been gone for over 50 years now, Marilyn is still no exception to this.  Even today, the controversy over what her true measurements were still cause major discussions.  Most of what we have found being touted as truth, is there to only try to convince a much ‘larger’ world that she was between a 12 and 16, pretty much what the average woman’s size is today.

Fortunately for us, documented research has been done on Marilyn’s body type and her dress size. We hope to answer once and for all – did Marilyn Monroe’s measurements really equate to size 12 – 16?


Let’s look at some facts:

~~Women’s sizes today are nowhere near comparable to sizes back in the 1950s. The number sizing system has changed significantly over the years. Just go up in your Grandmother’s attic and find an old McCall sewing pattern if you don’t believe us. In fact, the United States Department of Commerce stepped in during the 1980s to completely change the sizing system used throughout stores. A size 8 today would be about a size 16 in the 1950s.

~~Marilyn Monroe’s body shape was an extreme hour-glass.  Her size was measured by one of her dress makers and released as 5’5” tall, 35” bust, 22” waist, and 35” hips. Her bra size was 36D. During Marilyn’s time, her waist was about 2-3 inches smaller than the average woman in America and by today’s average she was 12 inches smaller.  (McDonald’s fries anyone?)

It’s a good thing her star-status gave her the ability to spoil herself with custom fitted clothing. Any woman, even today, with the spectacular hourglass shape similar to Marilyn’s would have a hard time finding clothes that fit in a regular department store – you can forget Wal-Mart for sure.

Throughout Marilyn’s career, she had a lot of weight fluctuations due to depression, illness, and other personal problems that she fought with. especially during the final years of her life.  However, even at her largest, she was still small by todays standards. People often talk about how she was about the same size as the average woman today, that’s just wishful thinking by a culture that has put on a few pounds.

The average woman’s waist size today is about 34 inches whereas Marilyn’s waist size was only 22 inches. Models in her time had an average waist size of about 25 inches.  Even by the standards of the day, Marilyn was small.  By today’s standards, she would be VERY small.


So, once and for all, Marilyn was not a 12 or 16.  Not even close.  She was more like a 4 or 6 with a special need to have the waste taken in on everything! And no one can argue, that by the standards of yesterday or today, all dolled up or just relaxing with a good book, Marilyn is beautiful!


K.R. and T.L.

Twitter: whatsheknewbook





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