The Full Skinny: Marilyn Monroe Was Tiny...and So Were Rita Hayworth, Judy Garland, Grace Kelly, Barbra Streisand, And More
In my Bloomberg View column on the Debbie Reynolds collection auction, I cite some of the waist measurements Lisa Urban took from the costumes. But column prose didn't allow for the full inventory, which should be kept for historical interest. Here, in alphabetical order with links to the photos (much better than my snapshots) and auction results for each costume, is the full list. The numbers are the auction lot numbers. In a decision I now regret, I did not request a measurement of Audrey Hepburn's My Fair Lady Ascot dress, because everyone knows she was thin, the same reason I didn't ask Lisa to take any Katharine Hepburn measurements.
The biggest surprise to me was that Deborah Kerr's waist was as large as 24 inches. Her costumes, particularly the black gown from An Affair to Remember, are strikingly svelte and, like Marilyn's white dress, couldn't be fully fastened in the back, as you can see by my photo of her Catherine Parr gown. I was also surprised that the Ginger Rogers dress had a 24-inch waist. It looks even smaller in person.
Claudette Colbert - waist 18"
Greta Garbo - waist 24"
Judy Garland - waist 22"
Rita Hayworth - waist 24"
Grace Kelly - waist 23"
Deborah Kerr - waist 24"
Hedy Lamarr - waist 22.5"
Carole Lombard - 21"
25. Connie Randall beige gown, No Man of Her Own (no, I did not touch it when demonstrating how tiny it was for the photo)
Marilyn Monroe - for these four dresses her average waist is 22" and bust is 34"
Mary Pickford - waist 20"
Ginger Rogers - waist 24"
Katherine Ross - waist 24"
Barbra Streisand - waist 24"
Elizabeth Taylor - waist 19.5"
94. Peaches O’Day purple, Every Day’s a Holiday - waist 24"
545. Leticia van Allen beige gown, Myra Breckinridge waist 26"
Many thanks to Lisa Urban for generously spending the time, during a very busy period, to get these measurements on the record.
[Photos by by Virginia Postrel. Full Flickr set here.]