One of the misconceptions about vintage clothing is that, without exception, It Is Tiny. Clothing for modern sz 0 -2. Granted, much is too small for the average American woman, who is taller than her predecessors, and correspondingly wider in the shoulders. And yes, the average size today is much larger than the average size of women in the 1930s - 60s, much less the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
This blog isn't the place for a treatise on obesity in America - there are certainly no experts on that here. But after 30+ years in the theatrical costuming business and 20 years in vintage clothing, I do know younger people are bigger than they used to be. It's not just people adding pounds as they age.
That said - there are still slim folks who want clothing, and vintage shops are great for that. Far better than thrifts and consignment shops, where the small size selection is getting leaner and leaner. But here's the message for today. Not everyone was a 32 "- 34" bust and a 24 - 25 " waist, even in the Victorian era. Over the years, I have carried a number of ladies and even a few mens garments in larger sizes. The scarcity today is a result of fewer of those sizes being manufactured, and more of them being worn out by the original owner, or subsequent wearers. One memorable dress from the 1890s was tall enough for a 6' tall woman and had a 44" bust.
Now if a woman has a bust over a 38" and a waist over 30", she may have to hunt a bit. But good things are out there. My one strong recommendation is: If you wear a large size in vintage, and find something that fits - Buy It. You really won't find another. Some periods are better than others for larger sizes- the late Teens and 1920s, the loosely fitted 1930s and early 40s, and the softer draped styles of the early 50s.
Let's take a look at some of our new offering in June that aren't Tiny. Granted, they aren't XL either, but they sure aren't Sz 2s.
Bust: 38" , Waist: 29", Shoulders: 17" with skirt waist: 27.5"
Bust: 40", Waist: 32" , Hips: free
Bust:approx. 42”- 44” Waist: 42"
Bust:38" , Waist: 29" , Hips: 40"
Bust: 38", Waist: 28", Hips: 42"
Bust: 38" , Waist: 30" , Hips: 48"
all currently available at Past Perfect Vintage Clothing