1920s-1960s: “Calling all Chubbies” ads

Calling All Chubbies 9

Sources: Attic Paper; To the Twenties; Found in Mom’s Basement; Pieces of the Past

7 Responses

    • Perdita

      It’s just like the size 14-34 catalogues today… they use the size 14 model not the larger one. It’s all relative! Plus if they DRAW them, they can make out the ‘slenderizing’ makes you model size.

  1. Avatar of robinlawjones

    Exactly! And just the idea of “chubby” as appropriate sizing category. I remember the “chubby” sizes for children in the Sears catalog. Even as a 6-year-old girl (not “chubby”) i found it offensive. But then my curiosity took over and I said “Mom, do we know any Chubbies?” Would Mary be a chubby? How about Bonnie? My mother (also slim) said there were no chubbies or SEARS huskies in Minnesota.

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  2. Mer

    I don’t think it’s offensive. For the time, it was just marketing to the less common figure, but mostly very positively. Chubby was just a fact of life for some people, and pretty clothes were harder to come by; larger sized things were plainer. That term, and “stout,” were generally neutral. Now if the children’s clothing was touted as “slenderizing” in the ads, that might have been rude, but they were just saying “here are your half sizes.” On the other hand, it’s ordinary enough in any era for many women to want to appear more streamlined. And while there were actual obese people, they were very much less common; most people might only have known one or two.

    Things change. As late as the end of the 1970s, my size 9 feet were considered rather large, and girls with larger ones had many fewer choices; most of which were less attractive, as well. Previously, most girls were shorter and smaller, and so were their feet and dress size. Not all, but the majority.

    • Ella

      Yeah but then why are none of the images (or at most one or two) featuring ACTUALLY chubby people?

    • Ella

      What I mean is, there is no period in history where some of these women would be considered chubby. “Plump” was a desirable body type in the mid 1800s up to about the 1920s. And none of these women even fall into that category.

      Were these definitions different then? For example, was a straight waist once considered the hallmark of stout? (So no matter how slim your arms or legs were, a straight waist is a stout waist? I could buy that)

      It doesn’t add up otherwise.

  3. Adam Carlo

    I was going to say that not a single woman in any of those ads did I find to be overweight or even just voluptuous. It’s funny how attitudes on weight have changed over time.


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