Let's Talk About the 'Queen Size' Fashions of the 1970s

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Retailers and designers have spent decades dithering over what to call clothing available in bigger sizes. “Chubbies” blessedly died with the 1950s and for now, “plus-size” is the go-to. Largely out of fashion: “Queen size.”

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But at one point it was a popular term, and searching Google’s newspaper archives for samples of “Queen size” fashion featured in ads turns up some truly alarming styles from the late 1970s, specifically. The patterns, oh God, the patterns. For instance, here’s a 1979 look advertised in a “Pic n’ Save Drugs” circular that fairly screams “housedress.” And yet it’s very hard to find any actual dresses labelled “queen size.” Just tops that look like cut-down muumuus.

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Also from 1979, this polyester tent is giving me vicarious heatstroke.

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Note that dresses apparently don’t extend beyond “ladies’” sizes.

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Wow—acetate AND nylon! My cup truly runneth over in 1976.

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1977. I see the “shirt that looks great in advertisements but you know’s gonna be iffy as hell once you get it home” is not a new plus-size shopping experience.

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What’s funny about this 1980 ad is how much those tops resemble what many retailers are still peddling to plus-size women today. (You see that bit about the “hard to fit” figure pop up several times in these ads.)

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This comparatively cute top from 1977 wouldn’t be out of place on ModCloth today, either.

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This 1972 hosiery ad is a little charming, though.

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Start running searches for “full-figured,” though, and you’ll start seeing more 1980s fashions that look stylish by comparison. 1982 never looked so good:

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This shit from 1986 looks downright wonderful.

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Anyway, I’m gonna go clutch my modern-day wardrobe close to my breast and softly whisper, “Please never leave me.”

Senior Editor, Attic Haunter, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

whatever, I don’t think you can call a garment “queen-sized” unless it has cartridge pleats and a collar or ruff with a diameter of at least a foot.

There we go.