1970s fashion, vintage fashion

The Skinny of It All

Photo: Seventeen Magazine, 1975

I listed this Seventeen Magazine on eBay today. It’s from March, 1975, so I would’ve been thirteen (don’t judge). It’s full of interesting stuff, like an article on a young Ron Howard, and even has a Wella Balsam ad with pre-famous Farrah Fawcett in it. Good stuff.

But the thing I found interesting was the article they had about how to become a model. I’ve read the requirements from the 50s, but expected the seventies to be perhaps a bit more lenient. Alas, I was wrong. The article interviewed a recruiter who said that first, she made sure that the person was eligible, meaning that they met the height and weight requirements. What were they, you ask?

Models of the era had to be at least 5 foot 7, which is probably still fairly accurate. I think they prefer them to be at least 5 foot 9 now, but some smaller models have made it through (I’m looking at you, Kate Moss). It’s the weight that threw me for a loop: they had to be between 100 and 118 pounds.

100 and 118 pounds. On someone who is at least 5 foot 7. That makes her BMI come to between 15 and 18%, which is very underweight these days. Now, I get that people were much smaller then. I get that most models are kind of genetic unicorns who are born with a lithe, tiny body, but really? That’s what they encouraged? Add to this that this article was contained in the same issue that contained an article about anorexia and how it can be fatal.

I was really surprised. I get that sizing now is completely different than it was years back, and that bodies were generally smaller, but that would’ve been TINY even then. My sisters were tiny and they both weighed 95-100 lbs when they got married. They were 5 foot 1. My mom weighed 95 pounds when she married in 1953, and at 5 foot 6, her nickname was bones. I never really pictured models to be that thin until Kate Moss came along with her heroin chic look.

Are you surprised? And are you surprised that we still are only just starting to touch on the possibility of having normal sized people on the runway? Let’s do better, people.


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