The Miss Fat and Beautiful Contest, Circa 1960


British Pathe‘s latest treasure from the vaults is a beauty competition from the 1960s called the “Miss Fat and Beautiful” contest, in which a London store sought to find the perfect woman described as “a comfortable woman with the sort of statistics those old Dutch painters would have loved.” Though the mere title of the competition would be considered offensive today, I doubt that the competition was meant to be offensive or belittling in any way. The title of the news piece, “Plump And Lovely,” shows no direct insult, and you can tell by the news announcer’s excitement that this fashion show was kind of a game-changer for its time:

“Their proportions are what you might call generous, but that doesn’t mean that she can’t be smart. And at last the Rag Trade is waking up to the fact that the plump lass has just the same yearning to be glamorous as her skinny sister.”

I can only imagine the relief plus-sized women felt at the time when clothing companies began to design clothes that might actually fit, though I did find the wording a bit harsh when the winner was dubbed “Britain’s Most Glamourous Fatty.” Still, I was stoked to see that my personal favorite of the bunch — the competitor who had won the title of Miss Scotland eleven years earlier — won the crown.

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