And in those days a size 14 was only as big as today's 10.
So you'd have to wear a lift-and-separate bra (Playtex or Maidenform?) and a girdle and stockings and suspenders. Like those women in Mad Men.
But, heavens, those frocks were pretty. I remember when they were still advertised in magazines, although by then they seemed very old-fashioned. Not that my mum could have afforded a cotton dress that cost £7 in the 1950s. These were dresses for honeymoons and garden parties. The Queen and Princess Margaret wore them on Caribbean tours. You could tell an Englishwoman abroad by her Horrockses' frock.
I loved this exhibition. I spotted a strappy magnolia print in pale yellow cotton that was so Betty Draper.
I loved the black and white gingham banded with blue roses, with a little bolero the colour of the sea in Capri.
And the witty summer frock, printed with slices of pie and other treats, that dated from the last days of rationing.
I got chatting to a pretty young intern who was wearing a lilac-coloured floral stripe ... Was it Horrockses? Yes, it was. As crisp and fresh - she let me touch - as it must have been in that 1950s summer when it was new. I wonder who owned it first? She bought it on E-bay, she said. For £32.
I'm not sure what I envied most, that lovely dress - or her slim waist!
On the way home, I caught a screening of a 1953 movie. I nodded off and nearly missed Deborah Kerr in the surf.