When I look at old photos, I often find evidence of poor fit in the clothes that older women wear. That’s because women’s bodies naturally change shape in the aging process, broadening backs and rounding bellies, etc. These changes are not factored into standardized sizes. Most often the clothes look too tight in key areas.
This photo shows that being too small also is a difficult problem. Clearly dressed for a special occasion, given her stylish veiled hat and corsage, this Asian American woman is literally swimming in her double breasted suit, which is too large everywhere you look—in the shoulders, the chest, the hip. Only the sleeve length looks appropriate for her small frame.
In my sewing alterations classes, I have learned that when clothes are several sizes too large for someone, the only way to make them fit well is to take them apart. Essentially you have to start over, recutting the shoulders, bust, waist, and hip. That is what would be needed to make this suit fit well.
I imagine there is a poignant story to explain why this woman, who cared about style judging from her hat, didn’t have the time and/or money to get her suit to fit.