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Marilyn Monroe in a Potato Sack Dress (1951)

In 1951, Her film studio wanted to prove that Marilyn Monroe would look good in a Potato Sack Dress…

Marilyn Monroe - Potato Sack Dress, 1951

Well, indeed…

The story behind this 1951 photoshoot appears to be contested. Some say it was a response to a journalist who criticized Monroe’s less-than-modest clothing, calling her “cheap” and “vulgar,” and saying she’d be better suited to a potato sack. Another, more complimentary version says the pictures were inspired by a comment that Monroe could make even a potato sack look good. Either way, it’s an endearingly defiant move on her part—eschewing her obvious bombshell typecasting to do something funny and kind of trashy. I can’t help but think John Waters would approve.

The pictures inspired an Idaho potato farmer to send her a whole sack of precious spuds, but Marilyn Monroe never got to enjoy them, saying “There was a potato shortage on then, and the boys in publicity stole them all. I never saw one. It just goes to show why I always ask, ‘Can you trust a publicity man or can’t you?'”

More black and white photos with Marylin Monroe in this “special” dress.

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