Posts Tagged ‘Fit Advice’

How to Properly Take Your Measurements

When all sizing isn’t created equal, knowing your measurements can make shopping and ordering clothing online a bit easier.  Do you order 2 sizes and then send one back?  Have you realized that a size medium isn’t the same across all brands?  What does size 8 really mean?  The mystery of sizing is a boggling one, but if you know your measurements, you’ll have the ultimate shopping power on your side.  In fact, most women are wearing the wrong bra size because they don’t know how to measure themselves correctly.  So grab your tape measures (or a piece of string) and let’s get started.

hot to take your measurements

What you’ll need.  A dressmaker’s tape (like this one) is perfect, but you can always use a piece of string and lay it against a ruler to calculate the length.  A mirror is helpful, as well.

Key points to remember.  Take your measurements over the undergarments that you plan to wear or usually wear.  I’ll discuss proper bra sizes in another post.  Keep in mind that certain undergarments will alter the shape of your body and can make a difference in your sizing.  Yes, I’m talking about heavily padded bras and shape wear.  We’re looking for your true size right now, so don’t worry about sucking it all in and pushing it up.  Definitely don’t measure over your clothes.  They’re bulky and it will not reflect your true size.

The 3 most popular measurements are bust, waist, and hip – in that order. 34-28-36, sound familiar, right? 

Taking your bust measurement:

Wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your chest (about nipple level) until it meets.  It should be just the slightest bit snug.  Don’t let it droop, but for goodness sake give yourself some breathing room!  This number is your bust measurement.  Take note, this is not your bra size.

Taking your waist measurement:

Wrap the tape measure around the narrowest part of your waist, near your belly button.  You can do a side bend to see where the natural part of your waist really lies.  Again, don’t cut off your circulation.  This isn’t a number competition.  It’s your size and you need to breathe!

Taking your hip measurement:

Wrap the measuring tape so that it falls across the fullest part of your butt.  It can be slightly above or below your actual hip bone, as we are all different.  Make sure the measuring tape is parallel to the floor for an accurate result.  Again, your magic number is where the end of the tape meets the rest of the measuring tape.  When it comes to design and sewing, the hipline typically falls around 7 to 9 inches from the waistline.  We’re all different, so don’t worry if yours isn’t exact.  This may give you some insight into why that one dress wasn’t sitting quite right in the fitting room.  

Embrace your numbers, ladies!

You can now use these 3 numbers to compare your size to items you’re about to purchase!  You don’t have to worry about exact measurements, but round up if you’re in doubt.  A 29 inch waist would work well in a structured dress measuring 30 inches.  Otherwise you will not be able to breathe!  You might get away with a smaller size if the dress is stretchy, but too tight is unattractive, as is too big.  Usually companies provide a measurement range to correspond to their sizes.  Also keep in mind that some people have long torsos and others have shorter ones.  If you try on a dress, but the waistline seam isn’t sitting on your actual waistline, it might look a little funny.  Each brand is different, so don’t feel bad if it doesn’t fit!  I have a long torso and there are simply some brands that I can not wear if they have a defined waist.

That’s it!  Take your measuring tapes and newly discovered powers and run with it!  I can’t stress enough the importance of correctly fitting clothing!  Stay tuned for bra measurements!

Vanity Sizing: A Fitting Room Debacle

Vanity Sizing, waist measurement

Vanity Sizing Image Credit: Amanda Gill

 Clothing sizes are not created equal and a size does not define you!

The Sizing Predicament.  Sizing standards in clothing are not the same across the board.  Much of it has to do with location, the brand itself, production facilities, and quality control.  I’m a size 10 at BCBG Max Azria, an 8 at White House Black Market, and a 12 in H&M button downs.  Needless to say, I carry 3 or more of every style in a variety of sizes into the fitting room to compare.  Sometimes you even have to try on 2 or 3 of the same size, since the quality of production always varies slightly.  One size 8 may be too tight and another that is exactly the same may fit perfectly.  I’m the girl who measures pants waistline against waistline to see if there is a half-an-inch difference in the same size.  Sales associates see me coming with my pile of clothes and bolt to the other side of the store.

How is Sizing Developed?

Every company has their own sizing methods, often based on the body shape of their fit model.  The model’s body style is used to develop patterns and samples for the garments designed by each company.  All designers have a target market and a certain type of person that they envision for their clothing.  Patterns are developed and graded (expanded for the company’s size range) based on their customer.  Because our figures are all different shapes, sizes, and lengths, each brand fits differently.  This can make shopping quite difficult and often very frustrating.  If you wear a size 4 in one store, you may not be happy going up a few sizes in another.

The Vanity Behind Sizing Psychology. 

The size is just a tiny little number inside your clothes, but for some reason it means the world to a woman.  Retailers are now participating in what is referred to as vanity sizing.  Clothes are created at one measurement, but marked a size or so smaller.  Women regularly purchasing a size 12/14 are now suddenly squeezing into an 8 /10 and they are ecstatic.  It sure is exciting to go down a size, but wouldn’t it be easier if sizing corresponded to your proper measurements?  I know my true measurements and I’ll gladly admit that they aren’t comparable to a size 2.  Clearly, there is an issue when I am wearing a size 2 in a certain jean, when I have a 28-inch waist.  It doesn’t make me feel better about myself, it just makes my shopping trip a little more hectic.  If I’m new to a store, I now have to carry a range of four sizes into the fitting room before I can figure out where I fit in with that particular brand. In my shopping travels I have noticed that higher-end, more expensive brands run larger allowing you to purchase a smaller size.  Cheaper brands are sometimes cut small, especially if they are appealing to the junior, teen, and early twenties market.

A Sizing Change has Occurred

Sizing has changed over time.  It is a widely known fact that Marilyn Monroe ranged from a pant size 8 to a dress size 12 during her career.  Dressmakers claim that her measurements were 35″–22″–35″.  In today’s sizing standards, Marilyn Monroe would be a size 0 or 2.  Obviously, sizes are not the same as they used to be.  Historically, it is evident that people having been growing over the years.  Two-hundred years ago, people were built smaller and shorter.  As times changed, people have evolved and so has sizing.  If you ever have a chance to visit a historic costume exhibit, you will notice that the clothing is very petite compared to that of today.  As a general rule, you can’t base your sizing on what you wore when you were younger.  The standards (or lack there of) have changed.

A Size Does Not Define You.

Here’s some wise advice:  ignore the tiny number on the tag and look at the fit of the garment.  Don’t buy something that is too tight because you’re self conscious about going up a size or two.  It will be unflattering and uncomfortable.  No one will know precisely what size you are if your clothes are fitting correctly.  If the number on the tag is causing negative thoughts about your body image, just cut it out of the garment.  Simply forget the number and focus on feeling good.  Sizing is so varied, that it is relatively meaningless when compared across a broad spectrum of brands and retailers.  Clothing that fits properly is more important than any silly number and can bring you a wealth of confidence, whether your waist is 24-inches or 62-inches.

So in your shopping travels, don’t get discouraged by a number.  Base your decisions on what fits and feels good and I promise that you will be a lot happier with yourself in the end!


5 Swimsuits for all Silhouettes

Swimwear Silhouettes

Even though it’s the middle of Summer for us Northern gals, it’s never too late for a cute bathing suit.  There are styles out there for everyone at every price point.

1.  Classic halter with serious sex appeal:  Norma Kamali Bill Ruched Halter One-Piece Swimsuit available at Bergdorf Goodman.  This suit is a vintage inspired silhouette that will stay in style for ages.  It is very flattering for a large bust and appears like a bikini with a revealing back.

2.  Bright and trendy.  ASOS Leaf Print Caged Bikini is perfectly on trend.  At an affordable price, it would be perfect for one or two seasons.  This suit would flatter a thin, toned, and straight-lined body type because of the caging.

3.  Flowing tankini:.  Profile by Gottex Tutti-Frutti Flyaway Tankini available at Bloomingdales.  I love the bright blue tankini paired with a subtle black bikini bottom.  This swimsuit is flattering for most body silhouettes, even those of you with a baby bump!

4.  Multiple styles in one print:  Trina Turk Zanzibar Underwire Bra and Twist Sash Hipster.  For bold bright prints, Trina Turk is the best.  You can find the Zanzibar print in a variety of styles, allowing you to mix and match.  There are even pants and a maxi dress available in the same print!  The particular swimsuit above features an underwire bra, which will add just enough support to surf the waves with confidence.

5.  Take away tan lines:  Verao Agora Gau Bikini available at Anthropologie.  You really can’t go wrong with a solid color bikini.  It will stay in fashion for many seasons.  Bandeau tops are perfect if you don’t want tan lines along your shoulder line, but beware if you plan on heavy ocean swimming.  Stick with tanning or else you may come up with less than you planned on.  Fit wise, bandeau tops are often better suited for a smaller bust, so it may not provide the support that a curvy girl may want.

Leave a comment and socialize