How to Measure Dress Size and Look Your Best: Female Fashion

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It can be difficult to find the perfect fit when shopping for women's clothes, especially when it comes to ordering dresses online. All women are different shapes and sizes and there is no standard sizing system for women among the different online stores.

I used to finding that ordering a dress online and getting it to fit correctly was a big challenge; that is until I learned how to measure dress size properly.

Knowing your correct dress size makes both retail shopping, and online shopping, a breeze!

By following my simple guide, I will show you how to measure dress size the right way so that you won't be disappointed next time you buy a dress online.

Preparation

To measure dress size the right way, start off by ensuring that you have a cloth tape measure and access to a full-length mirror. You will need a pen and paper to record each measurement so that you can cross-reference with the sizes given by the online store. As tempting as it might be to suck in your tummy, you will get better results from standing tall and naturally, and by keeping the measuring tape comfortably loose rather than tight. It helps to have a friend or professional tailor help you. Do consult the retailer's sizing guide for any special sizing or additional information that might be required before measuring.

Bust

Measure over the fullest part of the bust, keeping the measuring tape horizontal and your arms down. It is best if you can do the bust measurements while wearing tight-fitting clothing and the same bra that you intend to wear with the dress. When thinking about how to measure dress size it is important to remember that your bust measurement and your bra size are two different things. So, don’t just write down your bra size but instead take some time to properly take your bust measurement.

Waist

Measure around the smallest part of waistline, below the rib cage and above your hips, approximately 1 inch above the belly button. As part of learning how to measure dress size you should remember to always keep the measuring tape comfortable and don’t pull it too tight. If in doubt, record a larger measurement rather than a smaller measurement because it is always easier to take a dress in than to let it out.

Hip

Measure the fullest part of your hips, approximately 7 inches below the natural waistline. Again, when taking your hip measurement, keep the measuring tape comfortable and don’t pull it too tight.

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When ordering a standard fashion dress from an online store, you will probably only need to provide the bust, hip and waist measurements. However, if ordering a custom-tailored garment such as a bridesmaid dress or prom gown, you will probably also need to provide your hollow to floor, hollow to hemline, shoulder, arm length, armseye, arm and height measurements.

For complete instructions on how to measure dress size for both standard and custom garments, watch the excellent video clip below; it provides easy visual instructions on how to take and record all of the measurements required.

Other Considerations

If you are at all unsure about a certain measurement, then it is better to size up rather than size down. It is much easier to make alterations to a dress to make it fit smaller rather than larger.

Expect to have a couple of alterations done after receiving your dress in the mail. Although you can determine a very close measurement at the time of ordering, bear in mind that each online store is different and also that your measurements may change slightly, especially if shipping takes a week or two.

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Comments 27 comments

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

I order most of my clothes online too! It is so much better than to search for clothes in a crowded shop or use the horrible fitting rooms there. With the excellent advices you have given here it will be a success to order a dress! It is so useful. Voted up!

Tina


writer20 profile image

writer20 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

Cloverleaf this a great hub. Question, why are tee-shirts so darn long this year I hate them?


SanneL profile image

SanneL 5 years ago from Sweden

Cloverleaf- Thanks for this handy and great tip!

Sannel


felicitylovespari profile image

felicitylovespari 5 years ago

Aha. Very good. I admit I didn't know much about how to measure a dress. Good info.


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Hi Tina, thanks so much for the votes! Like you, I hate trying on clothes in fitting rooms and usually just get frustrated. It's much more fun to shop from the comfort of my own home. Take care!


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

It's a mystery, Writer20! I'm not a big fan of long T's myself.


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois

These are all really good and useful tips. It has never occurred to me to buy clothes online, but I may give it a try sometime.


koondam profile image

koondam 5 years ago

Great information.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

Cloverleaf - What is a hollow? I have not heard that term. This is a very useful guide.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Cloverleaf, writer20 mentioned the long T shirts, I noticed that as well, strange...they are far too long!

A good guide and tips for ordering online. Enjoy your day x


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Great question: your "hollow" is located at the base of your neck - the space between your collar bone, and is often a point of measurement for custom or tailor-made dresses.

Those long t-shirts are quite useful for sleeping in, but that's about it for me!

Thanks all for stopping by and commenting!

Cloverleaf.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

T-shirts are longer because jeans are sitting lower on the waist...hopefully the designers will change that because I'm not a fan either. Fantastic hub cloverleaf!! Very informative and helpful :))


SusieQ42 5 years ago

This is a great hub, Cloverleaf. I don't buy many dresses, but now that I know how to measure myself correctly I may shop around online for one. Thanks.


heaneyl profile image

heaneyl 5 years ago

Thanks for the tips, I've always struggled with standard sizes!


anupma profile image

anupma 5 years ago from India

great and informative hub. Some times, it really creates problem when we purchase on-line. Next time, I will keep your suggestions in my mind.


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Hi Sunshine! I'm also not a fan of jeans sitting low on the waist, I feel like I have to pull them up all the time!! I hope you're having a great day. Your interview in the newsletter was just AWESOME! :-)


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Hi Susie, thanks for your comment and support as always! Have a great day :-)


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Hi heaneyl, the worse thing about buying a dress that doesn't fit properly is that it ends up never getting worn and justs sits in the closet. I learned how to measure dress size properly so that I would get maximum wear out of the dresses I buy. Thanks for stopping by!


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Hi anupma, that's great! Thanks for coming by to comment.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

Thank you cloverleaf! The hubber to hubber interview was fun, I wish more people read the weekly Hubpages newsletter!!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

I stopped ordering clothes through the mail or online long ago. I just had to give up since I never got the size right. However, I am going to bookmark this hub and if I need to order something online again, I will take your advice and do everything you listed. Thanks for the information! Voted up and useful!


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Hi Jeannie, how are you today? I used to just guess my size a lot and always ended up disappointed. By measuring properly I'm a lot more confident about ordering online. Hope the info helps! Thanks for your comment :-)

Cloverleaf


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia

I found something out about you this weekend, besides the fact you were gone somewhere. I found "the frog that became cloverleaf" I had no ideal MM is your mom. I told her she did a wonderful job. Your mom is very considerate and a great person as you cloverleaf. I was beginning to worry about ya. Great article and you have my vote. :)


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Ah you're sooooo good to me, thelyricwriter! And thanks for saying awesome things about MM too :-) No need to worry about me, I'm never far away LOL. Enjoyed a nice Canadian Thanksgiving with great friends. So glad you enjoyed the hub.

Take care,

Cloverleaf.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia

I forgot that it was your Thanksgiving. I hope you had a great time my friend. Keep doing what your doing and I will see you tomorrow.


acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 5 years ago from Guildford

Wow awesome tips and advice. I so enjoy your hubs.


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Thanks, acaetnna! I'm glad you found it useful.

Cloverleaf

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