There is always a risk when shopping online that you will purchase the wrong size and have to return your order. After all, with many stores closed, we’re all turning to online shopping to make clothing purchases.
Something we have to contend with is the fact that there is no sizing consistency across all brands. This makes finding the right size difficult if you are just going by standard numerical dress sizes or arbitrary small, medium, large, XL sizing.
When shopping online get into the practice of recording your measurements, as a reference when online shopping. Yes, many brands offer returns, but it is a hassle that can be avoided if you have a true sense of your measurements. I also recommend you save these as a note on your phone and on your computer for easy access when shopping.
Step #1: Don’t Be Defined By The Numbers
It’s important to remember that you are so much more than a number. We tend to can get hung up on wanting to be a certain dress size. Instead, adopt a healthier approach used in menswear and by our male counterparts! Let’s focus on the fit and measurements, with no stigma placed on conforming to a size. Also have a good understanding that our size changes brand to brand, garment to garment, style to style. Many of us have also experienced pandemic fluctuations, have we not? Even during our periods, certain measurements change, if you know what I mean!
Step #2: Begin Measuring
A measuring tape and pen and paper are my essential shopping tools when taking measurements. Start at the top of your body and move down. For some of these, you might need to ask for assistance. Here are the key measurements I recommend you take note of:
- Shoulder point to shoulder point (across front and back, very important for coats and blazers)
- Shoulder point to the knuckle of your thumb
- Bust (the fullest part of your bust)
- Rib cage (important for lingerie and form-fitting dresses)
- Natural waist (for high-waisted items)
- Waist (for lower-waisted items)
- Hips (the widest part is key)
- Preferred length for outerwear and coats
Step #3: Check The Fit Notes
Most brands these days indicate the product measurement on an item’s product page. They may also include what size the model is wearing, and how this garment tends to fit. Helpful statements like these can guide you to best determine your size if you are between sizes as well. And be sure to check the size conversion notes and convert them to standard US sizing. I know my size range here and in France, but I always forget my sizes in Italian, Danish, Brazilian, and British brands.
Also, note the fabric. Does it have some give or stretch? Do you want this piece to be closely tailored to your body, or do you want to have ease?
Step #4: If In Doubt, Opt. For Made To Measure or Size Up
You can always have something tailored to be smaller, but tailoring a size up can be much more difficult if it’s too small for you. I often air on the side of caution and will size up. If you love the item, but it’s too big, it’s worth the investment to take it to your local tailor. Or, you can seek out brands that offer made-to-measure sizing as well!
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