How to Calculate Dress Size

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It is a question that everyone always needs to know in the process of buying dresses.  That is the all important question of how to calculate their dress size.  Without the answer to this question, you won’t be able to determine your correct size and you could spend a lot of time in the dressing room trying to figure out the size that is right for your body.  This article simplifies the various types of measurements that are necessary to take to properly calculate your dress size.

Polka Dot Dress

Body Tape Measurements

To find your correct size, use a tape measure and take the following body measurements. You should stand with your back straight in front of a mirror to make sure that you are measuring each part correctly and that the tape measure is kept level and straight.

1. Bust

Measure the length around under your armpits, around your shoulder blades, and around the fullest part of your bust. Make sure that the measuring tape in under your arms.  Don’t pull the tape measure too hard or too tight.  Let it fit naturally and snugly around the fullest part of your bust.  Make sure that your bust is not popping out over the tape since if this is happening, then you are getting the wrong measurement.  That is why it is so important that the tape measurement is done around the fullest part of your bust.

2. Waist

Bend and find your waist’s natural crease and measure around your natural waistline which is the narrow part of your waist, which also corresponds to two inches above your belly button. Relax and breathe out before you measure this area.

3. Hip

Stand with your two feet together and measure the hip around its fullest part (fullest part of the hip and rear) which is approximately 8 inches below your waist which corresponds to halfway between your crotch and your belly button.  Keep the measuring tape a little loose so that your dress does not come out to be too small.

4. Inseam

Measure the length from your ankle to your groin when you stand with your legs straight. If possible, ask a friend to help you take this measurement. Otherwise,  a simpler approach would involve measurement of this length on a pair of pants that are of the proper length going down to the ankle.

Tips on Looking at a Size Chart

  • Size charts tend to be different for different stores and you will be surprised at the wide array of sizes you can fit into at different stores even with your measurements in hand.
  • If your measurements are in between two sizes, always select the larger size so that your clothes will fit properly in that size.
  • Avoid using dress size generators since using these often result in the wrong dress size.  Always go by the actual measurements that you have taken.
  • In some cases, the sizes are in letter format rather than numbers, but the letters can be easily converted into numbers.  The letter sizes correspond to two or three number size range.  Here is the size range for each letter size:  XS = 0-2 , S = 4-6 , M = 8-10 , L = 10-12.
  • If you are shopping online, always check the sizing guide and you can check your measurements with the sizing guide for determining the accurate size for that particular brand of clothes.
  • If you stick to shopping at the same online websites, you will be much more familiar with the sizes that are right for your body and there will be less confusion on what is the right size for you.  This makes online shopping much easier and less stressful.
  • Always try on the dress after selecting the size based on your measurements.  You want to see if you like how the dress fits on you.  Having the measurements makes it less-time consuming in the dressing room trying on outfits and you can spend more time figuring out if you like how the dress fits rather than trying to find what size is the right one for your body.

Feel free to leave any comments or questions below on how to calculate your dress size and I will get back to you soon!

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10 thoughts on “How to Calculate Dress Size”

  1. Some great instruction on how to determine dress sizes. This is a very important first step in the buying process. This is information that every woman should have. I will inform my girlfriend about it, in order to help her. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks Radha, for these tips, I would never of though of measuring the inseam and or under your arm pits, I usually just measured around shoulder blades and bust area, I know differently now, greatly appreciated.

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