The Occasional Woman: Finding Your Dress Size

The Occasional Woman: Finding Your Dress Size

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Fall attire.

Well, hi there! We are still enjoying summer, going to the beach, and wearing flirty little frocks, eh? ENJOY IT while you can, cuz Autumn is now lurking, with its palette of orange, rust, brown, yellow and red. Gone will be turquoise, hot pink and mint green. Not for me, of course—I sport turquoise all year, regardless of the snooty stares from seasonally attired ladies.

This is a great time to buy good fashions on SALE—nice bathing suits for $14.00, jazzy little sandals for a song, and lots of cute summer stuff. My beloved thrift shops are also unloading summer items—cute tops and skirts, naughty li’l dresses for hardly any cash at all. One problem readers of this nifty publication have is: WHAT size do I get? What is “small”, and how much bigger is Medium? So to help you shop easier, better and safer—here’s a handy Size Chart!

There you go! This will give you a basic template from which to work. If you take your measurements, you can then compare them to the chart and get a general idea of what size you need, right? Well, yes, and no. Unlike menswear, women’s sizing is capricious at best! IF you are a guy, looking for men’s clothes, you know if you need a 15 1/2 /42 neck shirt, or a 38 waist/ 34 inseam pants. NOT SO with ladies clothes! One manufacturer’s 16 is another one’s 12. How do you know what to buy?! Take your own measurements AND a tape measure when you go shopping!  

Tape measure

Your 20th century tool for a proper fit.

You might be asking—how do I measure clothing? The best way is to lay the garment flat, on a hard surface, like a display case or a counter.  

for bust measurement, put the tape measure right at the underarm side seam, and measure from one seam to another. This works for all the other measurements, too. I heartily suggest you measure (or have a friend do this) across your shoulders in the back, from where some little bone sticks up at the top of the shoulder. This will help you greatly—especially when you are considering a non-stretchy, constructed garment.

And if you feel funny doing this in public, you are always welcome to say you are costuming a show and need to shop by individual character. “Miss Flossy needs a business suit for Act 3, when she goes to beg the Bad Guy not to close down her beauty shop.”

Over time, you will get comfortable with this, and recognize which designers/stores/brands fit you the best.

Happy Seasonal Change!

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