A WORD ABOUT SIZING

We do not offer our clothes based on size. Why? Because there is no such thing as truly standardized sizing in women's clothing. Sure, there are rough guidelines. But if you usually wear a size 10, sometimes an 8 works, other times a 12. It depends on the manufacturer, the garment type, the cut. Now, add to that the fact that sizing in general has changed dramatically over the years. A dress labeled size 12 in the 1950s would be a size 2 or 4 today. So... forget about sizes.

Instead, we provide detailed measurements for each item, as outlined in the HOW WE MEASURE OUR GARMENTS section, below. We then use those measurements to place each item into one of three broad-ranging size categories. This allows you to narrow your choices to those items more likely to fit, and exclude those that almost certainly won't. These are garment, not body, measurements:

  • Small - bust up to 36", waist up to 28"
  • Medium - bust 37-41", waist 29-33"
  • Large - bust 42" and up, waist 34" and up

Keep in mind, these measurements refer to the garment, not the body that will wear the garment. Unless you want your clothing to fit like a sausage casing, you'll need to leave a bit of wiggle room, called ease. This is especially important at the shoulders, bust, and hips. The amount of ease you'll want depends on how you'll wear the item. Is it a close-fitting dress, or a jacket that needs to fit over a sweater? Generally, unless it's a very stretchy item, you'll need the garment's measurements to be a bit larger than your own.

That said, fit is a matter of personal preference. I tend to wear my own dresses with a waistband an inch or so smaller than my actual waist. This feels good to me, and provides the look I prefer. Others might find it uncomfortable. 

Keep in mind, also, that some vintage clothing, especially mid-century fashions, were far more fitted than current styles. The waists were smaller -- not simply because women were slimmer, but because they wore undergarments specifically designed to create the desired silhouette. Arm hole openings (armscyes) were smaller and higher, restricting range of motion. These styles were exceptionally flattering to the figure, and once you're accustomed to the difference in fit, they really do feel wonderful. 

 

HOW WE MEASURE OUR GARMENTS

Clothing - Measurements are taken with garment lying flat, but not stretched, on a hard surface, as follows:

  • shoulder: from shoulder seam to shoulder seam, at the very top of the back of the garment (not across the middle back)
  • bust: at widest point of chest, under armpits, and doubled -- does not include space for breasts created by any darts
  • ribs: below the bust, at the top of the rib cage, where a bra band would sit, and doubled 
  • bodice: from top of shoulder, down front of garment to waistband (especially important if you have a short or long torso)
  • sleeve: along the outer edge of the sleeve from shoulder seam to edge of cuff
  • waistat the narrowest point, or, for loose-hanging garments, at the natural waistline, and doubled
  • hip: at the widest point, usually 8-9" below natural waist, and doubled
  • length: on front from shoulder top to hem (shoulder to hem) or on back from neck edge to hem (nape to hem)
  • skirt length: from top of waistband to edge of hem
  • hem sweep: across bottom of fully-extended skirt and doubled
  • rise: from front waistband to crotch seam
  • inseamfrom crotch down inside of leg to edge of hem

Shoes - Measurements are taken as follows:

  • length: on interior from tippy toe (where, in pointy shoes, no human toe actually reaches!) along insole to heel
  • width: on interior across widest point of the ball of the foot
  • heel height: at back of shoe from floor to top of heel, not including any platform 

All Other Items - Measurements are taken as indicated in the item's description.

We're happy to provide any additional measurements you'd like. Just call us at 404.934.2578, or email your request.

To convert inches to centimeters, just multiply by 2.54. Example - bust 36", 36 x 2.54 = 91.44, or ~ 91.5cm. Confused? If we haven't already provided metric measurements, just contact us and we'll do the conversions for you.

HOW DO I KNOW IF SOMETHING WILL FIT ME?

It's not difficult. And you have two options: You can measure yourself (or get a friend or tailor to do it for you) or you can measure a similar item you already own that fits you well. Either way, you want to be as accurate as possible. 

Measure Yourself - Wearing only properly fitting undergarments, measure the following areas as indicated. Stand up straight. No breath holding, pulling the tape tight, or kidding yourself. Relax. They're just numbers.

Bust: Measure around the fullest part of the breasts over a good-fitting bra. Be sure to keep the tape horizontal (not higher or lower in back). This is not your bra band size!

Ribs: Measure just under the breasts around your ribs. Again, keep the tape level. This measurement is important if an item is very fitted through the torso.

Bodice: Measure from the top of your shoulder and down over your bust to your natural waist.

Waist: Measure around the smallest part of your middle. Don't suck in your stomach or hold your breath.

Hips: With legs together, measure around the fullest part of your bottom, about 8-9" below your waist.

Measure each area twice, just to be sure, and write it all down so you can refer to the numbers when you're shopping. Repeat the process if you lose or gain more than a few pounds, or at least every year.

OR

Measure Something You Already Own - You can take all the above measurements, as well as shoulder, rise, inseam, and skirt/dress length, using an appropriate item of clothing that fits you perfectly. Simply measure it the same way we do, as described in HOW WE MEASURE OUR GARMENTS, above. Remember, these are the garment's measurements, not yours, so you would not need to add ease!

 

 

Most professional tailors and seamstresses will take all these measurements for you free of charge.

Once you know your measurements, or those of garments that fit you perfectly, simply refer to the measurements provided in each garment's description to determine if the item will fit. Remember to add room for ease to body measurements only.

If you need additional measurements or any clarifications, just ask. We are more than happy to accommodate your requests and help you however we can. Remember, you may not be able to return a garment because it doesn't fit, so be careful and honest with yourself when you measure, and ask as many questions as you need to before placing your order.

One last bit of advice: If you love a particular item but the measurements are a bit off, keep in mind that most items can be altered to fit by a professional seamstress or tailor. Taking in a too-big item is usually an easier (and less-expensive) fix than letting out a too-small item. A lot depends on the complexity of the garment's construction and whether there is extra fabric to let out. Call (404.934.2578 Eastern time) or email us with any questions. We're happy to help you determine if a particular item could potentially fit you.



BDV is a Proud Member of the VFG - Vintage Fashion Guild

Come Visit Our Sister Site

© 2011-2014 Better Dresses Vintage
Developed by: SDJ
Ecommerce Software by Shopify

    payment