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Most people have a rough idea of what size they are (an 8, 10, 12, 14 for example, or a small, medium, or large). But to shop online without the fear that you’ll be forced to return your goods you must have more accurate knowledge of your size and shape.
To help choose the right size, you will need to measure your bust, waist and hip.
Use a tape measure over your underwear of form fitting clothing and compare your body measurements to those on our size chart, choosing the size that closest matches your measurements.
If you do not have a dress makers measuring tape (one that is soft and can hug your body), you can use a piece of string to place around your body, mark the length and then spread the string out on a long ruler.
The chart below indicates where to measure your body.
Start by removing your top and bra. Place the tape measure directly below your bust, ensuring it’s level and snug. Round to the nearest whole number. If the number is even, add four inches. If the number is odd, add five inches. This will become your ‘band number’ (eg the 34 in 34D).
Wrap the measuring tape loosely around the fullest part of your chest, at nipple level. Round to the nearest whole number. This will become your bust measurement.
Subtract your band size from your bust size. If there is a difference of zero inches, your cup size is AA. If there is a difference of one inch your cup size is an A. For every increase in inch difference you go up a cup size.
Start by removing your clothing or raising your shirt to just below your chest. The tape measure will need to be against your bare stomach to offer accurate information.
Using your fingers, find your waist by placing your thumbs at the base of your rib cage and your index fingers at the top of your hips. Your waist will be the narrowest part of your torso.
Stand up straight, exhale slowly, and bring the measuring tape from your navel around your body to connect at the front. The tape should be parallel to the floor and fit snugly around your torso without digging in.
Write down the number at the meeting point of the measuring tape. This is your waist measurement.
Stand in front of a full length mirror in just your underwear. This will help ensure your tape doesn’t twist. Place your feet together, toes facing forward.
Find the widest part of your hips and place your measuring tape in the middle of this point by securing it with your thumb on the side of your hip.
Bring the tape around your back to join at the starting point. The tape should be level to ensure it records your bottom measurements too, and snug but not digging in. If you can fit more than one finger under the joined tape, it’s too loose.
Record the number at the meeting point of the tape. This is your hip measurement.
For this particular measurement, you will need a partner. If you don’t have a partner, simply find a shirt that fits you very well and measure the garment.
If you have a partner, stand in front facing them. Start measuring from the outside edge of the shoulder where the yoke of the shirt will be.
Measure across the curve of your shoulders to the outside edge.
If you need to measure from the shoulder to your bust, start at the middle point of the slope of your shoulder and measure down towards your nipple.
Standing with your feet flat on the ground and with your arms down by your sides, place the measuring tape on top of your shoulder and loop it under your armpit. Make sure the tape is sitting comfortably and not too tightly.
Remove all shoes and socks and stand with your feet flat and your heels touching a wall.
Place a box, book or other flat object on top of your head, and have someone mark a location on the wall underneath the object.
Step away from the wall and, with a tape measure, record the height from the floor to the marked point on the wall.
Stand with your back against the wall and while standing tall, have another person measure from the top inseam point to the heel. If you regularly wear heels, or you plan to with this outfit, it’s helpful to either wear heels when measuring or add half an inch to 1 inch to the recorded measurement.
If you don’t have someone with you, try measuring the inseam of an existing pair of pants, ideally a pair you love the fit of. Fold the article of clothing in half (the long way) and measure in inches from the crotch seam or bottom of the zipper to the bottom of the leg.
If you are buying material that can slightly shrink if machine washed, add about ½ an inch to the measurements.