What Is My Dress Size?

What is My Dress Size: A Comprehensive Guide

Posted by Brent Ferguson on

Figuring out your exact dress size can often be a puzzle, especially with the varied sizing standards across different stores. Fear not, armed with your body measurements, you can easily decode the right size for you.

Importance of Knowing Your Measurements

Your bust, waist, and hip measurements are the key to deciphering your accurate dress size. Every store's sizing guide may vary, but being aware of your dimensions will help you make an informed choice.

How to Measure Yourself

1. Bust Measurement

Measure the fullest part of your bust to get an accurate measurement. Ensure that the measuring tape, preferably a dressmaker's soft tape, goes under your arms. Keep the tape snug, but not too tight to avoid incorrect measurements.

2. Waist Measurement

To measure your waist, bend to one side and find your waist's natural crease. Measure around this point, ensuring the tape is slightly loose. Alternatively, you can measure two inches up from your belly button, usually the smallest part of your waistline.

3. Hip Measurement

Stand with your feet together and measure around the fullest part of your hips and rear. This point is typically midway between your crotch and belly button. Keep the measuring tape somewhat loose to ensure the right fit.

Note: The values you get are your raw body measurements and not your dress size.

Sizing Charts and Conversions

With your measurements at hand, refer to a size chart to find your basic dress size. If your measurements fall between two sizes, it's recommended to opt for the larger size, especially when shopping online.

Dress size generators are not always reliable; instead refer to the store's sizing guide. If you're dealing with European sizes, use a conversion chart to translate American sizes into European ones.

Some stores use lettered sizes like XS, S, M, etc. In American Sizes, Size 2 is XS, Size 4 is S, Size 6 is M, Size 8 is L, Size 10 is XL, Size 12 is XXL.

Shopping Online and In-Store

When shopping online, always refer to the website's sizing guide. Knowing your measurements can help you understand how a specific brand's sizing runs. For example, a small at Target might differ from a small at Topshop.

In-store, don't hesitate to ask a salesperson for help. They are usually familiar with the store's unique sizing system and can assist you in finding the right fit.

Choosing the Right Dress for Your Body Shape

1. Straight Body

If your body is straight (narrow hips, no bust, no rear), fitted sheaths and classic shift dresses will enhance your figure. Empire waist or A-line skirts can give you some curves. An off-the-shoulder dress draws more attention to the collarbones and arms.

2. Pear-Shaped Figure

Pear-shaped individuals are fuller at the hips and rear, and smaller around the bust. Open-neck and strapless dresses draw attention to your upper body. Empire waists, full and A-line skirts can flatter your hips.

3. Hourglass Figure

For those with a full bust and full hips, with a narrower, defined waist, dresses that nip in at the waist showcase your figure best, such as wraps, knit dresses, and sheaths with a waist.

4. Apple-Shaped Figure

If your narrowest point is at your ribs, above your natural waist, empire waists can draw attention upwards. Dresses with details around the neckline and full or A-line skirts can give the appearance of an hourglass figure.

5. Full Bust

If your bust measurement is fuller than your hips and rear, V-necks and halter tops can create a slimming effect. A-line and full skirt dress styles can help create balance.

Remember, the right dress size is just a starting point. The perfect dress not only fits well but also enhances your body shape and makes you feel confident.

"Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about something else that comes from within you." – Ralph Lauren


What bra should you wear when measuring?

Wear a supportive bra when taking dress measurements. Avoid push-up or heavily padded bras, as they might alter your measurements.

How can I take my dress measurements at home?

You can take your measurements in front of a full-length mirror. If you're shopping from a specific store, check if their website provides diagrams to help with the measuring process.

What is a hem to hollow measurement?

A hem to hollow measurement goes from the lowest point of your collarbone to the floor. This measurement is especially useful when shopping for long dresses or gowns.


Navigating dress sizes can be tricky, but with a little knowledge about your body measurements and understanding of sizing charts, shopping for dresses can become a more enjoyable experience. Remember, the perfect fit is not just about the right size, but also about the dress that makes you feel the best.


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