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How to Measure for a Dress

It is recommended that you wear the same undergarments that you plan to wear with your dress when getting measured. Likewise, to ensure accuracy, have a friend or family member measure you using a soft measuring tape. When measuring your bust, waist, and hips, it is best to use a flexible tape measure and stand up straight. The measuring tape should be held snugly around your body—not too tight or too loose. It is important that the tape measure is parallel to the floor and has no slack in it when you measure. If you need help determining your size or don't want to measure yourself, our virtual stylist can guide you in the right direction. Consult our Size Charts and Fit Guides to find which size best fits your needs.

Dress sizes vary between brands, so it's important to know how each one measures up before buying anything online or in-store!

Bust

If you've got a big bust, it can be hard to find a dress that will fit you properly. But you don't have to resign yourself to only shopping for A line dresses or give up your dream of wearing something fitted and sexy. Transforming yourself from flat-chested to busty is easier than you might think—all you need is a measuring tape! The first step is to take your chest measurement.

Wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your chest (across the middle of your chest) with your arms relaxed at your sides. Be sure not to pull the tape too tightly—it should be firm but comfortable—as this will give you an inaccurate measurement. Also make sure that the tape hangs straight down, not dipping in or out at any point during the measurement. Once you have this number, you can use it to see what size dress will fit you best!

Waist

First, understand that the natural waistline is the smallest part of a woman's torso. It is usually about an inch above the belly button. No matter what your height or body shape, be sure to stand normally (with shoulders relaxed and feet together) before measuring. Measure around the natural waistline (the narrowest point of the torso), keeping the measuring tape parallel to the floor.

Hips

Your hips are a tricky measurement to get without help, but if you don't know this number, the rest of the process will be impossible. The easiest way to measure is to stand with your feet together and place the measuring tape around the fullest part of your hips. Once you have that number, you can subtract it from your full hip measurement to find out what size dress will fit you best.

Hollow to Hem

The length of the dress's hemline is another important factor that determines the amount of fabric used in creating the finished product. For example, if you want a floor-length gown, it may require additional yardage in order to accommodate the extra length. In this case, take your height into consideration when purchasing fabric so it fits properly once cut off and sewn into place on the body. Hence, starting at the hollow of your collarbone, measure down to the hem of your dress.

Note: The length is measured starting from the base of the neckline, not from the top of your neck.

Sleeve Length

Sleeve length is something you typically won't have to worry about when ordering a shirt or blouse from a department store, but it's always good to know how to check in case it's needed. It can also be helpful to take note during the first few weeks of a new job if you're worried about your sleeves being too short or long. Because sleeve length varies so much depending on the style of jacket or dress, we'll be using the same method to measure for both.

The key piece of information you need to have handy is your arm length, which is basically just the distance between your shoulder and wrist. Use a tailor's measuring tape or other form of flexible ruler and measure from the base of your neck all the way down to your wrist (if you're left-handed, you'll want to reverse this order). Add an inch or two for roominess, subtract some for something more form-fitting, and that's your sleeve length!

Back Length

The back length of a dress makes up the overwhelming majority of its length, so it's a smart place to start your measurements when you're ordering online. The back length of a dress is the measurement from the center back at the base of the neck down the spine to the natural waistline. This measurement is especially important if you're planning on wearing a train.

Take your time to make measurements before you order online

When you're ordering a dress online, it's easy to be tempted to size up and make an educated guess about what will fit. But this can only lead to disappointment: a well-fitting dress not only looks better on the body but actually looks smaller. When a dress doesn't fit properly, it is almost always too large in either the bust or the waist, or both—and these are the two areas where dresses tend to have the least wiggle room.

In order to avoid running into a situation where you're stuck with an ill-fitting dress, it's important to take your time and gather accurate measurements before you order. The best way to do this is by using a tailor's tape measurer—they come in different lengths and levels of accuracy, so be sure to get the kind that will give you enough detail for the type of dress you're looking for. It may seem tedious at first, but if you take your time and make sure every measurement is accurate, most likely you'll have a perfect fit on your very first try.

That's why it's so essential to take your time and get accurate measurements before you buy anything: all those lovely dresses may become unwearable if they are not properly fitted to match your figure.

Always remember that measurements can help you find the perfect elegant dress.