What's My Size?
If you do any shopping online at all, you should know your measurements.
I'm not saying measurements are "nice to have," or an optional thing to make shopping easier, I'm saying that if you don't know your measurements, you are blatantly doing yourself a disservice that can and probably often does result in frequent returns, wasted money, and ill-fitting outfits.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
While there are plenty of brands with inconsistent sizing and size charts that are nothing more than some numbers in a table that don't reflect their actual garments at all, taking wild guesses about your size is just as useless. Not to mention, if you ever want to get into vintage and secondhand shopping online, you simply cannot go by the size tags as the scale has drastically changed over time.
So, how do you take your measurements?
First, you need a cloth measuring tape. I recommend looking locally at your nearest fabric and craft store, the laundry aisle at your nearest drugstore or big box retailer like Target, or, ordering from a site for sewing supplies like Wawak. They're almost always less than five bucks and there are even extra long (up to 120 inches) versions.
The main measurements you're gonna need for womenswear are the bust, waist, and hip. If you wear pants, you'll also want your inseam. Here's how to figure yours out:
Bust: Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your bust---right over the nipples. For the most accurate and useful measurement, ideally, you should wear whatever bra you'd typically wear in order to properly support your breasts.
Waist: Bend over sideways: wherever your waist "hinges" is your natural waistline. This will typically be about 1-2" above your belly button.
Hip: This is the fullest part of your butt. Be careful to not pull the tape too tight, otherwise, you might not be able to move in whatever you purchase using that measurement!
Inseam: By far the most awkward measurement to take, you're gonna wanna put the measuring tape pretty much right at your crotch, and measure down the inside of your leg to your ankle (or, wherever you want your pants to hit).
Remember: there is no universal sizing standard. Don't assume that just because you're one size in one brand, you're the same size in another: always check the size chart and compare your measurements before you hit buy! Make sure you allow for 1-2 inches of "room" (it's called ease in the sewing world) so that you can actually move! And if you're in between, always go with the size that fits your biggest measurement. Some sites also give fit information i.e. if a garment runs big or small so always read the product info in full aka do not do "Quick Buy!"
Taking your body measurements is just one method to help you pick the right sizes when shopping online. But for those who have particular needs, or don't want to measure their bodies, or who just want to get a little more specific, there is another way.
If you wear skirts, and have bought skirts online, you've probably been burned by a hem that is just way too short. If you like oversized clothes, maybe you've accidentally bought something that simply wasn't oversized enough. Maybe you're like me and have extensive scarring on your legs, so you need your boots to be a specific height in order to cover it. Or maybe you just don't want to measure your body. That's fine, too. There's a simple solution to all of this:
Measure your clothes!
Measure how long your favorite skirt is. Measure the inseam on the jeans that hit you in just the right spot. Measure the oversized shirt you already have (measure from where the sleeve meets the underarm for the "pit to pit" or approximate bust measurement). Measure the shaft height on your boots (from where the heel meets the shoe). And, most importantly, don't buy anything where the measurement that matters most isn't listed and doesn't match up. Just be sure the clothes you're measuring don't have stretch, or else your measurements will be way off.
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