What's Your Size?

Simple question, right? But shop for a dress or a pair of jeans. Try on different ready-to-wear lines. In one brand you’re a size 8, but in another a size 10 or even a 12. What’s going on?

Over the last few decades numbered sizes have become less standardized; today many manufacturers have their own sizing systems. So the measurements of bust, waist, and hip associated with a numbered size can vary from one manufacturer to another. But that’s just a number. What matters is how your clothes feel, move, and enhance your shape. A big part of this is how they fit.

The first step to clothes that fit is to know your measurements. It’s not hard to do. Start with a pencil, paper, and tape measure. A full length mirror is useful, but not required. Wear the lingerie you would normally wear, choosing the bra that fits you best. When you measure, pull the tape snug next to the skin and don’t let your fingers get caught under it. Make sure the tape isn't twisted. Measure to the nearest 1/2 inch. Do your best not to have a ‘goal’ number in mind that you tighten the tape measure to meet.

To measure the bust, place the beginning of the tape measure (0”) in the front, where you can see it. Run the tape around the bust just under the arms in front and under the shoulder blades in back. This means that the tape measure will angle downward as it travels from front to back. Yes, this is higher than the fullest part of the bust. In fact this measurement is sometimes known as the high bust, and it's been shown to be more useful for fitting. Read the number on the tape where it reaches the beginning again. Write it down.

To measure the waist, take a look at your middle and run the tape around where you are smallest. If you're not sure where that is, bend to one side. The waist is where the torso ‘breaks.’ Straighten up. Run the tape around the waist, parallel with the ground and snug, but not so it pinches. Read the number on the tape where it reaches the beginning again. Write that number down.

For hips, you want to measure the fullest part of you below the waist. For some shapes, this may be just above the crotch, 8 or 9 inches below the waist. For others it may be around the thighs, 11 or 12 inches below the waist. And for others, the hip may be high, 3 or 4 inches below the waist. These are all variants of normal. Keeping the tape parallel to the ground all around and snug, read the measurement of the hip. Write it down.

At Anikka Becker we use a chart to give these measurements a numbered size. The number is for your convenience; it provides a way to communicate. Your measurements are what matter. You may find that your three measurements don't fall into any one size. If you've chosen an Anikka Becker piece, here are a few pointers to help you:

If you’re between sizes, it’s generally best to select the smaller size. The reason for this is that every design has a certain amount of ease, or leeway.

For clothing other than swimsuits, there is a minimum amount of ease, usually 1-2,” built into even the most close-fitting garment measurements. More loose fitting clothing has more ease. For example, the bodice of a princess line dress is fitted. It has less ease through the bust than a blouson cut, which is loose:

Princess line bodice with little ease

Princess line bodice with little ease

Blouson style bodice with more ease

Blouson style bodice with more ease

If you are ½”or 1” more than the measurement for a certain size, and the cut is looser than say, skinny jeans, there is generally enough ease in that smaller size to afford you a comfortable fit.  

If your top and bottom fit you into completely different sizes, here are a few guidelines:

For dresses, blouses, jackets the most important measurement for fit is the bust. For pants and skirts, it’s the hip. As the photos show, some styles, because of the cut or the degree of ease at a given measurement, give more leeway than others.

Not sure? This is when we’re glad to help. Contact us if you have questions about the size or style that works for you. We know the designs inside and out. We know how much ease is in each measurement. We’re happy to discuss your fit; we can cut to order. Our goal is clothing that fits.

Posted on June 27, 2016 .