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Fit and Size Info



 The majority of the dresses returned to us are due to a fit that is too small. So reading the measuring instructions and recommendations in this guide is strongly recommended to avoid the inconvenience and expense of returns.  These guidelines can be applied to most vintage clothing, vintage style clothing and formal gowns you may wish to purchase. So printing and keeping a copy handy while online shopping could prove to be very useful.


• Choose a size based on your measurements. All manufacturers and designers have different measurements for their patterns.  There are no size standards in the garment industry!

•It is not uncommon to have to have dresses altered/hemmed for a perfect fit as every body shape is different.

•Always order based on your largest measurement, not the other way around. In other words, if your hip measurement will fit into a size 12, but your bust measures to fit a size 10, then order the size 12. You can always take something in. But usually can't let it out.



 •Get a tape measure. The kind from a fabric/sewing store. Not the kind from the hardware store! 

•Measure as indicated below. 

•Do not measure over your clothing. Measure in your undergarments, wearing a bra you would wear with the dress.

•Your bra size is not your bust measurement!  Though you must measure your bust while wearing a bra.

•Torso measurement. Another important measurement is the shoulder to waist measurement. It determines torso length, which in turn, tells you where the waistline of a particular garment is going to fall on you.  For example, if your waist measures 28", and the dress you're interested in has a waist measurement of 29", it won't necessarily fit your waist unless your own shoulder to waist measurement is close to the one in the description. You could be longer or shorter waisted compared to how the garment was designed.  So even if a waist measurement appears to be your size,  check that shoulder to waist measurement to see where the waistline will actually fall on your body.  If it falls at or close to your natural waist,  then compare the waist measurement to your own.  Most vintage dresses with a shoulder to waist measurement of 15" or less will usually be shortwaisted on the average woman, or be an empire style.


how to measure chart



If you still have questions about the size you should buy we strongly recommend you  contact one of our stylists. They are always happy to help with fit questions.




 No matter how accurate a size chart is or suggested measurements, you have to keep in mind that human beings sew this clothing.  What a lot of retailers don't mention is there is something in the garment industry called "seam tolerance".  That is the amount specified by the manufacturer that the garment measurements can acceptably vary from the original pattern specs when they are being cut and sewn.

WHY? Because human beings can't possibly cut and sew every single garment to a zillionth of an inch of the original specs at all times. It just isn't humanly possible. And the quality control people at the factories would end up rejecting zillions of finished garments!

So it is not uncommon for measurements to vary a bit on some of the garments in the sameproduction run. Haven't you ever tried on jeans of the same brand and size and have them fit differently?  Dresses and gowns are the same way!

 Finished garment measurements can potentially vary up to an inch more or less from the measurements stated in the description.  Though MOST are usually  pretty close to the listed measurements.

 We have no control over this as it is not possible for any retailer to measure every single garment of the same style whenever they receive a redelivery. This does not mean the measurements in the description are a misrepresentation.

 This is something to keep in mind when ordering online.  You should always budget for possible alterations because of this and because no manufacturer of "off the rack" dresses can possibly make clothing to fit every single person's individual body shape.  Only custom clothiers can guarantee that.



 •Non stretch fabric With many one of a kind authentic vintage dresses in a non-stretch fabric, if you measure the same as the dress,  it will most likely be too snug and you will put excessive stress on the garment.

 A common example are dresses with fitted bodices and/or pencil skirts. With these styles, if there is no stretch to the fabric, i.e. taffeta or silk, then your own measurements need to be smaller than the garments in order to breathe and move in it.

Strapless bodices on formal wear can be close to your own bust measurement, as you need to fill it out in order to hold up the dress! But be aware of ribcage, waist and hip measurements though. This is where you'll need some give.

Stretchy fabrics are obviously more forgiving, but keep in mind how snug you like to wear your clothing. Again, when in doubt,  order a size up if available.

Shirtwaist styles In the case of shirtwaist style bodices, they are usually designed to fit somewhat loosely. So a shirtdress measuring 40" in the bust will fit someone with a bust measurement between 36 and 38".  If it is dolman sleeved, it may even look fine on someone with a 34" bust. Basically,  you always need to keep the style and fabric in mind. 

•Bathing suits or dresses with molded cups, we provide an approximate cup size or the exact measurements of the width across of each cup and what it measures down one side of the cup and up the other. You can measure one of your bras and compare.

Fitted bodices we also provide the measurements across the widest part of the back(just below underam area). The measurements for the front will include the cup area for the bust.  These are important measurements, because someone with a 36" total bust measurement could have a narrow back and ribcage, but a D cup, or a wide back but  wear an A or B cup. This could make a huge difference in whether a specific bodice style fits or not. So the total bust measurement doesn't always tell the full story.