Wedding dress sizing.. the lowdown!

Well you’ve recently discovered that bridal sizing versus street size are not even in the same league. Oh you haven’t ?! Lucky you! I mean that with as much sarcasm as I can muster. But joking aside. This size disparity is a nuisance and in my opinion completely unnecessary for 2021.

Ive tried to give as much information on how sizing works in the world of bridal. How some designers do it doesn’t particularly make sense in a lot of ways. However if you know a bit of background it can make it a little easier to get your head around. Like myself you might not agree with it, but its a little insight.

Wedding dress size charts

So some bridal houses/designers are still using European size charts from the 1940s. Yeah its not a typo 1 9 4 0. At that time the ‘typical’ waist size was about 24 inches. Take a look at the distance between the heel of your hand and your elbow. That’s about the width of a standard waist back then. Like how does that represent a woman in todays world? It doesn’t at all and its baffling, but in some cases it still happens. So if youre generally a street size 12 with size 12 proportions.. more on this later.. and all of a sudden you’re told to order a size 14 or 16. This may be the reason. You will be told that size is just a number and yes it is. However for a lot of women the number of the size can be a very important factor in the lead up to their wedding day. Say for example you start off planning your wedding and you are size 18. You decide for your wedding dress shopping you want to be a size 16. You work your ass off. Working out at 6am, watching your food, sleeping better, drinking more water etc etc and you do that with dedication and you reach your goal. Then you go to a wedding dress shop to be told that you are a size 18? Does it change the fact that you reached your goal? Ultimately no it doesn’t, but you’ve worked hard to change the number so it can be a bit disheartening, confusing and just annoying. If some bridal houses insist on using these old charts id may be say 2 things. 1. Update your charts 2. Update your charts! 

Split size wedding dress

With some bridal designers they wont accommodate a split size dress. What this means is if your proportions are different from bust to hips – which to be fair is alot of us women. We can measure one size on top and a totally different size on the bottom. So split sizing in wedding dress terms means is if you are measuring a bust size 14 and a waist size 18 the bigger size will be used as the basis for your dress. If the reverse is true and your bust is measuring 2 sizes bigger than your waist – this bigger size is the size that will be used for the basis of your dress. This means that the dress will then have to be tailored to fit your body. This can result in alterations cost increasing. If you have your eye on a designer or dress a question to ask is if they will accommodate a split size. If you’re at the point of deciding between 2 dresses from 2 designers and your concerned about the cost of alterations maybe asking this question might help with your decision or at the very least prepare you.

Wedding dress alterations

At my bridal shop in Dublin – you’ll see my collection here – I work with measurements from your body so its your measurements. Its not off a chart or off a guide. Its directly from your body. Each item is then made slightly bigger. What happens if you drop a dress size after you have ordered your wedding dress? Don’t worry ive covered that here.

With that said in every scenario its much easier for a seamstress to work with a dress that’s too big rather than too small. So from an alterations perspective altering a dress down to size is pretty standard practice. When its too big there is literally a world of possibility with alterations. When a dress is too small or wont close this issue can be harder to resolve. In some cases its not possible to fix at all. This will come down to the person you choose for alterations and if you never take a thing on board from me please take this – choose your alterations company wisely. They can break your heart or make your dress a dream!

No matter who or where you purchase your wedding dress from when you try it on for the first time it will not fit you. So if you have found yourself in this situation and feel it’s a lost cause as your dress is too big.. do not worry. Its supposed to be. During the alterations process the dress will be moulded to fit your body perfectly. I know it may seem that how is this possible or how can they make that happen? During alterations a dress can be deconstructed and put back together and you would never be able to tell the difference.. Yep they are that good!

This is just a little snapshot into the world of bridal sizing and why there can be such a difference. I chatted on my Instagram about this recently. You’ll catch it here 

While I was researching the topic I found very little info so ive combined it in this blog post.

I hope you’ve found it helpful and please feel free to send me any questions or any issues you may want advice with.

Chat soon

Mags x

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