Anyone who’s been buying vintage for a while will tell you to ignore the size on the label. For many reasons sizing has changed as lot, even when it comes to quite recent vintage. If you’re buying anything pre 1980 you can assume that you need to take about 2 sizes off the label. For example a vintage size 14 is more like a modern size 10. Anything post 1980 is about 1 size smaller so a 14 would fit more like a modern 12. For this reason most vintage sellers prefer to go by measurement and completely disregard the size on the label altogether. It’s really important to be able to properly measure yourself for vintage clothes.
Today I thought I’d share a handy guide of how to measure yourself for vintage clothing. If you want to regularly shop for vintage it’s essential to have an accurate idea of your measurements, so you can make sure you know the garments will fit you once they arrive.
Bear in mind that measurements are often for the garment rather than the body that will be wearing it, so you might want to go for clothes that are a teeny bit bigger than than your own measurements so you have room to move, breath and eat a substantial brunch!
Remember the tape measure is the vintage wearers best friend. It’s good to know your measurements off my heart and carry a tape measure around in your bag. It can be super helpful to have one when you’re out shopping so you can measure vintage while you’re on the hunt. It’s much easier to quickly measure a skirt on the hanger and know if it has a good chance of fitting before trying it on, or worse taking it home and it not being quite right.
These are the main measurements you’ll need to know. Most online vintage sellers will have these numbers in their listings and if you know your measurements it’s make it much easier to buy great vintage online.
How to Measure Yourself for Vintage Clothes
The bust measurement is usually the most important one to know. You’ll often find the bust measurement on the label of vintage garments, so even if the stated size is completely off, the bust measurement is a good one to go with. To get your bust measurement put the tape measure round the widest point of your bust without pulling it tight and this will be the right measurement for you.
If you wear your clothes with a bra underneath, make sure you take your measurement while wearing your bra as your bust will sit and measure differently without it.
The waist measurement is the narrowest part of your waist all the way round. If you’re not sure exactly wear your natural waist falls, put a skirt or dress on that nips in at the waist and this will help you find the right spot.
If you’re planning to buy anything other than a big flowy skirt, it’s really useful to know your hip measurements too. To get this, just measure round the widest point of your hips and bum.
Another really useful measurement when buying vintage clothes is the length. On a lot of listings you’ll find a shoulder to hem measurement. So to get a good idea of how a maxi dress will fit, measure from the middle of your shoulder to your foot or ankle. For a knee length dress you’d measure from mid shoulder to knee etc.
One of the easiest ways to find great vintage that fits, is to measure similar items that you already own. Grab a few pieces that fit you perfectly from your own wardrobe and give them a measure. You can then use these to compare to other garments you might like to buy.
I hope these tips have been helpful and you can use them to help you find the perfect fit and you’ll now know how to measure yourself for vintage clothes.
Find lots of fab vintage clothes and accessories over on Vintage Frills Shop.
For lots more vintage fashion and fun vintage styling tips, check out the fashion section of the blog or follow me on Instagram where I share lots of vintage outfits and pieces from my own collection. I also have a separate Instagram for the shop, so follow me there for daily updates of new arrivals to the shops.
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