When shopping online is very important to understand the sizing charts as well as the fit of the garments as it is not possible to try it on before the purchase. After years of working in retail, I am still amazed that there are people who are still unsure about how to take measurements and where!
For this reason, I have decided to write a post about it, based on the way I was trained to take measurements, in my fashion degree and my designs, as most of them are fitted garments, designed to achieve that gorgeous hourglass shape.
I always recommend to take measurements wearing a bra and a fitted cotton t-shirt (I'll explain that below).
Measure loosely around the fullest part of your bust, that means placing the tape over the nipples, keeping the tape measure straight all the way around your body. Always allow a spare ccntimetre of ease as you'll need that extra space when wearing a fitted top or blouse. There is nothing more unaesthetic than wearing a blouse with your bra peeking between the buttons' gaps.
This is the trickiest one. The waist is the narrowest part of your torax. If you look carefully at your figure, you'll see that your body is slightly straight below your bust, it goes in and then it goes back out gradually to its fullness around the hips. The narrowest part or natural waist, is usually just above the belly-button. You should place the measuring tape on here and again, allow 1 centimetre or 1and half for ease.
All my garments are designed to sit on the waist, which for some people it might be referred as "high-waisted".
Hips are the wider part of your bottom half. It is the place where your jeans get stuck when trying to put them on. :)
It is roughly around 23-25cms below the waist line (remember, just above the belly-button).
For the next two measurements it is important to wear a cotton t-shirt as these measurements are taken from the shoulder and wearing a t-shirt makes it easier to know where to place the tape.
The length of the garment can be measured two ways: from the centre of your back neck or the most reliable, in my opinion, from the shoulder. So, place the tape on the shoulder seam of your t-shirt, ALWAYS FROM THE BACK OF YOUR BODY. If you place the tape at the front, you'll add unnecessary centimetres due to the volume of the bust being on the way.
The best way to take this measurement is placing the tape on the top of your shoulder bone or when wearing a t-shirt, the end of your should seam because this is where your arm starts. So do not include shoulder in the measurement. Bending the arm slightly (as shown in the picture) when placing the tape along your arm (you need that extra inch when folding or moving your arms, otherwise your wrists will be exposed.)
There are 4 main sleeve-lengths and these might look different on each person because not everyone has the same arm lengths. However, by understanding where each style is meant to sit, I think it will help to understand the fit of the garment and therefore have the item altered, adjusted or modified to the body shape or personal preferences.
Cap sleeves are meant to sit on the shoulder, leaving most of the upper half of the arm exposed. They are roughly 2 inches wide.
Short sleeves are meant to sit just above the bust area or at the same level as the widest part of the bust, covering 50% of the upper half of the arm.
3/4 sleeves are meant to sit just below the elbow, which is where the natural waist sits. These sleeves are very flattering because they help to create the optical effect of a smaller waist. That's why they were so popular back in the 50s. If you have long arms, these sleeves will most likely sit just above the elbow, which is a very attractive fit too.
Bottom lengths are taken from the waistline (remember, just above belly-button, the narrowest part of your upper body). My garments are designed to finish in three main lengths:
Knee length: meant to sit just above the knee or on it.
Over-knee length: meant to cover the knee and sit on the calf.
Floor length or maxi: meant to cover the whole leg until reaching the toes or the floor, depending on the design.
I recommend to take these measurements on the front of the body, not the side or the back as these areas are curvaceous.