When The Sizing Gets Tough . . . . .
. . . . . the tough get going!
Well, they do if they’re buying clothing online. It can be a complete nightmare!
In the UK women’s clothing size is traditionally indicated by numbers. In 1982 the British Standards Institute produced a standard set of sizes from 8 to 32. However, clothing manufacturers are not required to use them, which has resulted in a range of size indications for the same size of garment from different sellers. A new set of British standard sizes (BSEN13402) was introduced in 2002, however they are only available online at a cost of £82.00 and although I’d dearly love to enlighten you, I feel the cost slightly overshadows my enthusiasm!
So just how much has sizing changed over the last 45 years? Well to give you a clear comparison, I’ve shown three tables below. The first two date from 1968 and 1982 respectively. The final table relates to modern day sizing, although it’s not British Standard approved. The charts show that clothing sizes have increased by approximately 3-4 inches so a dress size 18 in 1968 would now be a dress size 14. Also notice how the older charts do not include waist measurements.
As mentioned earlier, clothing manufacturers don’t have to go by British Standard sizes and to complicate matters, there’s now a worldwide market to choose from, everyone using a different range of sizes. PLUS, there’s been much talk lately about shrinking the population through vanity sizing, now a commonplace practice of high street shops such as Gap, Marks & Spencer and French Connection. So if you thought your dress was a size 10, it’s probably more likely to be a size 12. Ugh! It’s so horribly confusing and ever so slightly depressing!
My advice is to never go by what it says on the label, especially when buying vintage clothing online. The only real way of getting the perfect fit is to know your measurements and remember to add a couple of inches for ease of movement. Of course there has to be a certain amount of trust that the seller has measured their clothing correctly. In my experience they usually do. However, there’s always an exception to the rule so check the seller’s return policy before making an expensive mistake.
Vintage fashion professionals should always include full measurements including pertinent ones such as the bodice length, important if you happen to be short or long-waisted. When you’ve taken your measurements, write them down and place them next to your PC so you can see at a glance whether something’s going to fit you. And finally, measure yourself regularly. Just like your weight, size fluctuates too so get into the habit of using your tape measure if you intend going on an online shopping spree.
I hope you find the following information helpful in your quest to find the best fit. Complete measuring and fitting information can be found on my website information page. Just click here.
1968 Clothing Size Guide
|Bust up to||30 (76cm)||31 (78cm)||32 (81cm)||34 (86cm)||36 (91cm)||38 (96cm)|
|Hips up to||32 (81cm)||33 (83cm)||34 (86cm)||36 (91cm)||38 (96cm)||40 (101cm)|
1982 Clothing Size Guide – British Standard 3666
|Bust up to||32.3 (82.04cm)||33.9 (101.35cm)||35.4 (89.92cm)||37 (93.5cm)||39 (99cm)||40.9 (103.89cm)|
|Hips up to||34.3 (87.12cm)||35.8 (90.93cm)||37.4 (95cm)||39 (99cm)||40.9 (103.89)||42.9 (108.97cm)|
2013 Clothing Size Guide – general guideline only
|Bust up to||33 (83.5cm)||34 (86cm)||36 (91cm)||38 (96cm)||39 (99cm)||41 (104.14)|
|Waist up to||25 (63cm)||27 (68cm)||28 (71cm)||30 (76cm)||32 (81cm)||34½ (87cm)|
|Hips up to||34 (86cm)||36 (91cm)||38 (96cm)||40 (101cm)||42 (106cm)||44 (111cm)|
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