Measuring and Fit Guidelines for Wedding Gowns and Bridesmaid Dresses
If you take your own measurements and use the designer's size chart, it is important that you measure properly. We can help guide you in this area, but we cannot choose the size for you. Proper fit is subjective and individual - one person may like a dress tighter than another. You will need to choose the size you feel most comfortable with, given your measurements and fit preferences. Remember, when choosing a size for a two-piece or separates, the waist and hip measurements need to be considered along with your bust, as tops are fitted through those areas as well. Remember also, every designer has their own size chart and normal dress size is not an indication here at all.
Gowns are not custom-made; therefore you need to order to fit the largest part of the body and take it in where it's too large. If a dress is too small it could be a real problem; if it is too large a seamstress can usually alter it to fit. Sizes usually cannot be changed once the
order has been placed. The final choice for size is yours. The information below is intended to help you make the best choice.
If you require assistance in determining your size, we are happy to help. You
can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep in
mind, however, that when we give advice on sizing, we are basing it on the
information you’ve provided – since we are not taking the measurements
ourselves, we have to assume that the measurements provided are correct, as that
is what we are basing our recommendations upon.
Please be aware that sizing is not an exact science and alterations by an experienced seamstress will almost always be necessary for a proper fit.
Measure the bust at the
widest part of the back, straight across the top of the bust, NOT under the bust
line. The type of bra worn, or whether one is worn at all, can make a
difference. Do NOT use your bra/cup size.
Measuring the Waist
Measure at your natural waistline. Holding your stomach in
would be a mistake, as would create a skin-tight measurement. Leave a
finger's width under the tape so it can move. For an empire-waist style, or a
gown which is otherwise not fitted at the waist, your waist measurement is less
critical in selecting a size
Measuring the Hips
Measure at the largest part of the hips (this is generally
about 8” down from your natural waistline). The tips of your fingers
should be the area to measure when you rest your hands on your hips and put your
thumbs at your natural waist. Only in the case of a straight skirt,
slim-a-line or when the hip is several sizes larger than the other measurements
will a hip measurement be necessary to determine size.
Extra LengthMost bridesmaid dresses offer extra length. Most factories suggest that you should consider ordering extra length if you are 5'8" or taller with shoes on. Other factors are heel of shoe, hem height off floor, etc. Extra length is usually an additional 5" of fabric added to the dress. You will need to hem the dress to length desired in almost every case. Remember - if you are not sure, it's better to have too much length and be able to shorten than to have a dress that's too short and can't be let out. Extra length charges will vary by designer; our size charts for each designer will give you more specific information and will identify the cost for extra length.
Most designers charge a different fee for dresses size 18 and up, often referred to as Plus Sizes. Plus size charges will vary by designer; our size charts for each designer, will list the cost for plus sizes.
When ordering separates all 3 measurements (bust, waist, and hips) must be considered.
Hollow to Hem (available on select wedding gowns only)
A hollow to hem measurement is available on select
wedding gowns. If there is a specific style that you
are wondering about we would need to check that style # in
the information provided to us from the designer. A
hollow to hem measurement should be taken while wearing any
undergarments that you would wear the day of your wedding.
This includes bra and crinoline (if any), as well as
the correct shoe height. This special measurement is
done when a gown is particularly tricky to shorten or when a
bride prefers to order the gown in the correct length so
that a hem is not necessary.
Note: If there is a way the gown can be shortened by a
seamstress, that would be preferable than the bride doing
her own hollow to hem measurements. There are two reasons
for this: 1. there is always a little leeway in the cutting
process which is standard in the industry, and 2. sometimes
it's not exactly like the bride wanted due to how well the
measurement was done for the bride in the first place.
If on the other hand, there is no way the gown can be
shortened by a seamstress, then here is a 3 Step Instruction
for a Perfect Hollow-to-Hem Measurement:
Once the bride has put on the exact slip, crinoline, shoes,
brassiere and all undergarments she will wear the day of the
wedding, place the measuring tape 1/4" below the hollow
of the neck and measure to the waist, following the shape of
With the bride standing straight up and looking forward,
measure from the waist to the finished hem, following the
shape of the crinoline (approximately 1" from the
Place the measuring tape 1/4" below the hollow of the
neck and measure to the finished hem. If this
measurement does not equal the sum of the previous two
measurements, repeat all three measurements.
*Note: Submit Hollow-to-Hem measurements in 1"
increments only (55", 56", etc.). If the
actual hollow to hem measurement is in between a whole inch,
order the next largest increment (i.e. If the measurement is
55 1/2", order a 56" Hollow-to-Hem).