The Complications of Sizing

Sizing can be one of the most confusing aspects of finding your bridal gown and bridesmaids’ dresses. If you are used to the fact that you wear a certain size in high street clothes it can be very disconcerting to find you are a totally different size in bridal wear and usually it is a larger size! This can lead to some brides wondering if the staff at their bridal shop have measured them correctly or if a dress has been labelled in error. If this has happened to you be assured that you are not alone and the shop have probably got it right!

Bridal Sizing

Over the years people in developed countries have been getting bigger as modern lifestyles often involve poor dietary habits and too little exercise. High street brands soon realised the potential benefits of flattering people by making them believe they had fit into a smaller size. They then started to make the measurements of each size a little larger. Those of a certain age will certainly have noticed how things have changed over the years but younger people will really only know the current sizing parameters. This is where the confusion with bridal wear arises because bridal manufacturers still largely use size charts dating from the 1950’s.


Quite apart from the confusion, the use of traditional sizing causes other issues and the principle one is fit. The older sizing systems all work on the basis of certain proportions between bust, waist and hips. In other words, no matter what size a garment is it will have the same differential between the waist and the rest of the body. This is problematic because people are often thicker around the middle than they used to be leading to a situation where if a dress fits your waist it will be too big everywhere else. This is one of the main reasons why so many bridal gowns require significant alteration.


Gown from the Mori Lee Julietta collection

Plus Size Ranges

If you do have a fuller figure you may find that you achieve a much better and more flattering fit by choosing a dress from a plus size range rather than a larger size from a regular range. This is because the plus size ranges tend to cut their dresses with a more generous waist in proportion to the bust and hips. There are now several excellent plus size collections to look at with a good variety of styles to choose from and the prices tend to be no higher than other labels.

Purchasing Onlne

The sizing issue makes ordering online very difficult with a succession of brides finding that what they thought was a bargain buy doesn’t fit them at all.  Whilst gowns which are too large can be altered down it is very hard to do anything with a gown that is too small. It really is best to source your special dress from a shop where you can test out the fit, can see the quality and have experts on hand to help you make the right decisions.

If you are finding you need a bigger size for your wedding dress than your Amari Clothing or Top Shop dress then fear not, most brides will be having the same experience and if buy from the right place you will end up with a gown that looks fabulous.


Article by bridal shop owner Sally Stacey