Let's start with the easy part: your height.
How tall are you?
The website will
show a maximum allowable height for each gown. If a gown is "suitable for
all heights," this means that the gown is not petite and does not appear
to have been altered. Read the height suggestion box on the main description
page so that you understand how to add eleven inches for your head. For
example, if a gown is 56 inches from the shoulder to hem, adding 11 inches for
your head means the gown will fit a 5' 7" Bride. (56 + 11 = 67 inches)
And remember, the issuing height for
contemporary bridal wear is set at a standard of 58 inches tall. Adding eleven
inches for your head means that the Bridal Wear Industry cuts their gowns to
fit a 5' 9" Bride. All others will have to alter hem length before
wearing or wear high heels.
Next, the bust. Did you know that even though
you wear a size 34 bra band that your cup size adds on inches? For
instance, a 34B can add on 2 inches to the bust measurement so that you are
actually 36 inches. Here's how it works:
A cup = 1 inch
B cup = 2 inches
C Cup = 3 inches
D cup = 4 inches
DD cup is 5 inches
OK, let's try! Keeping the tape measure horizontally straight,
measure around the fullest part of the bust and the widest part of the back.
Stick your chest out and be proud! Don't Slouch! Write this measurement down.
You might be surprised to find out that although you wear a size 34 C bra, your
actual measurement at your bust is 36-38 inches!
Next the shoulders. In order to measure from
the shoulder seam across to the shoulder seam, place your right hand under your
arm, cupping your left armpit. Your index finger should be pointing to
your back at approximately where your shoulder seam would be. (Wear a
tight fitting t-shirt if its easier for you to find the seam location.)
Now measure across to the other side. Write this down.
If your gown is an empire or raised waistline, the fit
is going to be tight right underneath the seam area. Wrap the tape measure around
your ribcage just below the bust and exhale until the tape is comfortably settled.
Check the website photos to see just where the seam falls on the mannequin. Most
often this area
is where an underwire is located on an underwire
bra. Write this
measurement down. Then, wrap the measuring tape around your waist and exhale, letting the tape settle at your natural waistline. Do not
pull the tape measure tight. You should be able to comfortably sit with the tape
measure in place. If not, allow for "wearing ease."
Finally, measure around the fullest
part of the hip. Depending on your height, this area should be above your uppermost thigh, approximately 7-9
inches below the waist.
OK, you're set! You should have measurements
that should be somewhere in the range of this:
47-63 inches shoulder to hem Height
12-17 inches back Shoulder armpit to armpit
30.5-45 inches Bust
27 to 32 inches Empire Underbust
22-36 inches Waist
34-50 inches Hip
ready to see what gowns on the website will fit, adding a one inch "wearing ease" to your measurements at the bust, waist and hip
and not your height.
Don't forget to measure your
neck circumference for the traditional Victorian wedding neck gowns and sleeve header circumference for
sleeve gowns. Good luck!