Although ready-to-wear clothing has its many benefits, it can be a real minefield when it comes to choosing your size. Thankfully, Stylecamp's handy size guide and measuring tips are here to help you feel confident in taking your own measurements and finding the right size for you.
STANDARD SIZES - A MYTH UNPICKED!
We're all created differently, so first of all I want to address a huge myth when it comes to clothing size.
"There is no 'true' standard size in fashion"
A so-called 'standard size' will be different wherever you go. Sizing depends primarily on your age and location, plus many more factors besides. For ready-to-wear clothing to exist, designers and retailers have to establish their own size ranges to fit their particular target market, which is why you'll find such variations between them.
To make matters more confusing, some retailers are known to adopt the practise of 'vanity sizing', whereby the size boundaries are shifted in order to flatter the customer.
You may think that it would be simpler if all retailers just used the same 'standard size' chart in that case; however, when you consider our differing body ages and proportions globally, throwing all of those body shapes into one size chart may mean those garments wouldn't fit anyone at all!
KNOW YOUR MEASUREMENTS
In the modern 'standard-sized' world, it can certainly be frustrating finding the correct fit when there's so much variation. It's important to remember that size is just a number and never to judge yourself by shop standards, you just need to find where you fit in that particular scenario. The key is knowing and understanding your personal measurements as that will give you a truer reflection of your size without putting yourself in a 'standard-size' box.
HOW TO MEASURE YOURSELF
For most commercial size charts, you will only need a bust, waist and hip measurement to work with. Before you begin, ensure you're wearing the underwear you intend to wear with your garment. When it comes to bust measurements in particular, you want to ensure everything is in the right place!
You can measure yourself in your undies, or wear something light like a fitted t-shirt and leggings that won't detract from your final measurements.
If you haven't got anyone to help you, be sure to do this exercise in front of a mirror so you can clearly see what you're doing. Hold the tape firmly so it doesn't fall down, but without squeezing it into your body, to take an accurate measurement. You can try doing it a few times to make sure you get the same result.
Wrap the tape around the fullest part of the bust making sure it is straight and aligned with the nipples. Your arms should be straight down in a comfortable position. This can be a little awkward if you're trying to do it yourself, so just make sure you're able to hold the tape to the side of the bust to take your measurement accurately if you can't get anyone to help.
A great tip here is to use a piece of string or something similar to tie around your waist to help find its natural position. It's usually your narrowest part between the bust and hips, just above the belly button. Wrapping the tape measure around this point, ensure the tape is straight before correcting your body posture in the mirror and taking your final measurement.
There is a common misconception about where to take this measurement from. It's not where you can feel your top hips protruding; it's your fullest part much lower down, incorporating both the hip and seat. Stand sideways to the mirror so you can see the tape measure in the right position. Stand up straight and pinch the tape firmly in place before taking the measurement.
Consider the fit you're looking for
There's a little freedom in choosing a larger or smaller size if the garment in question is particularly oversized or if you actually want to wear something looser or tighter. If your garment is something that's quite fitted, always opt for the size that covers or comfortably stretches to your widest measurement, you can always adjust the rest!
Consider the fabric
Does it stretch? Is it a rigid woven? Stretch fabrics are generally cut closer to the body and stretch to fit (so often come up smaller), although they can come in looser cuts such as t-shirts and dresses. You will find there's more give in these types of garments so you can think about sizing up or down. Woven garments can be more tricky unless they're oversized or a loose cut. Very fitted items like jeans come to mind, although this is vastly improved with the invention of stretch denim!
Consider what you'll be wearing it for
If you're planning on being active, be it with sports or a night on the town dancing, you may want to consider if a looser or tighter fit will benefit you and what will bring you the most comfort during wear.
STYLECAMP SIZE CHART
Here is Stylecamp's size chart that applies to much of the clothing listed on the site. The global size conversions shown are approximate and I always advise to check the measurements given. As the designs are quite fitted, you may find these to be smaller than your average high street retailer, so just another example of how it pays to know your measurements!
Most of the designs made by Stylecamp have a fair level of stretch. If you find yourself between sizes, I usually suggest sizing up for a more comfortable fit. If you're still unsure or need help picking a size, please don't hestitate to get in touch, I'm always happy to help.