Vintage Size vs. Modern Size: Finding Clothes and Patterns That Fit - Bellatory - Fashion and Beauty
Updated date:

Vintage Size vs. Modern Size: Finding Clothes and Patterns That Fit

Author:

Tess45 writes about clothes and body image, among other things.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Was Not What We Would Call a Size 14

Marilyn Monroe was NOT a size 14. She was a size 8. Let me clarify: in 1960s sizing, Marilyn Monroe was a size 14, which would be a size 8 in modern ready–to-wear sizing. Today's size 14 is more like size 20 in Marilyn’s day.

Don't Panic! It's Just a Number

When purchasing clothes, whether they are vintage treasures or off the sale rack at Dillard’s, the only thing that should matter is how well it fits. Don’t get too hung up on what size it is. If it looks great and you love how you look and feel in it, then why does a silly old number matter? No one has ever walked up to me and said, “Fabulous dress! What size is that?” If anyone did, I think I might just punch him or her right in the jaw!

Jean Harlow

Jean Harlow

Sizing up Sizing

Trying to understand how women’s clothes are sized is like trying to figure out trigonometry with only an elementary understanding of math.

A basic rule of thumb to follow is that vintage sizes are at least four sizes smaller than modern sizes. The further back in time you go, the smaller the clothes get, and you may have to adjust up another size or two.

Say you wear a size 10. You spot a lovely, Jean Harlow-worthy evening gown from the 1930s. Hold on, chica! Unless that dress is marked size 16—I am very sorry to say this—it’s probably not going to fit you. On the other hand, if it is marked size 16, don’t be put off by the “larger” number. Like I said, it’s just a silly number. Who cares?

Now if you see the perfect 1970s gold lamé disco dress, with a plunging neckline and leg slit which is totally in this spring, and it's marked size 12 or 14, try it on! It might just fit, and you will look stunning

Vanity Sizing: Inflation in Women's Sizes

Clothing sizing has undergone what is called “vanity sizing” in the past 20 years. It is true, gentle reader, as the American public has become larger, so have our clothes. Each clothing size is now at least two inches bigger than it was 20 years ago. Does that explain why your size 10 wedding dress from 20 years ago no longer fits, but your new size 10 dresses do?

Have you also noticed you have to try on dresses in several sizes to find one that fits, only to become frustrated and give up? You can thank vanity sizing for that too. Some manufacturers use it and some don’t. Then there’s "catalog sizing" which uses yet another standard. No wonder we can’t find anything to wear!

Every time I try to purchase something that is ready to wear, I am reminded why I started sewing my own clothes -- because nothing fits me. This has always been a problem for me, even at my skinniest. My top half is much larger than my bottom half. I was often encouraged to “go for separates.” But I love dresses!

McCall's Pattern #5927 comes in various cup sizes for the perfect fit.

McCall's Pattern #5927 comes in various cup sizes for the perfect fit.

Pattern Sizes vs. Ready-to-Wear

Remember that six-size difference I mentioned between now and the '50s? It applies to patterns as well. Because of my broad shoulders and ample bosom my top half is a modern ready-to-wear 14, which means I need a vintage pattern for my top half in a size 20.

Now, to add insult to injury, patterns are sized to B-cup.

There are exceptions to these rules; some patterns offer lines in “modern sizing.”

When you buy a pattern, always check the sizing chart on the back of the pattern to make sure you purchase the correct size. And more important, icut out the right size as many patterns are multi-sized.

Some pattern companies also now offer patterns with cup adjustments. I learned the hard way that when using such a pattern you need to go down a size or two. Use your under-bust measurement (you know, the number your bra is, for example 38) to determine the proper pattern size.

Getting the Perfect Fit May Cost You

Time to face the truth: most of us are not the perfect size 8, 12, 14, or even 20. If you want your clothes to fit you as if they were made for you, there are a few options.

Your first option, if you have access to tons of disposable cash, is to have a seamstress custom make your clothes.

Option two, if you know how to sew, is to make them yourself. But if you think this is going to save you money, think again. Patterns can cost anywhere from .99 cents on sale to $20 regular price. Fabrics, nice apparel fabrics start at $10 a yard and a dress takes a minimum of three yards, if it has a very slim skirt and no sleeves. I’ve made fabric-hungry dresses that take up to eight yards of fabric! Then there are the notions, thread, zippers, buttons, etc. Figure another $5. Plus there’s the time you have to spend making it. It takes me at least 16 hours to make a dress from cutting and marking to sewing and finishing. Oh, and did I mention the sewing machine? You are going to need a very good one. Plan on $800 to $2,000.

Option three is to make friends with a good alterations shop. Buy good quality pieces that will hold up through the test of time and repeated washings. Get the size that fits your largest part best, and then have it taken in on your smaller parts for the perfect fit.

Questions & Answers

Question: Are fractional vintage US sizes like 7/8 equivalent to today's 27"-28"?

Answer: I am not sure I understand the question. I vintage 7/8 would be a size 0 or 2, depending on the era.

Question: What size vintage pattern would I need for a child's size 5T today?

Answer: Go by your child's chest, height, waist, and hip measurements.

Comments

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on May 09, 2012:

Thanks,Neldas

Neldas from San Antonio, TX on May 09, 2012:

Great hub and useful information.

yukitokyo from 51 Great Portland Street London on April 26, 2011:

Really great hub, it's nice to re-create vintage styles, I often find I do not fit genuine vintage clothes so i appreciate trends that are vintage inspired. I've actually just posted about it if you check my profile some of these looks may be helpful to your readers who have the same trouble finding modern sizes in vintage clothes.

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on April 03, 2011:

Thanks Kim. When I wrote it I had no idea it was going to be so popular.

Kim Harris on April 03, 2011:

Hi Tess. I'm listening to the podcast now, and came over to see the hub. Very interesting. Thanks.

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on April 02, 2011:

Wow! Oh my gosh, what an honor! Thank you so much!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 01, 2011:

Hiya Tess45! I just want to let you know that this Hub was the first Hub to be featured in HubPages' new podcast series! Props to you!!

Here's a link to the blog post where you can find the podcast: http://blog.hubpages.com/2011/04/waee-podcast-1/

Thanks for writing such a great Hub!

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 21, 2011:

It takes me about 12-16 hours to make a dress. You do have to exercise patience. I always make 3 or 4 bobbins before I start.

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on March 21, 2011:

I think my main problem is I really have no patience. I want the product in like 30 minutes from cutting material to going to the sewing machine. Unfortunately, it usually takes me 30 minutes to get the bobbin going and then I have about 2 minutes of sewing and then I am out of thread and have to do the whole bobbin thing. My mother in law tried to teach me. I might take a class one day. We will see! :)

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 20, 2011:

Barbergirl,

Have you tried taking a class? I really sucked at it at first too. I am still not great, but good enough to please myself and I made my friend a kimono top for Christmas and she really liked it. If you like sewing stick with it. You will improve. Try looking for "Learn to Sew" patterns (usually found on vintage pattern sites). They can be quite helpful. You Tube is a good place to go for help too. That's where I went to learn how to do a blind hem and a French seam. Now, if I could only learn to do full bust adjustments...

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on March 20, 2011:

I always thougth Mariylne Monroe was a size 12... although she never looked at it. But I was curious as to why the sizes kept getting bigger and bigger. Useful information.

I always wanted to try sewing my own shirts or outfits. Got a nice sewing machine, made my kids a few horrible looking pajamas and then tried to make myself a nice tank top. Yep.... still in working progress and that was over 7 years ago. I can not figure out the sewing thing to save my life. LOL

Great hub!

Julia on March 06, 2011:

Whatever size she was, she was incredibly beautiful!

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 06, 2011:

See, Aheil, your mother does know something!

aheil on March 06, 2011:

@tess45 omg my mom does that to me all the time and i dont believe her either haha

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 06, 2011:

I know! You can barely find normal waist dress pants, either. I have completely quit wearing pants. When I show my daughter where her actual waist is, she doesn't believe me.

Leah Lefler from Western New York on March 06, 2011:

This is why I love Hubpages - I had no idea sizes had changed so very much over the years! I had always heard that Marilyn Monroe was a size 14 and never really thought about the difference in sizes over time. I can't ever get anything to fit, and I despise the new "low rise" jeans, since they give anyone over the age of 12 a muffin top!

AshleyRB from United States on March 06, 2011:

Marilyn had such an amazing shape!

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 06, 2011:

Brookelynn,

I think that is an excellent Idea.

danthehandyman from Maryland on March 06, 2011:

Great article, Tess. I studied trigonometry but still can't figure out clothing sizes for my better half. At one time I thought I had it, and then all the sizes were wrong again. Men's clothes have gone through something similar, as I have a closet full of shirts, all the same size and only 25% fit correctly. 10 years ago I didn't even know where the fitting rooms were, but now I don't buy my clothes without trying 'em on first.

brookelynn26 from Atlanta, GA on March 05, 2011:

Great Great post! As a recent grad with a degree in fashion, sizing is one of the topics that come up the most with potential clients. I constantly have to explain that size does not make the garment or the woman. Our dressforms in school were all at least two sizes smaller than the size marked on it, and many people still don't understand why. In my business now, I like to list garments according to measurements as opposed to size. This is because some clients are so caught up on that number that it ets in the way of their personal style.

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 05, 2011:

Annie,

Sounds like you might be an apple. I don't like how shorts and pants look on me so I stick to skirts and dresses. A wide stretchy belt is your friend. It creates a waist. An empire waist on a dress that comes right at or above your knee would be very flattering showing off your two smallest parts - your legs and the area right under your bust. If you are a bit busty go for a v-neck. (Also, SPANX are your friend! Or Flexees or even Target's Assets.) I hope you do start sewing. Don't get discouraged if it's a little frustrating at first, you will get better and it will get more enjoyable.

Amie Warren on March 05, 2011:

I admit, I am hung up on size. I was a size 7-8 for most of my life, then I started gaining mostly around my middle. I can never find anything that fits my bottom that isn't too tight in the waist. I tried a lower waisted style, but even that is too big. Then to top it all off, I have skinny legs, so the size shorts that fit my waist and butt makes my legs look like two string beans hanging out of them.

I used to sew, and I'm going to start doing it again, just to get something that actually fits!

rachelsholiday on March 04, 2011:

Thank you so much for writing this! Irony of ironies, I always buy my clothes to fit my body and don't pay attention to the number, but my husband does not. I wish I could sew my own clothes, but I've never really learned how. Maybe I should take a class.

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 04, 2011:

I know that. Thanks for the comment, and for appreciating us the way we are.

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 04, 2011:

aheil, take you current off the rack size and add 6,For example: If you wear a 10, 10+6=16. !6 is proably your vintage size... it's also most likely the size you would purchase if getting a sewing pattern.

aheil on March 04, 2011:

wow that's weird that the sizing from different times is so different. I wonder what I am in the old days :p

mysisters on March 03, 2011:

Great Hub. I never knew that vintage vs. modern sizing was so different. Very useful information.

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 03, 2011:

thank you, Uriel!

Uriel from Lebanon on March 03, 2011:

Tess this is really interesting and informative. Thanks for the hard work and keep up the great work!!

Always a fan,

Uriel

cpvaughn1983 on March 02, 2011:

Agreed!

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 02, 2011:

Being plump and pale meant wealth, i.e. you did not have to toil outside (which would make you tan) and you never had to go without food (which would make you thin.) Studies have shown when men were given pictures of curvy women vs. twiggy women, the majority found the curvy women more desirable. I am not saying one is better than the other. I am saying be proud of the body you have whether you are an hourglass, pear, apple, ruler, whatever...just love yourself.

cpvaughn1983 on March 02, 2011:

I love it!!! I love Marylin, I love her curves, and lets not forget the The Renaissance Woman

In the age of Chanel Iman and Kate Moss, imagining voluptuous equating to sexy is well, to put it simply, unimaginable. But in the Renaissance, the Christina Hendricks and Beth Dittos of the world would’ve reigned supreme. In fact, the women revered at the time for being gorgeous are what we would consider over weight in today’s scenario. In short, full figured women were the epitome of beauty. Paintings of artists from the time evidently depict this. Quite possibly as the only time in history, women were lauded for their natural, god-given bodies. So the Renaissance ladies were free to stuff their faces as and when they pleased. Can you spell e-n-v-y? Fairer hair was put on a pedestal at the time. The lighter the hair, the more gorgeous the girl. Pale skin, as most know was the order of the time and red lips were considered sexy supremo. Edward Cullen-esque much?

http://www.modelsandmoguls.net/articles/2010/03/30...

Curves freakin rock!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on March 02, 2011:

All very true! (No wonder women did so much 'swooning' back then--no air could get into their lungs!) But bustles were because men liked big butts in those days. But heaven forbid anyone should see a REAL one! It all makes me ill.

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 02, 2011:

Yes, But in the Victorian era you had to smash you waist and internal organs into a tight corste to have that itty bitty waist, plus wear a bustle. Also women were expected to have tiny feeet so even if you wore and 8 or 9 you had to cram your foot into a 6. Oh, and on top of that you had to be athletic! They actually played tennis with all that stuff on. And all that covering up the body and table legs led to an explosion of the porn industry, albeit underground!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on March 02, 2011:

Ack! I've known about this issue a long time. As you point out, not only have sizes changed over the years, but no two manufacturers size alike. (There is a similar problem with shoes!)

As for the 'punch someone in the jaw,' comment, I thought it was funny...and...right on! I'd proabably have the same reaction. At the very least, I'd make a comment along the lines of, "Oh,honey, I'm so sorry for you that you mother didn't teach you proper manners to function in polite society."

I sewed clothes for my kids, and a few things for myself over the years--until the kids reached an age where they "wouldn't be caught dead" in home-made clothing. (I'm no 'designer seamstress'; just a plain seamstress.)

I saved money on making the kids' clothes only until they outgrew the sizes that could be made from the remnant table: after that, as you pointed out, it is just as expensive or more so than buying RTW.

Vanity sizing, indeed! BAH, humbug! There was a time, if you go back farther than Marilyn, where "full-figured" and voluptuous women were the 'sexy standard.' There was the era of Queen Victoria, although then, they shunned the body, and even mention of any of its parts: people did not have legs and arms, they had 'limbs.' Tables were draped to the floor lest anyone catch a glimpse of the table's legs---errrrrrr----'limbs.' OY!

But go back even farther in time...the standard of beauty is seen in the sculptures of the day. The Venus de Milo is no Twiggy!

Voted up and useful.

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 02, 2011:

Thank you, thoughtful girl. I wear anything form a 10 to an 18...so I don't get too flumoxed over my size anymore either.

Claudia Smaletz from East Coast on March 02, 2011:

Being a curvy girl myself, I am constantly flumoxed by the sizing of fashion. Myself, I don't pay attention to the numbers at all since they have become almost meaningless. I start at size 12 and go up or down depending on what I'm buying. Good article.

chinasexlingerie on March 02, 2011:

very useful, thank you for your share.

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 01, 2011:

Congratulations on Baby Number 3! I am so glad you enjoyed reading this. I hope you enjoyed it as much as being able to wear jeans with zipper flies again.

JLClose from OreGONE on March 01, 2011:

This was a fun read! After having my third baby two months ago, I don't care what numbered size I am, I just get excited when I fit into non maternity jeans!

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 01, 2011:

Hunt Goddess.. I have a long torso too and short legs. I'm 5'2" and my back waist measurement (base of neck to waist) is 16 inches. My shoulders are also very wide. I find a wide belt "balances" my torso and gives me a waist and I keep my hem line right at my knee to two inches above. I also wear heels - always. The combination makes my legs look long. People often mistakenly think I have long legs. It's all smoke and mirrors!

And to Ce La Vie, Anabrea and Mulberry thank you for the comments and support.

Christine Mulberry on March 01, 2011:

Great information, esp. for anyone buying vintage clothing. Sad truth is many of us are well aware of the changing sizes. If you are an old size 8, 6, or 4 they no longer make clothes for you. (well, at least none that are age appropriate)

anabrea from North Andover, Massachusetts on March 01, 2011:

Nice piece! Useful information and delightful to read as well. Perfect blend of form and function if you will.

Huntgoddess from Midwest U.S.A. on March 01, 2011:

Up, awesome, useful, beautiful, funny --- the whole however many number of yards (afraid to say "nine" right now LOL).

I've always wanted to know about this stuff. I'm neither an apple nor a pear, but some weird hybrid fruit in between. I don't know. Maybe I'm the whole smoothie.

My main issue is: long torso, short legs.

But, that's only the beginning. I do like to sew, but I don't like to shop.

When I do shop, it's usually at Goodwill or St. Vinnie's. Every time I spend serious money on clothes, I'm always so sorry later on.

Bryanps: That's not "beggin the question". It's bringing up the question.

C'est La Vie from Florida on March 01, 2011:

This was a very interesting hub! I was always wondering that.

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 01, 2011:

Amymarie, it's a mystery to me too. I tried to find more information on that but there is none. I am an apple, too. I like to say I am hourglass with too much time at 12 and not enough at 6. I guess that makes more of an hour and half? One cool thing about being an apple, most apples have FANTASTIC legs.

Amy DeMarco from Chicago on March 01, 2011:

Thanks for putting this out there. I personally hate 'vanity' sizes. It just makes shopping all the more frustrating. I am apple shaped and shoppping is hard enough. My hips are riddiculously small and I am heavy on top. So this means I wear anything from a 4 to an 8. Sometimes I can fit in size 2 pants if they are cut low enough and I know I'm not that thin. I would love it if the designers went by actual measurements (like they do with mens clothing). Why they don't is a mystery to me.

Ivorwen from Hither and Yonder on March 01, 2011:

Excellent article! When I was in high school, nearly everything in my closet was handmade or vintage. Imagine my surprise when I ordered a skirt according to my pattern size and ended up with this huge mess of material that didn't even come close to fitting!

I really hate the vanity sizing... It makes it so hard to find something that fits, made by the higher end companies, for a smaller person. I am a vintage 8-12, and to have modern skirts, size 4, be 6-8 inches too big in the waist is ridiculous!

Oh, and Marilyn would probably wear size 3-4 curvy jeans.

dina loehmanns on March 01, 2011:

Thank you SO much for posting this hub! I love to shop, but it can be incredibly frustrating to try and find the right size. I normally have to bring three of the same piece into the fitting room with me, because you never know what sizing the designer is following.

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on March 01, 2011:

CONFUSING!

I think I can clarify the 1950s size issue for you. During that era, many young women aspired to be a "NINE".

This size was so desireable that there was a whole chain of stores devoted solely to it. Lucky was the woman who could shop at "The House of Nine."

I know this because I was fortunate enough to go 'steady' with a "NINE".

Marilyn Monroe was probably a "NINE", not an eight.

For decades the ultimate compliment to a girl was to call her a "NINE"...although this changed in 1979 when

Blake Edwards hired Bo Derek for a film called, "TEN."

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 01, 2011:

AnnieRose, I am glad you found this useful. 2patricias I am so happy you decided to sew again! I hope it turns out fabulous, and even if doesn't please don't get discouraged. Your comment made my day!

2patricias from Sussex by the Sea on March 01, 2011:

I am so pleased that I read this. I have not sewed myself anything for 30 years. In desparation I bought a pattern and material last week. Now that I have read this, I will check all the measurements before I start cutting. Thanks so much - it's possible that you have saved me time, money and tears. If I could vote this up twice I would.

AnnieRoseVA on March 01, 2011:

Great information - thank you. I'm going to try your suggestion of altering good clothes to get that perfect fit.

calliemorris from London on March 01, 2011:

Absolutely agree with your response to my comment Tess, curvy women win! Also... Don't worry about hunysuckle - I think she's a spammer..?

April Marie from Chicago, IL on March 01, 2011:

I mean seriously, you couldn't have used a woman with a little more class and respect for an example? Monroe makes all women look bad and still influences women today to just be dumb housewives and eye candy for men. I really don't care if I'm "judging" because I'm not a Christian and I just say it how it is. As far as speaking "ill" about the dead, once again **don't care** she's just a ghost.

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on February 28, 2011:

Did I tell you today, DIY that I absolutely adore you?

DIYweddingplanner from South Carolina, USA on February 28, 2011:

Just curious, but where are trust me's hubs...I'm just sayin'....

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on February 28, 2011:

Thank you Research Analyst. I hope designers come around too.

Research Analyst on February 28, 2011:

I was having this very conversation the other day when I was comparing dress sizes to some I bought a few years ago and it seems that the number inside the collar is waaay off and I was wondering about it, because I knew that my size has stayed pretty much the same, no extreme highs or lows.

But as you have mentioned it depends on the designer and time period, it sad that society still thinks stick thin is best, while curvy is not. Hopefully this will change and more clothing designers will make clothes in a greater variety, for each womans shape.

nice hub, thumbs up!

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on February 28, 2011:

bryanps, I do think our diet and mostly sedentary lifestyle has something to do with it as well as all the growth hormones in our milk, beef and poultry. Women are also getting taller and have bigger feet.

Trust Me, if someone is rude enough to ask you your dress size they are taking a risk. I thinks its funny, but if you don't that's ok today. Doesn't offend me. Thanks for reading.

trust me on February 28, 2011:

its a little informally written, it might be stronger if it didn't say you would punch someone in the face, but, ehhh...I know you are going for humor but it's not that funny. no offense.

bryanps from Australia on February 28, 2011:

very informative post, which begs the question. Is the reason why American women are larger today because of diet?

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on February 28, 2011:

Those are important isssue, but the purpose of my writing is to empower women to be proud of the body they have and not focus on what the size label says. Marilyn was a troubled young woman who nowadays would have been given a diagnosis and proper treatment, but not having that she may have done what many people do, self medicate, and there is no substantial evidence that she was a drug addict. One should not talk ill of the dead, anyway. Do not judge someone unless you have lived their life. Also I used Marilyn as an example because people like to say she was a size 14, so those of us who are size 14 can feel like we are just as well shaped as Marilyn, but the fact remains she was an 8. I needed an example to clearly illustrate how sizes have changed. If you read the whole article, you should have seen that it wasn't about her at all. It's about finding vintage clothes in your size and not worrying about numbers. Thank you for your comment and I hope you read my other hubs as well.

April Marie from Chicago, IL on February 28, 2011:

Why does everyone worship Marilyn Monroe? She was a drug addict. Who really cares about what size of clothes she wore?? She's dead people. There's more important things to care about TODAY in 2011...like how Republicans are trying to take away health care and abolish women's rights completely.

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on February 28, 2011:

Thank you Grace for the compliment and the support!

graceomalley on February 28, 2011:

Stunning photo of Marilyn! I'm remembering why I had lots of Marilyn pictures back in high school. Great hub1 You're off to a wonderful start!

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on February 28, 2011:

Thank you calliemorris. Yes, she was indeed very beaufiful. Women are SUPPOSED to have curves. I don't know how we got to the point in society where "rulers" became the standard of beauty.

calliemorris from London on February 28, 2011:

Very interesting hub (and useful for when vintage shopping!) but wow size 8 or size 14, doesn't really matter - Marilyn was beautiful..! Thanks for a great read! Voted up

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on February 26, 2011:

Stephhicks68 - My point exactly! Thanks for the comment.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on February 26, 2011:

Really, I have to saw screw sizes and even the numbers on the scale - all they do is set us up for stress and unhappiness! My current size is undoubtedly 2-3 sizes larger than it would have been in Marilyn's day, but I can run marathons pretty fast and qualified for Boston. Oh, and I've had 4 kids. Numbers? Not so much use for me these days....

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on February 25, 2011:

Yikes! Sorry about the typos in my comment. I was excited about all the new comments and followers.

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on February 25, 2011:

pmccrazy The best place for suits if you are curvy gal, as long as you don't need bigger than a 14 on top is the Limited. They sell everything separate and the offer free hemming on pants if you have a limited card. I personal feel to restricted in a suit jacket so I usually go the cardigan route or occassional cropped swing coat.

Also their clothes are wash and wear for hte most part, whichi really like giventhe cost of dry cleaning. The clothes are little costly, but they have good sales, and the quality and style hold up well. Thanks for the vote.

And to Simone measure the clothes the fit your best laying flat. Meausre the clthes in the store you thing will fit the same way. If it matches up you should be good to go and be able to spend less time in the fitting room.

GypsyWillow and Sunshyne- Thanks fo rthe comments/compliments.

Short and Curvy Girls Unite!

pmccray from Utah on February 25, 2011:

Excellent subject matter. When my dad was stationed in Germany in the early sixties we learned of size difference. Our rule of thumb for buying clothes in this country was to remember they were 2 x larger than American sizes.

My biggest complaint with clothiers is not really caring about us full figure gals. I wear a significantly smaller size below than on top. I wish more would sell suits separately so we can get a better fit. Very well written, voted up, marked useful.

SUNSHYNE from California, US on February 25, 2011:

Loved this hub, thanks!!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on February 25, 2011:

This is a truly fascinating Hub - thanks for writing it! It sure is strange how sizes have changed over time. Heck, I don't even look at sizes anymore... I just pick something up and if it looks like it'll fit me, I try it on! Even when we do check sizes, we're all working in the dark.

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on February 25, 2011:

Great hub and useful information. Welcome and thanks for researching this.

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on February 21, 2011:

I am thinking about writing one for tall gals, but you know what they say about writing what you know...

DIYweddingplanner from South Carolina, USA on February 21, 2011:

And then there are the Amazon women like me who have to add five inches to everything! Good info and probably stuff alot of people didn't know!

Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on February 20, 2011:

Thank you Ted Campbell. I carry a tape measure in my handbag when I shop. I can measure clothes and eliminate those that are pointless to try on, or know whether I should grab a size up or down. It saves time.

tedcampbell2792 from NY on February 20, 2011:

Interesting and useful information!

Related Articles