How To Measure Yourself For Online Shopping
Shopping online can be daunting especially since garment sizing can vary so much from brand to brand. Because American garment sizing is not standardized, most brands are given liberty to denote their own sizing, us included. Since our garments are based on vintage silhouettes and historical pieces, we thought it may be helpful to share a guide on how to measure yourself and how this applies to shopping Atèlette online.
You'll need a tape measure, a full length mirror, and notepad/pen for writing down your notes. It is best to measure yourself in the morning, before you've eaten. Wear something light and thin like a slip or while wearing undergarments. Keep in mind as you measure yourself to breathe normally and do not suck in your body or hold your breath. The most basic measurements you will need when shopping online are your BUST, WAIST, and HIPS. So we will cover these first and we will start with BUST since it is often the most troublesome to get correct.
BUST: There are THREE points you must measure in order to get your bust measurement correct! The first point is around your body just beneath your armpit, this is typically your "chest size". The second point is around your bust at the fullest part, the difference between this number and your "chest size" normally denotes your "cup size". And the third point is below your bust, this is your "underbust" measurement. If your chest size is a 32", your mid bust is a 34", and your underbust is a 30", typically this means you are a 32B (where each inch of measurement is subsequent to a lettered cup size). You are most likely going to be an XS or 32 in our garments. In the image below, Sasha is measuring her bust at the second point of measurement.
How This Applies To Our Shop: Your "chest size" is typically what you will shop for as we measure our garments laid flat and measure the chest from armpit to armpit. However, it is very important to remember to allow for body movement within your garments and you normally want to give a 1/2" to 1" allowance. So an example of this would be: If your chest size measures a 36", you will most likely purchase a garment with a chest measurement that is between 18" or 19" since that means that garment will fit a 36" (if you want the garment to be fitted) to 38" chest (if you want the fit to be a bit more relaxed). *Special Note: Some measurements may seem "off" due to how a garment is suppose to fit and fall on the body. This may apply to blouses that are meant to be a bit oversized in which case a chest measurement for an XS may be noted as "19 chest", but that doesn't mean our XS garment is made for someone with a 38" bust.
WAIST: Measure yourself around the smallest part of your waist. This is your natural waistline. Take note that your waistline will naturally fluctuate during the day and month between 1"-5"! So you want to take this measurement during different times of the day but always begin in the morning and on an empty stomach. Take another measurement during your monthly period (if you menstruate). And also take a measurement in the late afternoon, usually before a dinner. You will be surprised with how much your waist measurement will fluctuate. It is totally normal!In the image below, Sasha is measuring her waist around the smallest part of her waist.
How This Applies To Our Shop: We measure the waist of our garments laid flat and across the smallest part of the waist band (if it has one) or where the waist should land. So a 14" waist measurement would fit to a 28" actual waist. Now remember, you probably do not want to purchase the garment that is your *exact* waist size as your waist measurement does fluctuate throughout the day. You want to be comfortable and allow for ease and movement throughout the day. Many of our garments feature sashes and ties to cinch in your waistline, so do note that the measurement given for the waist is the garment relaxed and not tied or cinched at the waist.
HIPS: There is a quick vintage seller trick as to where you should measure around for your hips and it has typically been accurate. Measure down from your bellybutton about 7", from that point measure around your hips. Now, if you have a voluptuous bottom, you may need to lower the tape measure down a bit (no more than an 1"), but not too much! Your hip measurement is not the circumference of your hips and your buttocks!
How This Applies To Our Shop: When we measure for hips, we measure typically between 7" to 7.5" down from the waistline and then across. If a garment does not have a waistline or band, we measure 7"-7.5" from where the waistline should be. Most of our garments are designed with at least an A-line silhouette or fuller skirt, so typically the hip measurements may be noted as "open hips".
We cannot recommend it enough, but invest in a tailor! Unlike the years of old, most of us DO NOT sew our own garments nor are taught basic sewing skills. Up until the mid 20th century, most women sewed their own garments and garments were more bespoke and tailored to fit each individual's body. It would be nigh impossible to make garments to perfectly fit each person, so we cannot recommend enough to invest in a local tailor and to get your garments tailored to fit you properly. It is unrealistic to expect every garment you purchase online to fit you perfectly so always expect some alterations may be required. You will feel so much better about how you look in your garments when they are tailored to your curves and silhouettes exactly so! If you are in between sizes, always size up so there is room to take in a garment. We also recommend telling your tailor when taking in garments to LEAVE the seam allowance so it can be let out if needed at a later date (this is ideal for bust and waist). If a hemline is too long for your liking, get it taken up and ask your tailor to fashion a hair bow out of the remnants.