If you have ever tried on formal wear, be it a wedding gown, bridesmaid dress, prom, or pageant dress then you know that the formal wear doesn’t run the same as street size clothing. Why the designers have chosen to remain with the old standard US sizing is a mystery but even with that, not all dresses of the same size will fit. Let’s look at why.
Each designer has its own size chart and, depending on the origins of the company, those size charts can be anywhere from 1 to 3 sizes off from your street size. European designers tend to run the smallest, but each will vary, which is why each designer has their own unique size chart. Big lesson here; just because you tried on a prom or wedding gown and it was a size 6 doesn’t mean that all bridal and prom gowns will be the same size. But why, if the dress is from the same designer, can you wear a 2, 4 and 6 all at the same time?
Depending on a girl’s unique shape, each gown style can fit differently. For example, if you know that you are broader across the shoulders, then you might fit in a smaller size dress with an open back but require a larger gown if it has an illusion back. The same can be true for a woman that has bigger hips. If you are trying on a mermaid style gown you might need a large size than you would in a ballgown or a-line style gown.
If you have chosen a thicker fabric with less give (like a satin material) the dress will not be able to give with your curves and you might require a larger size. However, if the gown you are looking at has been cut in a more forgiving fabric such as jersey knit, you might be able to fit in one that is a size or two smaller.
If you see a dress with a side zipper you can make a safe assumption that you will require one size larger in that gown than you would in the same style and fabric gown with a back zipper. Also, a gown with a lace-up or corseted back works well for someone whose proportions aren’t as even or who is perhaps concerned about weight loss or gain between purchasing and wearing of the gown.
The lesson to be learned, in formal wear you are not a size, the dresses are. You are better off to search for the color, style, and fabric that most interests you and not focus on the number on the tag inside of it. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your consultant. They work day in and day out with the dresses and will be able to offer you guidance in selecting the perfect gown for you.
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