Before you go shopping for a new dress, it’s important to check the measurements of the garment you currently own. If possible, lay the article of clothing flat on the floor. Run a tape measure around the narrowest part of your natural waist. To get the fullest hip measurement, stand with your feet together. The fullest part of the hips is usually midway between your crotch and belly button. If the dress is on hangers, take the measurements again by lying flat on a floor.
In general, you should go one size up or down. Most dresses have seams that offer alterations. If possible, bring the piece to a tailor to have it altered if it is too large. Good places to check include the shoulder line, back zipper, and top of the waist. If you still have questions, consider asking your stylist for help. Once you know your size, you can shop for the dress. You can also check the measurements of the waist and the top of the hip.
In the past, major retail chains catered to one type of consumer – the white, slim and athletic – and only offered small and medium sizes. Now, consumers are turning away from these stores, and demanding that mass-market chains carry a wider range of sizes. Furthermore, celebrities are calling out high-fashion designers for their lack of sizing diversity. And with all the debates about the matter, it’s hard to know whether or not universal sizing will work for your wardrobe.