How does wedding dress sizing work?

If you think there seems to be no logic behind wedding dress sizing then you would be wedding dress sizingright.  There isn’t!

Well, there is a bit.  There is a common theme that your wedding dress size is much bigger than your size for other clothes.  This does your confidence no good when you are a size 18 and the woman in the bridal shop tells you she’s ordering your wedding dress in a size 24!

So what’s it all about?  Why are wedding dresses made smaller than other clothes?  And what size should you buy? The truth of the matter is that there are no standard guidelines for dress sizes.  Clothing shops therefore make up what they want.  Often, to flatter us, they make “big” Size 16′s so you feel better about buying a 16 than an 18 (come on, girls, we’ve all fallen for this one).  This “flatter” approach does not apply to wedding dresses.  However, just like other clothing, there is no standard size chart for bridal gowns.  So one Size 14 wedding dress might have a waist measurement of 30 inches and the next could be 28 inches.  For more information, see 2 wedding dress sizing guides which compares 2 manufacturers.

The real issue is not about standard sizing – it’s about real women.  Individual women with bodies of all different shapes and sizes.

At Beau Belles, we make our dresses to the measurements of the bride, not a standard dress size.  We take about 20 measurements – not just the standard bust, waist and hip.  This includes taking the bride’s height – a measurement completely lacking from standard wedding dress size charts!  Someone, somewhere must think we are all the same height.

Taking all these measurements from lots of different women means we have a lot of data.  And guess what we found out?

No women are a standard dress size!  None – not one of our brides – conform to anything like a standard size.

75% have 3 different “sizes”.  Their bust indicates one size, their waist another and their hips a third.  For example, going by the wedding dress sizing chart, one of my brides would be a Size 20 bust, Size 26 waist and Size 24 hip.  But actually, that’s not all that accurate either because the size charts are usually in 2 inch increments.  What happens if you are in between?

Only 25% of brides had 2 different measurements, for example, a size 26 bust and a size 28 waist and hip.

Bust, waist, hip size does not mean a dress that fits anyway.  What about height and other areas like arm length for long sleeved wedding dresses and boleros?  What about taking into account your back size and cup size for a better fit?

The real question to ask is not “what wedding dress size am I?”  The question is, “Can I have a dress made for my individual and unique body?”  After all, a traditional wedding dress is usually a high priced item.  The expectation that the dress will fit is surely not too much to ask.

My advice is to ignore wedding dress sizing when you are shopping for your gown.  Close your ears to the size they order for you and put up with the hassle of having it altered.  If possible, have your dress made for you.  Always remember, on the Big Day it is the result that is important.  The beautiful you, looking gorgeous and stunning.

wedding dress sizing


Beau Belles, providing plus size wedding dresses in Scotland including Edinburgh, Glasgow, West Lothian, Falkirk, Stirling, Aberdeen, Inverness, Argyll, Paisley, Hamilton, Coatbridge, East Lothian, Borders, Linlithgow, Philipstoun, Whitburn, Livingston, Bathgate.

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