How to measure bust (for bra size), waist, & hips for perfect dress fits

When you do online shopping or want to order a unique dress at a tailor shop, you will inevitably need to take your body measurements. If you think you know your size from the measurements you took last month, do not proceed with an order. As our body changes over time, its size can change as well. So to avoid any trouble, read the following information that will tell you how to measure bust (for bra size), waist, and hips for a perfect dress fit.

how to take measurements for a dress

When figuring out what size you need, the only thing you should have is a measuring tape. A little help from a friend will also make this task easier. If you don’t have one available, you can do everything on your own. 

black dress

The other important thing is to wear only your undergarments or close-fitting clothes while doing measurements. Jeans or sweaters are not proper clothes. They will only provide an incorrect image of your shape, and you will order a misfit at the end. 

Also, ensure that a measuring tape is close to your body but not too tight. You should not keep it too loose as well. The best way to determine if the tape is placed correctly is by putting one finger between your skin and the tape. If it fits, then everything is done as it should.

What should you measure? 

Before proceeding with the task, you should know what to measure and how. If you want to order a dress, the basic information you need is the size of your bust, waist, and hips. Moreover, you should also know the length of your legs and arms. If you performed everything correctly, there would be no trouble finding the perfect dress, and no returns would be needed. 

In some cases, your body measurements can be unique and not fit into the size categories on the clothes store site. Due to this, you should prioritize one part and get the other part corrected by the tailor later. For example, the waist can be medium, and the bust can be small. When it happens, choose the dress with a medium-size waist. The bust can be fitted later.

What does bust mean in clothing?

black dress on a model

The word “bust” is mostly used in the fashion industry. It describes the upper part of a woman’s clothes where the breasts are situated. It is one of the crucial measurements you should take for the dress or any other clothes to fit correctly. If they are inaccurate, the dress in that area can be too loose or tight. Each of these scenarios is unfortunate. 

When it comes to a wrongly sized dress in the bust area, the least you can expect is to look inelegant in it. If you choose a poorly fitted bra, you can expect discomfort and a damaging impact on the overall health of your breasts. However, online orders are much more difficult to make than going to the store, where you have the option to try the bra on before buying.

Markings and labels on lingerie are also something that can cause you a headache. But nothing is difficult when you have an easy and understandable explanation. The same is true with bra sizes. As soon as you figure out the easiest way, your life will become easier.

How do bra sizes work?

The most common markings manufacturers use for different bra sizes are letters like A, B, C, and D. Those letters typically point out the size of a bra cup. To find out which one you need, you should make two types of measurements. The first one is the circumference of your breasts which means their widest part. The other one is the width of the under breast area where are situated the bra band. To find out which letter you need, follow the next steps.

how to measure bust (for bra size)

First, you will need to determine the under-breast area’s width. After doing that, you can proceed with measuring the breast circumference. This step is more complicated than the first one. If you feel comfortable asking for help, you should do that to avoid getting inaccurate numbers. 

A little help from your friend will let your arms loose during the process, which is quite helpful. If getting help is not an option, you can try to keep your elbows close to your body while still holding the tape. It is the best way to get precise numbers.

Make sure not to hold your breath while doing the measurements. Put the tape around your back so that it also touches your nipples. Avoid holding the tape too tight to your body. Check as well if it is not twisted at the back. That also can distort the accuracy.

When you are done with those two measurements, you can easily do the counting and find out what letter of bra cup you need. You should subtract the number that signifies the measurements from the under-breast area from those of the bust circumference. The amount you will receive points out the sequence number of a cup letter. 

For example, 37 inches of underbust area minus 34 inches of bust circumference gives the number 3. In the row of letters from A to DD, number 3 is the third letter, C. As a result, when the total number of a bra is 37C, the number 37 is the width of a band. The letter C is the cup size.

bra size chart for the perfect cup

This chart will help you find a bra that will fit you nicely. Note that some labels have their own charts for their products, which can differ from this. When buying a bra, you should always double-check the sizes so there will be no surprises on your way.

Cup sizeAAABCDDD, EDDD, FGHIJ
The difference number1/2”1”2”3”4”5”6”7”8”9”10”

How to measure your waist

Waist measurements are also important in finding the right dress. You should put a tape measure against your bare skin to get the correct ones. If you have a shirt on, pull it up so that your stomach will be without any clothes. Do the same if the high-waist jeans are blocking the way.

The next step is to find where exactly the waist is. It is the narrowest area of your torso, situated above the belly button. You can bend down to the side and see where the crease is. This crease will point out where the waist is. 

Then you should put the measuring tape around your back and make ends meet in the front. You should not hold your breath but breathe as usual. Look at the numbers when you exhale. Check to see if the tape does not tighten the body or is not twisted in any part. To ensure everything has been done correctly, do those measurements two times.

how to measure hips

blue dress

If you are looking for a nicely fitted dress, you should also find out the size of your hips. For this one, you should have only your underwear on. Preferably stand in front of a mirror because it will help you detect the exact part that should be measured. 

Stand with your legs together and your toes pointing in front of you. Look at your lower part of the body and locate the widest area. Those are hips. Put the measuring tape around them and read it. Make sure that there is no chance for you to fit more than one finger in between the tape and your skin. If everything is performed correctly, you will get the correct measurements in the end.

Cute dresses

Once you’ve done all the necessary steps and found out the size of particular parts of your body needed for purchasing a dress, you can proceed with this more enjoyable task.

YOBECHO mini dress

Summer is perfect for dresses, especially when it’s too hot outside for pants. Feel free to go out in the YOBECHO mini dress and enjoy the sunny day to the greatest extent. You can find eleven different colors of the same product, which means there is no chance of you not finding the best one you’ll like. 

YOBECHO dresses come in five different sizes. You can find out which one is best for you by looking at the chart on the site. You’ll only need to know how many inches are around your waist. Everything else is unnecessary to find an excellent fitting dress of this brand.

This dress has a sweetheart-shaped neck that will give you a special attractive charm. It’s made of a soft and light material. It is especially advantageous for places where the temperature rises to more than 86 °F in the middle of the summer. You can wear this dress to have a walk near the sea or for a date night in town. If your work does not require a fixed dress code, a YOBECHO dress will be the perfect fit for a day at work.

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It's really cute!

AUSELILY long-sleeved dress

If you like loose-fit dresses, the long-sleeved one from AUSELILY should be on your list of next purchases. It is made of soft materials that will provide you with pleasant feelings of comfort when you wear it. When it comes to colors and sizes, there is a great variety for you to choose from. 

Apart from the ones that come in a plain color, there is a possibility for printed options. As it is a loose-fitting dress, the only measurement you need to have is the bust size. Moreover, this dress is perfect for casual events like beach parties as well as for most workplaces. Do not hesitate to buy one for yourself if you like the offering.

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It's longer than the previous one!

Calvin Klein sleeveless black dress

Since the time of the legendary Coco Chanel, the little black dress has been considered one of the most elegant and stylish choices for a woman. That’s why having it in your closet will always save you at times when it feels like you have nothing to wear. A Calvin Klein sleeveless black dress is a great choice for any official event as it will make you look elegant, emphasizing the beautiful shape of your silhouette. 

You can wear it with a denim jacket for casual events or with a blazer for work. Calvin Klein’s dress is multifunctional and gives you various possible styling choices. It is the best way for you to look different every day without overstocking your closet. To buy this tight-fitting type of clothing, you will need to know the sizes of your bust, waist, and hips. After spotting your size in the special chart, don’t hesitate to buy this little black dress that will raise your experience with fashion to a higher level.

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This Calvin Klein dress works for a lot of occasions.

FAQ

brown dress
Can I measure my own bust?

It is easier to do anything if you have some help. With measurements, it’s the same story. However, figuring out the size of your bust on your own is not only possible but also easier than doing some other types of measurements. For example, finding out the length of your arm is way more challenging. Don’t worry if you don’t have anyone to help you measure your bust; you can do it on your own. 

How do you measure bust size on a dress?

Measuring the bust for a dress is a bit easier than a bra. You won’t need breast circumference measurements as most dresses are not tight-fitting. If you want to buy one that fits tightly to the body, you will also need the underbust circumference. The good part is that there is no need to do any calculations, as you do them when buying bras. You can only stick to the numbers. 

Moreover, you should have your bra on when taking your bust measurements for the dress. It is logical since you will usually have underwear beneath your clothes. However, you should not do the measurements with a push-up bra on because it gives too much extra volume. You are unlikely always to wear the same bra with the same dress. 

Does measuring your bra size always work?

You will find a perfectly fitted bra if you know how to do the measurements and perform them correctly. However, you should be aware of the fact that a cup bra on one lingerie label may have a different size than a cup bra on another. You should always check the size system of the label you are interested in before buying anything there.

Does wearing the right bra size make a difference?

Yes, it does! An ill-fitting bra will give you discomfort at the very least and cause shoulder pain at the most. If a bra is too small, it will dig into the skin. It prevents the natural blood flow in breast tissues. Moreover, it can cause skin rash and back pain. 
Most experts suggest that women who wear the incorrect bra size change it to a bigger one. After doing that, they say it makes a huge difference. Especially for those with large breasts, it is important to have a nice-fitting bra that will make it easier to carry the weight. It can also prevent back pain, which is quite common.