Vintage sizes have changed hugely over the decades, so the size tags in older clothing are best ignored. This is often the case even for modern clothing!
We give an indication of general size in the item listings for guidance, but it is always important to check the exact measurements against your own. Remember to allow a little bit extra for ease of movement. Where there is stretch in a fabric to allow a more flexible fit, this will be made clear in the item description. Remember that up to the early 60s women were still wearing girdles underneath their clothes, so you may like to think about wearing shapewear for a better fit.
Garments are measured flat, in the following way:
- Bust: measured across from just below the underarm, then doubled
- Waist: measured where the natural waist falls, then doubled
- Hips: measured at the widest point below the waist, then doubled
- Length: dress/jacket length measured from shoulder to hem, skirt/trouser length from waist to hem
- Sleeve: measured from top shoulder seam to cuff
- Shoulder: measured from seam to seam
To measure yourself, use a tape measure and measure around your bust (wearing a bra, as this will be under your clothes), waist, hips, from shoulder to waist, and from shoulder to knee. You may also want to measure your underbust, arms and wrists for very fitted garments. Shoulders can be measured by checking the seam to seam dimensions of some of your current pieces of clothing. The measurement won’t always be the same but should give an idea of your range.