How to measure yourself for buying vintage clothes

I measure clothing “flat”, which is a standard way of taking vintage clothing measurements by laying the piece out on a table and taking measurements, doubling where appropriate (i.e., waist and hip measurements are doubled).

Here is how to measure yourself so that you can know if the clothing will fit:

Bust measurements:
Measure at the widest point of your bust, while you’re wearing a bra.
I usually add 1-2 inches to ensure a comfortable fit.
Waist Measurements:
Measure your waist at the smallest point, usually right above your belly button, without sucking in.
Hip Measurements:
At the widest point of your hips, usually about 7 inches below your waist.

Do not draw the tape measure too tight!

See the illustrated measuring guide that I made below, out of the pages scanned from the 1935 Chicago Mail Order Catalog.

how to measure for vintage clothing

Illustrated guidelines on how to measure yourself when buying vintage clothing.

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