Following on from last month’s blog about how bridal boutiques operate differently to normal shops, I want to address the issue of sizing in bridal gowns.
Most of the brides-to-be I meet are already made aware by sisters and friends that are already married, that the size on the label of their wedding dress can be a completely different number to the size they wear in everyday clothes. But knowing in advance that the size 12 you are used to wearing might suddenly be a size 20, doesn’t make it easier to live with, so I thought I’d explain a bit about why your size will be different.
It is really important to know that wedding dresses are made according to size charts that are very different to normal clothing. Some of the size charts are the same as they were in the 1950’s when the exaggerated hourglass figure reigned supreme! This means that most wedding dresses expect a fairly curvy figure, with a waist that is significantly smaller than the bust and hips. In reality most of us are either thicker in the waist, smaller busted or pear shaped, meaning that you do not fit into the pre-set mould of the designers size chart. It also means that your wedding dress is probably going to need alterations to achieve a perfect fit. Most of us will fall between a few sizes on a size chart and might find that one particular measurement might put us in a much larger size than we usually wear. So if you usually wear a 14 but find that your wedding dress needs to be an 18 so that it fits your waist, don’t be upset or annoyed, it doesn’t mean the same thing as a high street 18, and no-one else needs to know.
These designers don’t understand how delicate us girls are about this number – they’d make us feel so much better by making the sizes incomparable to normal clothing size labels. I often think they shouldn’t even be sized by number, calling the sizes by letters would make much more sense and wouldn’t cause half as much upset or confusion. I’ll never forget the bride who stormed out of our shop after discovering the dress of her dreams would need to be ordered in a size 20 – she was disgusted at the number the designers size chart was telling her she needed. We tried to get her to focus on the measurements, and explained that this size 20 was the same as a size 14 from Next, but the number 20 was not something she was prepared to tolerate on her wedding dress, and in the end she walked away from her dream dress simply because of the number on a label that no-one else needed to see.
After all its only a number!