Choosing The Best Size To Order For Your Bridal Gown
Aside from picking out the perfect gown, one of the most difficult decisions some brides must make is what size to order. There are many factors to consider when choosing the size:
The general Rule-of-Thumb in the Bridal industry is that most brides will need to order their gown about one size larger than the size they wear in normal street clothes. This will vary based on your measurements, you may need to order 2 sizes larger than normal! Don't let this depress you. For some odd reason in the bridal industry the sizes run small, do not take it personally!
Be sure to have a professional take your measurements. If having your measurements taken at a bridal salon, it is also a good idea to either get a "second opinion" on your measurements, or have a friend take your measurements with you. You will want to compare your measurements to what the salesperson writes down. For two reasons:
1) Some salons will require or assume that you will be having your gown altered at their store. Even is the seamstress is not a store employee, the salon usually gets a cut of the alteration bill. So, in some bridal salons they may encourage you to order the gown in a bigger size than you really need. Please note that this is not very common, but it has happened enough that it is worth mentioning.
2) People make mistakes! Double-check the salespersons' measurements to make sure they are within 1/2" of what you measured. If she made a mistake, she will be grateful for your help in avoiding a fiasco!
Many brides find that their measurements do not fit into one size. Some are lucky and they are between 2 sizes, others have measurements that can span 4 sizes or more! When this happens, do not panic! Consider these options & scenarios:
1) Do you have a wide rib cage? We have had many brides who wear a size 6 in skirts and pants who need to order a size 12 bridal gown because they have a very wide rib cage. This can also be the case if you have a larger bust.
2) If your gown is not available to try on in a size close to what you think you need to order, try on a gown by the same designer in a similar style (if your gown is A-line, be sure to try on an A-line gown). This will at least give you an idea of how their gowns fit in the size you need.
3) If your gown has an A-line or Ball Gown skirt, your hip measurement probably won't need to be factored into the size decision. However, when ordering a gown with a Slim, Sheath, Trumpet, or Mermaid style skirt, the hip measurement is VERY important, do not disregard it!
If you are afraid that your measurements will vary greatly and give you a dilemma on the size to order, you may want to look for a gown with a corset style (lace-up) back closure. These gowns can usually fit a bride who measures over 3 different sizes depending on how tight or loose she desires the laces to be tied.
Remember when choosing a size, in most cases if you are measuring between sizes, it is usually better to order the gown in the larger size and have it altered down to fit your smaller area. Almost any gown can be made smaller, and most gowns will only be able to be made larger by a little bit.
So what happens when you receive your gown and it is just too small or too big?
First you will want to review your sales invoice. Does the store offer size exchanges? Most salons do not offer exchanges or returns, but it never hurts to ask.
If your gown is too big, it can most likely be taken in up to 3-4 sizes without changing the lines of the gown. This may not be the case for all gowns, and you may have to search for a seamstress willing to take on such a big alteration job, but it should be possible.
If your gown is too small, there are a few options.
First, a seamstress can insert "gussets" in the area of the gown where it is too small. They can sometimes use fabric they remove from the hem of the gown so that it matches, or they can find fabric from a local fabric store. These gussets are put into the seams (usually on the side of the gown, and also frequently in the sleeves if needed) so they are usually not very noticeable. Another great idea is to have your seamstress remove the zipper and replace it with loops and a long fabric tie to create a lace-up back. This is especially great for brides who are pregnant, or in the midst of a weight change and do not know exactly what size they will be on the wedding day.
Last, but certainly not least, you will want to be sure to choose a seamstress who has extensive experience altering bridal and formal gowns. Your favorite tailor for your suits jackets and slacks is probably NOT the best person for the job! Bridal gowns can be very delicate and tricky to alter (consider all of the embroidery, beading, lace, appliqués, etc. that can be on a gown!) Most bridal gowns also do not have a built-in bustle. A seamstress who specializes in bridal gowns will be able to show you a variety of ways she can create a bustle to show off your gown?s best features!
About the Author: Lynn Ritzman runs http://www.elegantgowns.com an online bridal store for gowns at up to 80% off of retail.