Shopping For My Hourglass Figure – Let’s Talk About Size Charts

2 Nov

I am so sorry for neglecting you loves for a few days now – my grandpa just passed away and I wanted to take a moment to just grieve and also give myself a little me-time. However, now I am back and want to keep posting more regularly. Today, I wanted to tackle the topic of women’s sizing these days and talk a little bit about what we mean when we say that something is true-to-size.

I know sizing can be a difficult topic to discuss – it always raises an battle of wills and opinions as we all think differently about sizes and also have different emotional bonds to our dress size. When you used to fit into say, size 8 and then need a 12 with some random piece of clothing, it will stir maybe some swear words or even tears. I used wear a size 6 but have now gone up to 10, even after I slimmed down a couple of inches on my waist. I have battled the fear of sizes above 8 since I got ill with anorexia even though each brand fits differently and your dress size doesn’t actually MEAN anything special.

I was never very small when I was child – just a regular sized kid with a fuller bust that made me feel fat at a very young age. I developed breasts at age eleven and I got teased for it quite a bit as I was not supposed to be curvy when others still looked like children. At age 16 I started to develop disordered eating habits and thoughts regarding my body – just because I felt so isolated from other teenage girls. I was not flat, I was not sporty and I definitely wasn’t slim in my opinion. However, I was never above UK size 10-12 so my weight wasn’t a problem at any point – but still, it was a big issue for me. I never got my boobs to fit into anything that was less than a size 10 and I was frustrated as I felt so big compared to others.

In the above picture I am not at my smallest but at a point where I started to recover from anorexia and was breaking up from my ex at the same time. I was gaining weight and shimmed myself into my old size 8 Oasis dress which dramatically ripped from its back seam at that very occasion (my sister’s matriculation party). I was devastated as I felt that I couldn’t live up to that size 8 standard anymore. Damn Oasis! Damn my old dress which had been a bit loose about a year ago.

I took a look at Oasis size chart today and currently their size 8 is meant for a 25,6″ waist and a size 10 for a 27,6″. With British sizing, dress sizes usually escalate the way that each dress size accommodates a two inch larger waist than the previous one. However, most brands have very different size charts to each other and I find a lot of people using the terms “true-to-size” and variations of it while describing brand sizing. To me, this seams odd since every blogger and consumer seems to have a different opinion on what “true-to-size” means.


True-to-size compared to what? With bras, there is a more solid ground to compare the sizing – some well-established brands can be compared to as they usually fit very similarly. By well-established I mean eg Eveden brands and Panache. Also there are less brands in the business which makes the comparison easier. However, with regular clothing the sizes vary so much that it’s actually pretty hard to come up with some kind of standard fit to compare brands to. I have found that many brands’ size 10 fit about 28″ waist but I have also seen a few bloggers call those brands to run big. As dress size is a rather sensitive topic, I feel a bit “meh” about this kind of categorizing as it gives you the impression that some brands and their size charts are more or less right or wrong.

Besides being inconsistent from brand to brand, sizing can also be inconsistent inside a certain brand. I am wearing a Dorothy Perkins size 8 in the picture above though their size chart would put me somewhere near size 12. After trying a few styles in-store, I realized they fitted very inconsistently and I would definitely not dare to order from them online because the sizing is so hit-and-miss.

Pic by the lovely Tania (see the squished boob – not attractive!)

I also find the different body part measurements a bit tricky. For instance, some brands might both measure 28″ at waist with size 10 but then measure 34″ or 36″ at bust. This is why talking about something being “true-to-size” doesn’t make sense – which one of the measurements fits true-to-size; bust, waist or hips, all or none? Also some brands come up with measurements that seem super unfair to me – but this is just my subjective view on the matter. Let’s take some very common measurements for UK size 10: 34-28-38. Does this seem realistic to you? My answer would be yes, to some body types. When I see 36″ instead of 34″ I jump with joy as the 34″ bust measurement is a far cry from my 39-40″ bust and with 36″ I might be able squeeze myself into a dress that is still a bit too snug.

I am all for making clothes for every body type – pears, apples, hourglasses, and lollipops etc. but there is far too little choices for people who actually don’t fit the 34-28-38 frame. I myself am about 39-28-38 which means I have very hard time finding clothing that would look and feel good, not to mention getting the zipper past my upper torso. So many brands are favouring girls with a pear shaped or straight body type and it saddens me cause I can never live up to that standard.

This was it for this time but I would love to extend the conversation to the comment box – how do you feel about today’s sizing standards and where do you usually find clothes to suit your body type? xx

8 Responses to “Shopping For My Hourglass Figure – Let’s Talk About Size Charts”

  1. vilmarebecca November 2, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

    Ihan ekaksi, otan osaa menetykseen! 😦 halaus!
    Todella tärkeestä ja mielenkiintoisesta aiheesta kirjoitat. Ja ihanan avoimesti, vaikka sulla onkin ollut oma taistelunsa näiden aiheiden keskellä, arvostan kun kerroit rohkeasti sun sairastumisesta! Kiitos tästä, tätä oli mukavaa lukea!
    Sairastahan se on, kun tietyt brändit asettaa kokotavoitteen meidän kaikkien puolesta. Ei voi oikeen muuta sanoa. Sulla on mun mielestä todella kaunis ja naisellinem vartalo. Osaat kantaa sitä niin ylpeästi, että mulla on itseasiassa hankaluuksia ajatella, että oot juuri näiden asioiden kanssa kipuillut!

    • Sophie November 3, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

      Kiitos ihana Vilma! ❤ Mulla on nykyään ihan hyvä itsetunto, koska muistan aina miten vaikeeta sillon joskus on ollut ja tiedän, ettei sellanen pajunvarsi-olemus ole mulle luontaista, vaan vaatii veronsa niin fyysisesti kuin henkisestikin. Joskus harmittaa, etten ole luonnostani tosi hoikka niinkuin vaikka siskoni, mutta turhaa sitä on jäädä murehtimaan. Niinkuin Teri Niitti kerran mulle sanoi: "Voi rakas, kun joku maksais noista sun tisseistä!" 😀

  2. Florence November 3, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    First of all, you are brave for talking about your disordered eating on your blog – I think this is something many women can relate to and I’m glad that you are comfortable talking about it on here :).

    Second, fitting an hourglass shape is a NIGHTMARE. Before getting my implants, I had 33 – 23 – 33 measurements and even that was almost impossible to fit, since most pieces designed to fit a 23″ waist either don’t exist and start at 24-25″, or they are meant to accommodate a 31-32″ bust. Now that I have a 35-36″ bust depending on the bra, it’s even worse. Most things fit me like a bag and it’s a nightmare. I’m taking sewing classes because I’ve accepted the fact that I might just not be able to find fitted non-stretchy things without alterations or sewing myself.

    • Sophie November 3, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

      Thanks for commenting, love! I so wish brands would come up with more reasonable size charts since hourglass shapes are so long-neglected. Not all clothes need to be made for my body type but I wish there would be even a handful of options…

  3. Jen November 4, 2014 at 1:43 am #

    I am sorry to hear about your grandfather, Sophie. Lost mine two years ago today, actually, and the grieving lasted longer than I thought it would (he was my buddy, my eyes are welling with tears even now because I miss him so); please take care of yourself.

    So far as the topic at hand, you are so right! I’ve always had such trouble finding clothing, and while I’m not a perfect hourglass due to a spinal issue, that’s the category I fit into best and it has always been difficult to find apparel as a result—and being 5′ tall makes it worse! Usually tops fit the bust but nothing else, or skirts fit my hips & derriere but not my smaller waist! Unfortunately…Well, I live in the States where women are increasingly beach-ball shaped, and companies are in business to make money so everyone working for them can feed their families. Thus I 1) Buy vintage stuff and 2) sew! I thank God for stretch knits on a regular basis, but even these are often baggy around the waistline.

    It’s so weird!

    • Sophie November 5, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

      Hi Jen and thank you for your sweet comment 🙂 I really do miss him because he has always been such a big part of my life. However, he is not suffering anymore and I feel relieved because of that.

      Most of the stores on Finnish high-street are very Sweden-based which is a bit off in a sense that we are shaped differently than our Swedish counterparts. We are not tall, slim and pillar-shaped so it doesn’t make sense to sell us those very same clothes. I have started to think about buying vintage more as well but the problem is that the vintage scene is awfully tiny here in Finland and even our capital has about two vintage shops, not to mention my small town that has none.

  4. Helen November 5, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    I have such a hard time with clothes – particularly jeans and dresses, because I’m not only a busty-ish sometimes size 10 hourglass, but I’m 174cm tall as well. Tall clothing generally fits very straight lined folk, with far fewer style options. If anyone knows of any website that caters to both curvy and tall, let me know!

    • Sophie November 5, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

      It’s so hard, isn’t it?! I am about 167 cm and I still sometimes struggle to get the waistline to the level it should be.

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