Compared to modern clothes sizing which in itself can be a bit of a minefield at times, vintage sizing is even more tricky. When a size 12 from the 1950's is more like a modern size 8 you can often find yourself feeling more than a little puzzled looking at those tags on vintage frocks, so how do you know if it will fit? Well we're going to attempt to make that task a little easier..
Ignore the size tag.
The first and most crucial point when shopping vintage is to disregard that tag, yes it may say a size 14 inside but that doesn't mean that it's a size 14 by today's standards. Sizing has changed dramatically over the past few decades that even by today's sizing a dress from the 1980's may be much smaller than it's modern day equivalent, so don't let the size tag put you off trying an item on.
Try before you buy.
Always try an item of clothing on before you buy, if you've found the dress of your dreams hold it against yourself first, does it look like it might fit, is it sitting right across the bust & hips? What about the length does that look ok? If you feel happy with the look of the item then try it on, most shops tend to offer changing rooms and at fairs you can often find a changing area set up to try those items on.
Take the time to look at it in the mirror, does the fit look right? Is it sitting ok on you? And most importantly do you like the way it looks on you? If you feel happy with your chosen item then go for it.
Buying online? Check your measurements.
Of course when buying online you can't always try it first so it's best to check for measurements and size comparisons on the website. Sites like Beyond retro list a handy measurement chart for a quick check against modern dress sizes. Check those measurements against your own for a guideline on whether it will fit.
Most companies tend to take the item measurements laying it flat on a surface, measuring the bust, waist and hips so it's crucial to check your measurements against these on the listing to avoid disappointment when your item arrives.
Whilst vintage sizing may vary substantially from item to item you shouldn't be put off by this, shopping vintage is a great way find something unique. You can find some wonderful hidden gems at fairs and vintage shops and who knows you may find a firm favourite for your wardrobe!
Images: Flickr commons