Bridal Sizing Guide: Silhouette, Size Chart & Measurements

In the era of fast fashion and online shopping, more women are choosing to purchase their wedding gowns online. E-commerce shops showcase a vast collection of dresses and it’s just a matter of picking the right size.

Here are the steps to get the perfect fit:

  • Choose the right silhouette
  • Take your measurements
  • Refer to the sizing chart
  • Attend the first and second fitting

Bridal Sizing: 4 Steps for The Perfect Fit

Choose The Right Silhouette

bridal dresses

Wedding gowns come in different silhouettes. The general shape of the dress determines the fit on your body. The different silhouettes are created to cater to different body shapes so it’s best to pick the one that is most flattering for your body shape.

Ball Gown

The ball gown silhouette looks just like a princess or fairytale gown. It has a very full skirt and a cinched waist. It’s very versatile and suits most body types, particularly boyish, busty, or pear. However, it’s not the best choice for petite women because the full skirt can drown the tiny frame. It’s the perfect choice if you want to look romantic for your wedding.



This silhouette starts off narrow at the top and then gradually widens as you go down. This is one of the most popular wedding gown styles. The silhouette is very flattering on almost all body types. The only downside is that its angular or box-style shape may hide any curves that you might want to be emphasized.

Fit And Flare

fit adn falre

This style follows every curve of the female body up to the knees where the dress flares out. This has different variations from mermaid to trumpet cuts. The different choices allow the bride to choose from varying degrees of sensuality. This is a perfect choice if you want a curvy and very feminine look. However, some dresses may be too constricting and may limit your movements to the point of discomfort.


The sheath silhouette is also known as the column style. The silhouette closely follows the natural shape of the body and this dress barely flares out. It’s simple yet classy and elegant. Try this if you want something that exudes effortless grace and style. This is the perfect silhouette for women who are lean, slender, or petite. It creates an elongated structure so it’s not the best fit for busty or curvy women.

Take Your Measurements

The first step is to prepare your materials. This includes a tape measure and a full-length mirror. For optimal results, have a friend take your body measurements for you. Make sure you’re wearing form-fitting and thin clothing so that the measurements will closely resemble your actual body size. If possible, wear your wedding undergarments and shoes.

Make sure to position yourself directly in front of the full-length mirror. This ensures accurate measurements. Lay the tape flat, with the numbers out so that you can see them. As you measure each body part, make sure that the tape lays flat against your skin. It should neither be too tight nor too loose because that might result in inaccurate measurements.

It’s better to ask a friend to take the measurements for you so that you can keep your body relaxed while he does the rest. If you don’t have a buddy with you to take the measurements and you’re not confident enough to do it yourself, go to a nearby professional tailor and have him do it for you.

Here are the measurements to take:

  • Bust. Wrap the measuring tape around your back, under your armpits, and over the fullest part of your chest.
  • Waist. To find the waist, stand up straight and then bend to one side. There will be a crease that marks your waist. Wrap the tape around it.
  • Hips. Stand with your feet together. Wrap the tape around your hips.
  • Hollow to hem. This refers to the general length of the dress. Stand up straight and then measure from your collarbone to the bottom of your foot. This can be tricky to measure on your own which is why it’s recommended to consult a professional.

Wedding Gown Size Chart

Each bridal gown company has its own wedding gown size chart. If you already have a specific brand in mind, you should check out its size chart before purchasing a gown. The chart below is a general size chart for wedding gowns. The first row represents the dress size while the first column is the type of body measurement. The measurements are in inches.

wedding dress size chart

Attend The Fittings For Alterations

First Fitting

back view dress

The first fitting is 8 to 12 weeks before the wedding date. This ensures that the dress actually fits the bride’s body because it’s only a few months before the wedding. It leaves enough room for dress alterations. There are two main types of alterations:

  • Basic hemming. Hemming is a basic dress alteration that involves adjusting the length of the dress. The sides and the general fit are adjusted so that the bride can walk comfortably without stepping on the skirt. The fit also adjusts to ensure comfort and mobility. The main goal of the basic hemming is to make the dress hang comfortably from the bride’s body so that she’ll feel her most beautiful self. The gown should be altered in such a way that it supports the bust, accentuates the hips and general body shape, and is long enough to cover the shoes but not too long that it’s a tripping hazard.
  • Adding details. The tiny details add up and can change the entire wedding dress into your dream wedding dress. The first fitting is the perfect time to get these changes in. These customizations include adding lace appliques, beading, buttons, and more. This is also where the bustle is resized and added to keep the train from dragging behind the bride.

Second Fitting

The second fitting is held one to two weeks before the actual wedding day. That’s because the body won’t drastically change during this time period. While the first fitting can stretch for an hour or more, this one shouldn’t take long because the dress has already been resized to get closer to that perfect fit.

The costs of the fittings vary on how much change needs to be made. It costs around $200 to shorten the gown and resew the seams. Others charge a flat fee of $500 to $900 to cover all alterations from both fittings, including the customizations. Make sure to factor in these additional costs before you buy a wedding gown. The general rule is to buy a wedding dress that is slightly bigger than your actual size so that you can have room to gain some weight.