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Will It Fit? Online Shopping's Elephant in the Living Room

Posted by Ellen Dayan on

Perfect dress! Will it fit me, though?

"Yes, it looks perfect on this professional model and in this photo studio. But what if I order this great dress online and it's a shapeless bag or makes me look like a sausage? It's such a hassle to return things even when the store policies are good. Is it even worth it to try?"

Yes, you can be a successful curvy online clothing shopper but you'll need a few things.

#1: Buy a little tape measure and write down your bust, waist, and hip measurements. If you know your preferred pant and skirt length, that's awesome! If you want to get really serious, check out this detailed tutorial on taking the very best measurements for curvy fitting. Keep your measurements updated so you can use it whenever you shop. 

tape measure

#2: Understand that "sizes" are almost useless pieces of information in the fashion world. Every design label has its own size chart, so if you're a size 12 at H & M, you may be a size 0 at Chico's, and a size 16 at Ann Taylor. Differences between American and European sizing are also pretty significant. What you really need is an actual number. What is the actual bust, waist, or hip size in inches or centimeters? Check the online shopping charts for each brand, or find stores that give you the numbers up front (like us!), nice & easy.

size tags

#3. If you have some unusual body contours or shapes, make sure to measure them and then call customer support to find out if the garment will accommodate your body. For example, my friend Susan has larger upper arms than most women for her size. We measured the largest part and now she knows she needs sleeves that are at least 25" around at the bicep even if the size of the garment is "small" or "petite."

measure your biceps

#4.  Don't be afraid to make a call to customer support before you buy. Best online boutiques should be ready, willing, and able to take measurements of things like sleeve widths for you so you can be sure your new dress will fit. 

woman on phone

#5. Take style trends into consideration. If you have wide hips and everybody is wearing miniskirts this summer, know that you probably won't look like the models wearing those skirts in the photos. If you're OK with that, rock on! Otherwise, look for design features that flatter your shape to achieve the best fit. For example, I have "swayback" (a significant curve at the base of my spine) so I avoid straight sheath dresses. They make me look much bigger and pretty shapeless. I look for darts, elastic, or seaming that follows curvy body shapes. For me, a defined waistline in back makes the difference between good fit and disaster! 


Call us here at Tiger Lily Dress Shop if you have questions about how to achieve good fit for your curvy self. We're special because we know all about clothing construction, body measurements, alterations, design features that flatter, and well... so much more than the average sales clerk!

Call Tiger Lily Dress Shop at (602) 230-9208 for great curvy fitting guidance.

Nobody knows you like we do.

Tiger Lily Dress Shop

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