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Dress Size Guide

I have put together this simple guide to try and describe the “typical” shape of a woman, and which dress sizes she would fit into.  Please note these relate to BODY SIZE, and will not necessarily not match the measurements of a piece of clothing.  Womens clothing measurements will vary due to style, ease allowance and desired fit, but will typically fit the body shape described.

To make things even more confusing,  has become common for retailer and brands to use “Vanity Sizing”.  They know that most women are very reluctant to buy a larger size than they are used to.  As a result they make their sizing more generous – so although technically a woman may be a size 14 – she can still get into a size 12 in certain brands – and will therefore be more inclined to purchase those products.

Dress size and the male torso



When it comes to dress sizes the male torso will not really not match this profile, as the waist measurement will be larger in proportion to the hip measurement, and the shoulders will be broader, than for a typical woman.  The guide below gives you an indication of the measurements you will need to achieve, to have the figure of a women.

This will almost certainly involve:

  • Increasing the bust through the use of breastforms (but keeping an eye on the bust size described otherwise clothes will not fit you)
  • Reducing the waist, through some form of lingerie such as a corset  or a waist cincher
  • Padding out the hips, with some form of padded panty.


I have borrowed the following guide from a well known retailer – and I think the measurements are a good overall guide.










Over Bust 

32 ½ –   33 ½

33 ¾ –   35

35 ¼ –   37

37 ¼ –   39

39 ¼ –   41

41 ¼ –   43

43 ¼ – 45   ¼


25 ¼ –   26

26 ¼ –   27 ½

28 – 29   ½

30 – 31   ½

32 – 33   ½

33 ¾ –   36 ¼

36 ½ –   39

Full Hips 

34 ¼ –   35

35 ½ –   36 ½

37 – 38   ½

39 – 40   ½

41 – 42   ½

43 – 44   ½

45 – 47


Don’t panic when you look at these measurements, as your measurements are not likely to fit this profile.  The fact is that most women’s bodies do not fit this “ideal” shape either, but it is certainly a good guide.

For example, if your overbust measurement is 44 (which would be the equivalent of wearing a 42C bra) then you will be pushing it to fit into a size 16, but should be ok in a size 18.

The trickiest area is in the waist and hips as a woman’s body shape is so different.  Although women tend to have much smaller waists, their hips tend to be proportionally a lot larger.


I do hope this helps a little

Leave a comment


  1. Hi,

    I would like to purchase some Padded Rear and Hip Brief’s but I’m not sure what size? I comfortably wear Marks & Spencer size 8 knickers and skirts. What would be the appropriate size for me?

    Nigella. 😆

  2. thank you have been very helpful 😎

  3. Charlotte Kerr-Scot

    Just a thank you for a very helpful website for us girls – the post office collection facility is particularly useful!

    Thanks x

  4. John Clnton

    Thanks this has been very helpful. A nice website as well. Following your instructions, my measurements are as follows:

    Overbust 42-43″ Using C cup Breast Forms

    Underbust: 39″

    Fem Waist (at my belly button) 41″

    Fem Hips (at fullest part of my bottom) 39″

    I am wanting to buy a waist cincher, so I would be grateful for your recommendation’s. 🙄

    I am approx. 5′ 7″ in height

    Tara XXX

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