How to Measure Yourself for a Bridesmaid Dress Like a Total Pro
Because you deserve a bridesmaid dress that fits you like a glove.
There’s no honor as sweet as being asked to be a bridesmaid. But of course, with that honor comes great responsibility—including making sure your bridesmaid dress looks just right so the bride can truly shine (and so you can feel comfortable and beautiful all night).
If you don’t have time to get professionally measured by a tailor or seamstress, understanding how to measure yourself for a bridesmaid dress will come in handy. To learn the art of taking your own measurements, we went to Desiree Wichmann, director of operations at Twobirds in New York City.
What You’ll Need
So, where do you start? Wichmann says it’s crucial you have the right tools—namely, a soft, 60-inch measuring tape to get an accurate reading. If you want to be extremely accurate (and why wouldn't you?), Wichmann recommends also having a pencil and paper (to write down all measurements), similar undergarments to the ones you’ll wear on the big day, heels of the same height as those you'll wear at the wedding (to get an accurate length), a full-length mirror, and a friend nearby in case you need a little help.
Exactly Where to Measure
“The key measurements for wearing any dress are always the bust, natural waist, middle hip (which sits across the center of the butt around the hips), and height,” Wichmann says.
1. To measure your bust, always measure the widest part of your chest, around your back and across your nipples. This is your bust’s total circumference area.
2. To measure your natural waist, Clothing Patterns 101 suggests first bending from side to side to find the right spot: your waist is the place where your body naturally creases. Once you’ve found it, measure the full circumference of your waist, making sure the tape stays straight and snug all the way around.
3. To measure the hips, find your body’s widest point, usually around your seat.
4. To measure your height, start with the tape at your collarbone and measure to where you want the dress hem to fall. Again, make sure you’re wearing the heel height you plan to wear at the wedding. Anyone rocking pants or a jumpsuit for your bridesmaid look make sure to also measure your inseam: from your inner thigh down to where you’d like the hem to fall.
The Major Mistake Not to Make
The biggest mistake Wichmann sees people make when trying to take their own measurements is either measuring too low on the waist or too high on the hip.
“Your natural waist is usually the smallest measurement in the area of your torso between your ribs and your hips,” she says. “The best hip measurement is where the tape goes across the center of your butt and around the hip.”
One Final Tip
Before cutting, sewing, or otherwise altering a bridesmaid dress yourself, take a few minutes to check in with the bride to ensure your changes align with her vision. This is, after all, her day and you don’t want to stand out in something too unique from the rest of the bridal party. But the second the wedding’s over, feel free to cut and paste to your heart’s content because that outfit’s all yours.