So let’s talk about that.
I’m guessing every woman reading this blog has at some time or another taken a piece of clothing in her usual size into a dressing room only to discover that it doesn’t fit correctly. Depending on the general cut and the vagaries of non-standardized size charts, you may find yourself unable to pull those pants over your thighs, let alone any higher! Or you may slip on that dress only to discover you could slip two of you into it.
Well, for some reason unexplained to the world, the sizing in bridal runs smaller than average… a lot smaller. As in two to three sizes smaller than the same size in an average line of clothing.
And since the gown you purchase will be altered to fit your specific body, the usual (and smartest) practice is for the salon to order the gown to fit your largest measurement and then alter everything to fit your slightly smaller body. After all, the seam allowances aren’t generous in bridal, either, and it’s always easier to take something in than to let it out.
What does this mean for you and your bridesmaids? Well, it means that you might normally wear a size twelve walking down the street… but have to order a size eighteen wedding gown. This causes panic in many hearts.
All too often, salons find that somebody in the bridal party balks at ordering a gown in a double-digit size and insists on ordering the size they usually wear. Since the dress is so much smaller than the usual size six that woman wears, well, it’s just courting disaster. The woman crash diets to fit into a dress, or bursts the seams at the fitting. Sometimes she does both. An extra fifteen layers of panic and distress get added to an already potentially stressful situation and nobody wins.
But you know what? It’s better to let the salon employees do their jobs and order the size that’s going to fit your body best. Always remember: it’s the job of the dress to fit your body, not the job of your body to fit the dress. Besides, nobody is going to see the size tag on your gown unless you show it to them… and even then any person with their priorities in a rational order isn’t going to care.
All the same, if someone in the party really and truly can’t cope with buying a larger than usual size, you might do well to consider alternative sourcing for the wedding party clothes. You seriously don’t want to put your recently-recovered-from-an-eating-disorder bestie through bridal sizing. It’s just the sort of thing that could cause a relapse. A good department store or custom seamstress might be a great way of handling things to the benefit of your friend’s well-being, and even the unique quality of your wedding.