There’s absolutely nothing worse than ordering a beautiful piece of clothing online only to find out that it’s the wrong size. Here, I’ll show you a few easy ways to avoid making the wrong clothing size choice so you can online shop without fear!

Know Your Measurements!

Before you even touch that computer, know your basic measurements! This will save you so much frustration in the future. I recommend taking and recording your measurements every six months, or more often if you’ve gained or lost weight recently. Ideally, you’ll want someone (partner, friend, mom) to take the measurements for you so that they’re accurate.


To take this measurement, make sure you’re wearing the type of bra that you usually do every day. Have your helper wrap the tape around the widest part of your breast, making sure that it is straight across your back. Relax your arms down.


Your waist measurement should be taken at the spot in between the bottom of your ribs and your belly button. This is the place where a pair of high-waisted elastic pants would sit. Have your helper pull the measuring tape snugly around your frame to take this measurement.


The hip measurement should actually be taken BELOW your hip bones. In fact, it should probably be called your bum measurement! Have your helper wrap the tape around the widest part of your seat, keeping the tape straight. 

It’s a Fact: Every brand has different measurement standards.

It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Although it would be wonderful if every brand stuck to the same list of measurements for each size, this is simply not the case. When you’re considering placing an online order from a brand, be sure to check their general measurement chart. Any reputable brand should have this available on their website. You’ll be able to see where you fall in their size chart (keep in mind that you may be a different size on the top than on the bottom… this is actually quite common). Note what size is recommended for your body in tops and bottoms. If you are a different size on the top than on the bottom, odds are that you’ll need to choose the larger size for dresses and rompers.

Don’t Confuse a Garment’s Measurements with Your Measurements

When looking at product pages, you may see some measurements listed by size. This is what we do on each of our Pamut product pages. Be aware that these measurements ARE NOT the same as the measurements on our general size chart. That’s because even the tightest fitting garments need to be a bit bigger than your actual measurements to give you breathing room, or ease. When looking at these garment measurements, you’ll want to make sure that they are wider in circumference than your personal measurement. How much wider? It depends on the garment. You can see here that Sophie is wearing our Hanna Top and Emil Pant. The Hanna Top is meant to be oversized, so the garment bust circumerence is almost 14″ more than Sophie’s actual bust measurement (she could easily size down and still be perfectly comfortable). By contrast, the relaxed fit Emil Pant only gives her about 2″ of ease, enough to move around comfortably.

Want To Go Up or Down a Size? Know Which Garments Are Safe Bets.

Sometimes it’s fun to play around with sizing! Maybe you see a top that you love but would prefer in a more slim fit. Alternately, you might feel the need to go up a size for a relaxed, flowing dress. This is do-able, but there is one hard and fast rule when it comes to fit!: Never buy a size where the bust or hip width is listed as narrower than yours. Even if you do manage to pull the garment on, you risk putting stress on the seams and increasing the risk of rips and tears.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you’re probably safe to play around with sizing for boxy tops, tees, and dresses. I wouldn’t recommend venturing out of your size for pants, rompers, or anything fitted.

Reach Out To Brands With Fit Questions

If you’re unsure about which size to choose after comparing your measurements to the brand size chart, just ask! Most brands, especially smaller ones, are happy to look at your measurements and tell you what size they recommend. At Pamut, we send out an email to our customers before we make their garment to see if they’d like to confirm their correct size. More than half of our customers choose to send over their measurements to make sure they’ve chosen the best size for their body.

Petite or Tall? Here Are Some Helpful Tips.

Typically, you’re considered petite if you’re shorter than 5’3″. You’re considered tall if you’re taller than 5’7″. If you do fall into one of these categories, I’m sure you’ve noticed that bottoms can be a hard fit. Not only will the inseam be too short or long, but the rise, or the distance from crotch to waistband, may be off. The rise of a pant or short is something that is difficult (if not impossible) to have tailored, so keep this in mind when buying clothing.

To avoid these issues, opt for brands that have tall or petite options for pants, or find brands that will make custom garments for you! At Pamut, we’re happy to make custom garments at no extra charge. For petites and talls, we change the inseam and rise of the pattern pieces. We can make these measurements to your exact specifications, or we can estimate the ideal measurements ourselves based on your height.

Written by Katherine Williford

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