Vintage Clothing Sizes
Many vintage garments have no size labels. Even when they do, the numbers are arbitrary and have little relationship to human bodies today. For example a 1930's size 16 dress pattern lists a 34" bust! Men's clothing sizes tend to be based more on actual body measurements. When selecting from our vintage clothing, please pay closer attention to the item's measurement than the listed size.
The provided size in our listings is an approximate modern size. As with all vintage clothing, please refer to the item's measurements to ensure proper fit. Remember, it is better to first ask questions about an item before you order it and find that you have to return it because it does not fit.
We measure garments as accurately as possible, but you must be honest with yourself about your own measurements. They are just numbers and say nothing about you as a person. We find the ribcage measurement is crucial for some fitted dress styles and include it with many garments. The upper back measurement, from sleeve seam to sleeve seam is also important.
Ease refers to the amount of fullness of a garment beyond your body's actual measurements and is necessary to ensure proper fit. Wearing ease is the amount of room built into a garment so that you can move freely.
These are the general guideline to ease beyond your body's measurements:
• Close Fitting: 0-3"
• Fitted: 3-4"
• Semi-fitted: 4-5"
• Loose fitting: 5-8"
• Very Loose fitting: over 8"
Jackets require at least 4" of ease to allow for undergarments and shirts or blouses. Coats may require more to allow for sweaters or jackets to be worn under them. In other words, a semi-fitted garment should measure 4" or 5" larger than your own actual measurements.
Ease is also a part of the design of a garment and is influenced by the decade of the garment. Most early 1900 men's jackets and women's bodices were fitted very tightly, especially in the sleeves, in comparison to today's more relaxed standards. The arms eye of men's and women's tailored clothing did not open up until the 40's when styles were influenced by the military.
Because 1920's dresses may be loosely fitted in the body, you can be deceived by the actual size. Look at the arm opening. If your arm fits comfortably through it, and the other measurements are compatible with yours, it may work. Do not pull, tug, tear, or otherwise mutilate garments for which size has been misjudged.
Call or email if you have particular concerns or questions about ease and your measurements.