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The Amazing Dress Size Calculator!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I usually don't search the internet for sites that make me feel insecure about my body. It all started with a curiosity to see what my "real" bra size would be because about 90% of women wear the wrong size. Since the average American woman is a size 14 and wears a 36C, I felt pretty smug about wearing the same bra size as a size 8/10. Then I found the horrid calculator that asked for three numbers: bust, below bust, and just above bust. The third measurement surprised me, since I had only ever seen calculators that asked for the other two. Maybe I shouldn't tell, but in the name of embarrassing myself thoroughly the thing spat out the number 38D. I don't see how on God's green earth that is possible. I am thin enough that my size six walking partner honestly can't tell I'm overweight, so how do I possibly have 38D's? It makes no sense, but it sure explains why they might be heavy and always in the way. And it might explain how my grandma got married with C cups being 5' 1" and 90 pounds.

Then I began to wonder how much else I had "gotten wrong" with clothing sizes, and then I found it - The Amazing Dress Size Calculator. Ha! It starts with seemingly innocent default measurements that appears as follows:

BUST: 36
HIPS: 36

Not only is that just about the perfect woman, she is also perfectly proportioned. Just to give you some reference point, I looked up the measurements on the reliable wikipedia of the Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima - 34-24-35. So what is different between Adriana and this default woman I now dub "Woman Zero"? Well Adriana has two less inches up top and one less on the bottom, so in theory three inches of separation.

Care to guess what size the default "Woman Zero" is? Now don't skim ahead, I really want you to guess. I'll give a hint. Faithful wiki says Adriana wears a size 4. So three extra inches. Would size 6 be a fair guess?

Amazing Dress Size Calculator says no.

Well surely no bigger than a size eight. I mean, after all, size 8 is considered "plus-size" in the modeling world. And there is no way "Woman Zero" with perfect proportions and a 24-inch waist is any larger than a size eight.

Amazing Dress Size Calculator says wrong again. Yes, you heard me right. Instead of being an ordinary calculator where you enter in numbers to yield one correct answer, this clever piece of work gives two answers: tailor (meaning the dress size that fits you perfectly) or squeeze.

I think you know where this is going.

"Woman Zero" is actually a US size 10 by tailor standards, and only a size 8 if she squeezes. How frustrating to think that if we ladies succeeded in getting her measurements, this website says we can't drop below a size 10 (tailor) unless we magically lose inches on our boobs and hips. How can you have a 24-inch waist and be a size ten at the same time?? Not that there is anything wrong with a size ten, but if I had a twenty-four inch waist and worked very hard to get it I would like to think I could do better than a size ten.

Then the site is considerate enough to explain what exactly "tailor" means for "Woman Zero." It means that she has 1 extra inch around the bust, 5 extra inches around the waist, and 4.5 around the hips. "Squeeze" means she has no extra room around the bust, only 4 around the waist, and 3.5 around the hips.

What you do is you enter in your own numbers in the same boxes as "Woman Zero" and different dress sizes immediately appear as soon as you change any of the three measurements. Of course I played around with it and I discovered something dastardly awful.

Of the three measurements, the one that influences dress size the most on this calculator would be breasts. When I entered in Adriana's 34-24-35, it said she was a tailor size 4 and a squeeze size 2. I entered in lots of numbers and basically large-breasted women get penalized. Since I am not a pear-shape I did not play around with hips as much because I already have hips about 35 or 36 inches.

You know what happened next. I couldn't resist. Based on the horrid bra size calculator I know I am supposedly a 38D, which makes my top measurement 39 inches. And my waist is definitely not 24 inches. Now before I spoil the fun and tell you what it told me, let me say that I usually wear size 10 or 8 skirts. Size 12s are too big, and so far size 6 has been out of the question. Lately I have been wearing more size 8's than 10's, but if "Woman Zero" has to squeeze into a size 8 you can guess that I don't have a prayer.

Since I am embarrassing myself thoroughly I'll give you the same information I gave it: 39-31-36. Now who will start the bidding? Does size 10 sound fair?

Let me give you another scenario. 39-24-35 is a size fourteen, in spite of her perfect waist and hips.

Time for guessing is over. I am a tailor size FOURTEEN because I need 1 inch around the bust, 1 around the waist, and SIX AND A HALF around the hips. (I don't even have hips). But no fears, I could squeeze into a size 12 with a half-inch around the bust and waist and make do with only five spare inches around the hips.

I'm sure some of you ladies would like to join the fun. Here's the address to the bra size calculator I used:

And let's not forget "The Amazing Dress Size Calculator":

I wouldn't try it if you can't laugh at it. If you're not brave enough to share the garbage it spews at you in the comments, at least tell me if you think there could be a shred of credibility to this site. When I typed in "dress size calculator" it was one of the first two or three hits, but all of this seems so bogus.

What have I learned today? In theory, I could lose fat everywhere but my breasts, and I would still be a size fourteen. Doesn't that just make you want to vomit?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post

    Here's a great size calculator that includes calculating your the top, skirt, pant and dress sizes for particular stores from the Gap to Ann Taylor.

    1513 days ago
    Actually, these were pretty accurate enough for me.

    It said my bra size is 36 D, my real one is 36 DD or 32 DDD.

    It said my dress size is 14, I wear 12 -16 depending on the brand, cut, and style. Definitely though I always have to squeeze my bust and waist to fit hips. ._. I'm a 40-32-40 and I always have to tailor down hips anyway. You're right about the graphs being rather horrible towards bustier women.

    I notice that in general, things are cut for more boxy or pear shaped women. Whenever I buy shirts, either I go for an L and my bust just doesn't fit and pops out of the seams, or I buy an XL and I look pregnant. I think all of this is really just about the way things are cut.

    Take it with a grain of salt I guess. I wonder if the "BABY YOU A 10" thing had anything to do with this sizing thing.
    1833 days ago
    ive always thought it was odd the numbers it came up with me since im only 5 foot tall but am 32-26-32, i always get fitted wrong when getting a bra fitting no matter what store i go to. i wear a 32 d and am comfortable in that size bra, went to Victoria secrets several times and became frustrated after the 3 person told me i was an a cup...a cup! i said....and grabbed my do these look like a's?
    being a small woman with d's is so frustrating when trying to find clothes and bras.
    for 3 years i was wearing the wrong cup size of c because i was told different things at different places and was so feed up i just settled.
    now i have less back pain and dont have to shop as much as i am one of those women who hate spending hours in the store.
    loved this blog!!! emoticon
    2063 days ago
  • JILL25
    @shapeandmold, thank you for that link, to linda's online!
    2185 days ago
    Ha! I used the bra calculator and it said that I should be wearing a 32DD/32E. I've been fitted in person and my bra size is 36D.
    2507 days ago
    I used the calculator too. My measurements are 37-32-37. It put me in a size 14. Usually I wear 8-10. I am pretty sure that it is based on standard sizing that clothing designers use. I've noticed that retail stores like Old Navy, Gap, Talbots, etc. use vanity sizing and have used it for several years. As the average American woman has become heavier, retailers engage in vanity sizing to make women feel better about buying their favorite brands. The exception I have found is the Worthington line at JCPenney. I have a size 10 dress shirt I bought six years ago and it is roomy. Now I can't even button a size 10 Worthington dress shirt. Apparently they revamped their sizing and the cut is narrower. The sales clerk recommended I buy clothing in the juniors department because I am busty and the juniors clothing is cut for that. Go figure.
    2507 days ago
    I tried this dress size calculator and it did not give me accurate results either. I am a 34-25-34, and it put me in a 4 tailor or 2 squeeze. However, I have never worn anything smaller than a 6. I'm 5 foot 8 and these sizes are just too tiny and never long enough. I prefer a little more room to breathe.
    2580 days ago
    yeah that dress size calculator has me at a 20 when 12s are falling off me. I don't know if it's vanity sizing or what.
    2668 days ago
  • PROT358
    Given my genes (and especially that grandma's), I am pretty sure I am genetically predisposed to cling to boob fat a very long time. I would have to lose a LOT of weight to drop any there, and of all the places to store fat I can't really complain. But it made me realize that I will probably always have proportionately large-ish breasts and, for that reason, this calculator will always say I am overweight and doomed to never fit into a single-digit size dress. I am pretty convinced this calculator won't be the friend of almost anyone.
    2740 days ago
    YES...I would not want to even go there! I would be so depressed at what the numbers would show. Usually when a person loses weight she loses first in the bust. I have to admit that that is where I lost most of the weight. Before I tended to "spill" out of by bra. Not to mention the binding happening because of my "fat back". My arms did not relax down at my waist. My elbows never touched my sides. I have to say that now my elbows do and I lost that "overflow". My bras are in fact "dipping" in for lack of plumpness. Well I have to give it to ya for the courage to find out. But I don't buy it at all! Your shape sounds pretty good to me and I can't wait to get there where you are! I'd say that "Amazing Dress Size Calculator" got its name cause it is amazing where they ever got those calculations!!! emoticon Go figure...well I guess you did
    2740 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/21/2010 10:42:51 PM
    I was amused by the title, and enjoyed reading what you had to say....a little comedic relief...of course, that was until I went to that calculator. I have a pear shape figure, and that calculator was not my friend ;)
    2741 days ago
    Um...I read your post with interest and amusement--especially as, at one young, tender, lovely time in my life, *I* was 34-24-34. I found this out in my freshman high school home economics class. I just thought it was cool because of all the "4's," but obviously, I was a hottie. *lol* And you know the funny thing? I've never, EVER, been below a size 10. That's just how sizes work, unfortunately.

    Now, I'd KILL to just get to a 14--12 would be HEAVEN. :o)

    2741 days ago
    I think calculators like the bra and dress one are approximations but not exact values. Using the above bra calculator, I'd be a 30A, but when shopping, I'm a solid 30C/D. So I'm not sure if those calculators are accurate. My best resource for figuring out a good bra comes from this website:

    It calculates your bra size and also provides solutions to common bra-fit questions like digging straps, etc.

    As for dress size, I usually just read the store's size chart to figure it out since they kind of vary depending on the store. I did the dress calculator for fun and it said...Small (US) and Nan for the other countries. Guess I'm a smaller size than what the calculator can generate. Oh well.
    2741 days ago
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