Measurements By Dress Size in cm and Inches

Measurements for UK clothes sizes vary depending on the clothing manufacturer or brand you are looking at. However many stores use the following bust measurements, waist measurements and hip measurements for their sizes.

Size Bust Waist Hips
  cm in cm in cm in
8 81 31.9 61 24.0 89 35.0
10 85 33.5 66 26.0 93 36.6
12 89 35.0 71 28.0 96.5 38.0
14 93 36.6 76 29.9 101.5 40.0
16 97 38.2 81 31.9 106.5 41.9
18 102 40.2 86 33.9 112 44.1
British Red Evening Gown

Understanding UK Dress Sizes

UK dress sizes can be downright confusing, the system is not standarised at all, which creates some issues. It's important to understand how UK dress sizing works and how it can affect self image. UK dress sizes are also used in Australia and New Zealand (although many New Zealand stores now give sizes as S, M, L with cm measurements available).

Currently Recognised Sizes

Most UK dress sizing systems start at about a size 8 and run to a size 32. Depending on the manufacturer, a UK size 8 dress can correspond with a US size 4 or 6. However, it is almost certain that the UK size 12 will be smaller than the American size 12, a UK size 14 dress will be smaller than an American size 14 dress and so on for each size number. Therefore, because there are no standard currently in place, you never really know exactly what the match is. If you try on the size that you expect to purchase and it's too small, that doesn't necessarily mean you've gained weight; you might just be dealing with the frustrating size discrepancy which occurs between manufacturers.

UK Issues With Brand Variation

The biggest frustration that UK shoppers have is the variation between sizes. Different clothing designers and manufacturers are using different measurement sets to designate a particular size. In many instances, it seems that money can buy thin. Simply put, more expensive clothing fudges the most on what size the shopper wears. A more expensive line of clothing is more likely to use a smaller size to identify a dress with larger measurements. The variation is actually quite large. For example, a dress that is labeled a size 14 can have a bust measurement anywhere from 93 to about 101.5 centimetres. The same dresses have a hip measurement ranging between 100 and 108 centimetres. The dress maker Marks & Spencer fudged the most, using the smallest measurements for a size 14, while Jaeger dresses had the largest measurements for size 14 in a recent survey.

Attempts At Standardisation - BS3666

BS3666 was produced in 1982 in an attempt to standardise British sizes for women's clothes from the smallest size 8 to the largest size 32, however without any legal requirements for retailers to use the standard, it had little effect. It has since been superseded by EN13402 which uses body dimensions in order to size clothes and was created in order to provide a common set of European clothing sizes. The standard was also quite lax giving ranges for bust measurements and hip measurements for each of the sizes as below:

Union Jack Punk Dress
Size Bust From To Hips From To
  cm in cm in cm in cm in
8 78 30.7 82 32.3 83 32.7 87 34.3
10 82 32.3 86 33.9 87 34.3 91 35.8
12 86 33.9 90 35.4 91 35.8 95 37.4
14 90 35.4 94 37.0 95 37.4 99 39.0
16 95 37.4 99 39.0 100 39.4 104 40.9
18 100 39.4 104 40.9 105 41.3 109 42.9
20 105 41.3 109 42.9 110 43.3 114 44.9
22 110 43.3 114 44.9 115 45.3 119 46.9
24 115 45.3 119 46.9 120 47.2 124 48.8
26 120 47.2 124 48.8 125 49.2 129 50.8
28 125 49.2 129 50.8 130 51.2 134 52.8
30 130 51.2 134 52.8 135 53.1 139 54.7
32 135 53.1 139 54.7 140 55.1 144 56.7

UK dress sizes are also widely used in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

UK Dress Size Lookup

Bust (in)   Waist (in)   Hips (in)   Size   Limited By
    =  

See also US Sizes or European Sizes

Pressure on UK Women to be a Smaller Size

There is a lot of cultural pressure for UK women to "be a smaller size". What many women may not realise, however, is that this is an illusion. The National Sizing Survey indicates that the shape of UK women's bodies have significantly shifted in the last 50 years, but our mental pictures often remain the same. The good news for UK shoppers is that the European Union is promoting a new sizing system, with actual measurements listed on the labels instead of the often-confusing UK dress sizes. This might be one step in helping women get comfortable in their own skins and throw away the often-meaningless UK dress size system.

 

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