With the holidays nearing, several of us are considering purchasing a special dress to wear to a formal event, wedding, or holiday party. We can’t help but look at different patterns and colors we may be interested in but we remember the woes of formal sizing, how it can differ from the sizing we are used to picking up at Nordstrom or Macy’s. Sometimes the sizing difference, usually having to size up, can cause some anxiety. Worry not! Here are a few things to consider when braving the seamstress and unfavorable sizing:

  • Alterations are to be expected: It’s been said “Wedding gowns, prom gowns, and other formal dresses typically run at least one size smaller than usual.” Trying them on while keeping that fact in mind and having a seamstress there to help, will make all the difference.
  • Take your time: Don’t rush the process! There are several types of dresses and some may fit certain body shapes more favorably than others, try them all on and find what works best for you. Schedule out a long afternoon and take your time looking through all your options. You never know, that sleeveless dress you weren’t sure about on the hanger might be the one!
  • Celebrate your shape: Bring a family member or friend and celebrate how great you look! This could be a great opportunity to not only find the perfect dress but bond with a loved one.


No matter the occasion, formal dress shopping urges you to forget about the size and focus on the look and feel of a gown. In fact, “if you’re a size 6 in the ready-to-wear world, you could be anything from a 2 to a 12 on planet bridal.” Remember, all dresses are not made the same and “no two designer charts are created equal.” Take your time, find a good seamstress, and get ready to find your perfect dress!


“Top 10 Dress Shopping Tips.” Martha Stewart Weddings, https://www.marthastewartweddings.com/346710/best-wedding-dress-shopping-tips.

“The Truth Behind Why Wedding Dress Sizes Run Small.” Kennedy Blue, https://www.kennedyblue.com/blogs/weddings/17757388-the-truth-behind-why-wedding-dress-sizes-run-small.