Common US Party Dress Size Chart For Women

BY Measurement Of Team - Nov 24, 2023 I 7 MIN READ
A woman in a green dress on a light green background

Dresses can be worn on a casual day at home or a glamorous night out. But we often get baffled when buying the right sized dress, as different brands follow different size guidelines. An oversized dress does not do justice to your body features. However, if the dress is too tight for your liking, you will not feel comfy in it. So you definitely don’t want to buy the wrong size of your favorite dress. 

This is why knowing different dress sizes and the size that suits you is important. When you order online, choosing the right size is even more crucial. So here I have gathered some information about women’s party dress sizes to help you in understanding the different dress sizes.

Types of Dresses

From formal to casual, there are dresses of different types, styles, shapes, and sizes. Based on length you can have mini, midi, tea-length and maxi. Party dresses can be of different length as well. Broadly, you can categorize the party dresses in two classes - Ball gown and cocktail. Ball gowns are full length dresses that are suitable for black-tie events. The cocktail dresses are shorter and as the name suggests these are perfect for a typical cocktail party.

You can find tons of different styles for party dresses as well. A few examples are strapless styles, one-shoulder styles, mini dress halter neck, cowl neck maxi dresses, puff sleeve styles, backless or lacing back styles, and so on.

Party Dress Size Chart 

After meddling with many dress sizes, I ended up with some common-size party dresses. For apparel items, e.g. clothing, the measurement method is different. There are sizes like XS, S, M, L, and so on, which are commonly used for clothing based on body measurement. Now these can be broadly categorized into standard, petite and curvy sized dresses.

Photos by Pixabay, Godisable Jacob, and RDNE Stock project on Pexels

All these have been put together in a handy dress size chart below. I cannot guarantee your dress maker will perfectly adhere to this sizing, but they will overall be around these common measurements.

Women's Standard Dress Sizes Chart

SizeBust (in)Waist (in)Hip (in)Bust (cm)Waist (cm)Hip (cm)
XS - 03224.534.581.562.588
XS - 23325.535.5846590.5
S - 43426.536.586.567.593
S - 63527.537.5897095.5
M - 83628.538.591.572.598
M - 10373039.59476.5100.5
L - 1238.531.5419880104.5
L - 14403342.510284108
XL -  1641.534.544105.588112
XL - 18433645.5109.591.5116
*in = inch, cm = centimeter  **All centimeter numbers are upper rounded to closest 0.5. So if a converted value is 61.66 centimeter it is written as 62.0 in the above chart

Brands or stores may have a petite size in addition. The petite sized dresses are made especially for women of 5'4" or less height.

Women's Curvy Size Dresses Chart

Size groupSizeBust (in)Waist (in)Hip (in)Bust (cm)Waist (cm)Hip (cm)
1X12W42364510791.5114.5
1X14W44384711297119.5
1X16W464049117102124.5
2X18W484251122107130
2X20W504453127112135
3X22W524655132.5117140
3X24W544857137.5122145
4X26W565059142.5127150
4X28W585261147.5132.5155
*in = inch, cm = centimeter  **All centimeter numbers are upper rounded to closest 0.5. So if a converted value is 61.08 centimeter it is written as 61.5 in the above chart

How to read a dress size 

To read a dress size, you’ll need to compare your bust, waist, and hip measurements to the size chart. Then choose the right size that matches your body measurement. If you fall in between measurements, it's wise to go with the larger size.

How to take measurement for party dress

As you can see, while choosing a dress size, you’ll need your body measurement. To do that, you need to measure your bust, waist, and hips. Take a flexible measuring tape and follow the steps mentioned below.

How to measure yourself

  • First, wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your chest and take the measurement where the tape overlaps. Make sure to measure under the arms. This is your bust measurement.
  • Second, measure around the narrowest part of your waist and measure your natural waistline. It is usually at or above your belly button. You may want to keep the tape a bit loose.
  • Third, measure around the fullest part of your buttocks with the measuring tape. It’s usually 7-8 inches down from the natural waistline.
  • Don't forget to check the dress length while making your purchase. Particularly, in case of long dresses, you need to measure the inseam as well. It’s for the height. It’s simply measuring the inside length of your leg from the crotch to the bottom of your ankle for a dress just touching the floor. You can adjust this length as per your choice of dress length.

How to measure from an existing dress

You can take measurement of chest, waist and hips of a well fitted dress that you have in your closet. Follow the above mentioned steps to find out where to put the tape on the dress.

International conversion chart for ladies' party dress

Well, at this age of online shopping, it is not rare to order dress from different brands located in a different country or even a different continent. So knowing which US size corresponds to a specific international size may come handy. US and Canada more or less follow the same size charts.

This chart is based on approximation. You should check the size information of the particular attire before finally checking out.

Size USUK FranceItalyJapanAustralia
XS04323634
XS26343856
S48364078
S6103842910
M81240441112
M101442461314
L121644481516
L141846501718
XL162048521920
XL182250542122
1X14W2048521920
1X16W225054 2122
2X18W2452562324
2X20W2654582526
3X22W2856602728
3X24W3058622930
4X26W3260643132
4X28W3462663334

How to read this conversion table?

According to this table given above, if you usually wear a US size 18, then you should try a UK size 22 if you are buying from UK. Similarly you should check out size 21 while buying from a brand using Japanese dress sizes.

How to customize party dress size 

Photo by Cojanu Alexandru on Pexels

Even knowing the size and body measurements, we sometimes fail to get the right size of a dress. You might get a small or large size but not the right one!

But you have nothing to worry, there are solutions as well. You can alter your dress! There are a few simple ways to customize a dress size, making it a few sizes bigger or smaller. 

Making a dress smaller

  • Flip and put your dress on and hold it as tight as you want it to fit. Mark the points you want to tighten. Alternatively, you can use your best fitted dress to compare the size and then mark.
  • Make lines going from the armhole down to the bottom hem on each side of the dress. It might be a little difficult for you to do it all on your own. So take help from your friend or family if needed. 
  • Now sew down both side seams of the dress following the lines you made.
  • Once you’re done, flip your dress back and try it on.
  • If you find the side seams too bulky, cut off the extra fabric inside the dress.

Sometimes you can use little hacks to tighten your dress without sewing. For example, you can take in your dress with safety pins. Or, add a belt around your waist to shape a shapeless dress.

Making a dress larger

To make your dress larger, you can let out seams. There is always some extra seams allowance in dresses. If there’s none, you can add panels, extra fabric, or gussets to increase the width.

Conclusion

Now that you have the dress sizes chart and know how to take body measurements, buying party dresses will be much more relaxing. Pair it up with a fancy pair of stilettos or casual shoes if you are not comfortable in heels.