A Guide to Women’s Suits

woman wearing a smart suit

If you’re looking for a new suit or tailored suit, whether for work or to wear for a special occasion, you need to find a suit that fits well. That’s not always as easy a task as it should be, but to make things easier, help is at hand!

These days women’s suits are available in a variety of different styles and fabrics, with the option of either a skirt or trousers.

As with buying other types of women’s clothing, in order to get the best fit you need to know your measurements as well as your clothing size before you hit the shops.

In theory, we have a standard clothing size scheme which manufacturers use to produce clothes of certain sizes, which should help consumers know their size and buy the perfect fit accordingly.

In the UK, for example, clothes are sold according to sizes such as:

  • 8
  • 10
  • 12
  • 14
  • 16
  • 18
  • 20

However, although these sizes are supposedly the standard sizes used in UK clothing, the reality is very different.

Once upon a time, clothing manufacturers may have stayed within the sizing charts provided, but these days they vary considerably.

For example, a pair of size 16 trousers in one shop may have a 34 inch waist, but in another shop a pair of trousers labelled as a size 16 may actually have a 36 inch waist.

Even a jacket that’s marked as being a size 12 may vary in its measurements across the chest, so may do up perfectly on one person, but be too tight on another.

Not surprisingly, this makes it very difficult for women when they’re shopping for suits and tailored suits.

Taking And Using Measurements

The best way of knowing your exact size is to use a tape measure and take your essential measurements. For a suit, you’ll need to know:

To measure your waist, place the tape measure around your natural waist and keep the tape taut.

To measure your hips, stand with your feet together and put the tape around the fullest part of your bottom, at the top of your leg. This should be at about 8 inches/20cm below your natural waist.

To measure your inside leg, take a measurement from the top of the inside leg at the crotch, to your ankles, or the length where you normally wear your trousers.

To measure your chest, place the tape measure under your arms, or over your shoulder blades, and measure the fullest part of the chest.

Once you know your measurements, you’ll have a much better guide to the size suit you require.

Don’t forget to take the details with you when you go shopping and be prepared to try on several suit options to find the perfect fit.

Shops generally list the length of trousers and skirts on the item labels, but if they don’t you’ll probably find a size guide on their website or can ask in the store.

It’s not always clear with women’s trousers and skirts what the waist measurements are, and they can vary depending on the style and cut, so don’t be afraid to take a tape measure and measure items yourself.

It’s always worth asking if individual shops have sizing guides available; if they do, they should list the exact measurements used to represent the sizes of clothes they’re selling.

Another good place to look is their website, as some shops do list exact in their online listings.

Likewise, clothing sold through printed catalogues sometimes offer more details about exact measurements.

Suits for women can be casual or formal, so whatever the occasion you’re bound to, eventually, find the perfect option.

See Also
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Choosing Correct Fitting Skirts and Tops
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