A slew of made-to-your-measurements, one-of-a-kind clothing brands and sites have been popping up recently (Christina knows what I’m talking about—she shared her favorite customizable under-$100 summer dresses earlier). While I’m intrigued by the idea of getting a dress that’s made to fit my body exactly, the idea of measuring myself at home before sending in the numbers makes me nervous. What if I do it wrong and eventually unwrap a package that’s not as spot-on as it should be?
Because I’m certain someone out there shares these anxieties, I quizzed Anne Dayton, founder and CEO of PIOL Dress, a new company that offers a handful of timeless dress silhouettes in all kinds of colors and patterns. Along with the precise fit, you’re guided to find the one that matches your complexion best via a favorite trick of Edith Head, one of Hollywood’s most illustrious costumers. With her answers, below, I think both you and I are headed toward some very well fitting garments, indeed.
Q: Is it best to take measurements nude or while wearing something simple like a t-shirt and jeans?
A: We ask you to measure yourself in the bra and underwear you’d most likely wear with the dress.
Q: For the bust measurement, bra on or off?
A: Definitely in your bra and, if possible, the one you’re most likely to be wearing with the dress.
Q: In the ideal situation, should we ask a best friend to measure us rather than trying to do it ourselves?
A: If you can ask someone to do it, that would be great. Otherwise, measure yourself in front of a full-length mirror to be sure the tape is parallel to the floor in the back. If the measuring tape isn’t even as it goes around your figure, the measurements could be off.
Q: Are there any common mistakes people make when using a measuring tape?
A: The most common mistake is to measure your high hip rather than your hip at their fullest point. The other one is to give us your bra size as the bust measurement—it’s not the same measurement at all.
Q: Does it matter if measurements are taken first thing in the morning or at the end of the day?
A: We haven’t really examined the difference of your measurements from morning to night. As you’ll be wearing the dress throughout the day, I’d imagine mid-day is the optimum time for measuring.
Q: Real talk: Should we be trying to measure the “best” version of ourselves—standing up tall and straight with shoulders down and stomach in—or just how we typically stand?
A: Standing straight, tall, and with feet together is the most desirable position. The one measurement that can move is the waistline. It’s very important that you breathe while measuring your waist, rather than holding in your breath or stomach. Our tailored style dress is very fitted in the bodice and waist, and if you measure your waist while holding your stomach in, the waistband could be too snug. One of the beauties of a custom-made dress is that it can be fitted to your figure, [but] still a pleasure to wear.
Q: So fibbing numbers at all, for any reason, is a horrible idea?
A: We truly need your real measurements. If you fib, the dress will be too tight and probably in the wrong places. If parts of the dress are too tight, you’re actually calling attention to that area. In terms of comfort, we’ve [considered that with] all our silhouettes, so there’s never a need to add to your measurements.