Now, the practical application is where it can get tricky. If you just find it all to be just too much math, relax. Many websites catering to full bodied women have excellent customer service besides concise sizing charts (this is helpful since many manufacturers have their own sizing systems). A few sites have even adopted virtual models you can create yourself with your own measurements and features. Believe me when I say bathing suit shopping will never be the same with a virtual model doing all the work. Gone are the days of yanking, pulling, untwisting, sweating, elbowing the dressing room walls, and just plain evil lighting.
So what exactly is the deal with all those X’s, Q’s, and W’s and how do they apply to you? Easiest first…W stands for Woman which in itself implies that you are not in the Junior’s or Misses’ section. Q, of course is for Queen but it is so arbitrarily used (although it generally means it will fit someone weighing between 165 and 285 pounds) that we will ignore it as well. As for the X’s, they stand for extraordinary…
Remembering that it’s your fullest curve that will dictate the size you choose, here is a reasonable working chart for clothing. When ordering on-line, it is suggested you take a look at the company’s own sizing chart before you hit ‘send’.
Size Bust Waist Hip
2X = 18/20 44-46″ 38-40″ 50-52″
3X = 22/24 48-50″ 42-44″ 54-56″
4X = 26/28 52-54″ 46-48″ 58-60″
5X = 30/32 56-58″ 50-52″ 62-64″
6X = 34/36 60-62″ 54-56″ 66-68″
Bathing suits and lingerie are a less exact science but if you have found a reliable manufacturer, half of the battle has been won. If you are confident in a 2-piece, it is recommended you find a source specializing in separates for the best fit. Many bra style bikini tops correspond to your real bra size.
Size Bust Waist Hips
1X = 16 42″ 33″ 42″
2X = 18 44″ 35″ 44″
3X = 20 46″ 37″ 46″
4X = 22 48″ 39″ 48″
5X = 24 50″ 41″ 50″
6X = 26 52″ 43″ 52″
For panties you will need that “low waist” number. As a general rule, look at the size on your favorite pair.
Size Low Waist
1X = 8 44-46″
2X = 9 48-50″
3X = 10 52-54″
4X = 12 56-58″
5X = 14 60-62″
6X = 16 64-66″
If you aren’t sew-savvy you may want to search the phonebook or your neighborhood for an inexpensive tailor or seamstress. While it does add to your fashion budget, it will be an investment in the long run. You may have a few outfits in your closet right now that haven’t seen the light of day because of a minor fitting issue.
Women in the Petite Plus category (under 5’3″) are very well aware that tailoring is sometimes the only solution. Keep in mind that the Internet has opened up an entirely new universe in which to shop and lots of retailers are realizing that full bodied women would love to shop, too. With advances like Virtual Models, it is becoming apparent that a future where voluptuous women are just as important to designers as those sized 0-12 is just around the corner! In the meantime, arm yourself with your numbers and have a great time shopping!