Facts about women's fashion sizes

Updated July 19, 2017

Women's clothing sizes and the measurements on clothing labels differ greatly from country to country. Furthermore, a size that fits you in one store could be too big or too small in the next, so you have to be flexible, patient and understand that labelled sizes often depend upon the manufacturer or whether the garment is from a "high-end" fashion designer. There are no standard measurements that are used consistently to correspond to each size; there will be variations in measurements depending on the sizing chart consulted.

Size 0

A U.S. size 0 is the smallest size typically available for purchase in most stores. Any smaller sizes have to be tailor-made. A U.S. size 0 is generally believed to be a 23-inch waist, 33-inch hip and 31-inch bust. Although size 0 may be some women's natural size, it can be dangerously thin for others who cannot maintain these measurements naturally. Catwalk models and the fashion industry are often criticised for glorifying this size, which is considered by some to be unhealthy.

Size 2

A U.S. size 2 is equal to a U.K. size 4 or European size 32. These correspond to a woman with a waist measurement of 24 to 25 inches, hip measurement of 34 inches and bust measurement of 32 inches.

Size 4

A U.S. size 4 is equal to a U.K. size 6 and a European size 34. This size typically fits a woman with a bust of 33-1/2, waist of between 25 and 26 and 35-inch hips, although there can be variations.

Size 6

A U.S. size 6 is a U.K. size 8 or a European 36. Bust measurements for a size 6 are normally 34 inches, waist measurements are 27 to 28 inches and hip measurements are 36 inches.

Size 8

A U.S. size 8 is a U.K. size 10 or a European size 38. If you are size 8, your bust measurements would be between 35 and 36 inches, your waist would measure 29 inches and your hips would measure between 37 to 38 inches.

Size 10 and Size 12

A U.S. size 10 is a U.K. size 12 or a European 40. If you were a size 10, your bust would measure 36 to 37 inches, your waist would measure 30 inches and your hips would measure 39 inches. A U.S. size 12 is a U.K. size 14 or a European 42. Your bust would measure 38 to 40 inches, your waist would measure 32 inches and your hips would measure 40 to 41 inches. Larger sizes are to be found in specialised plus-size stores.

The Facts

Sizes do differ slightly in measurements based on manufacture or designer and these are only general measurements, according to convertalot. Further measurements can be taken from your collar and your thighs for a more specific size analysis. According to msewing, when measuring your waist, bust or hips, the tape measure should be flat against your skin but not too tight. To measure your bust, take the measurement from the fullest part of your bust and the widest part of your back. Your waist measurement should be taken from the natural waistline just below your ribs and your hip measurement should be taken from the fullest part of your hips, normally seven to nine inches below your waist. Since sizes and measurements can vary, the best fit when trying on a garment is what feels most comfortable on you, no matter what size is indicated on the label.

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About the Author

Laura Winter started writing in 2007, specializing in sports, current affairs and fashion. She has been published in student publications "Label" and "WOW," as well as online. Winter has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Loughborough University.