So, I recently started using tumblr and I decided to follow a popular tips-and-tricks tumblr feed for lolita. Why? I don’t know. Half the time I read it, I run into mistakes which irk me, and tonight was no different.
Someone asked how much bigger clothes (garment size) should be than their body size and got an answer that basically went “most things have shirring, and so you should just be within the range, but if you are the same size as the maximum measurement, you should look for reviews because some brands run small”
Now, maybe the person who writes this column is a very small individual who simply has never run into that situation; I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that it’s something like that… but that’s really not the answer the person was asking for. Yes, your average sweet lolita JSK has some shirring in the back… but blouses? Not so much. Also, some classical brands like Victorian Maiden and Mary Magdalene rarely put shirring in their dresses, and while Innocent World offers many shirred JSKs, they usually don’t put shirring in their OPs or Blouses.
First of all, since it’s something a lot of people don’t pick up right away, Japanese brands don’t post size charts with the measurements of the people that fit in the garment. They post up the physical measurements of the outside of the garment, measured flat with a tape measure.
So, that said, if you are the same measurements as a blouse, it won’t fit. If it’s a button up blouse, or a blouse with pintucks… doubly so. (In fact, anything with pintucks can’t be too tight or it looks terrible, trust me. Been there, done that.)
Innocent world recommends that you buy clothing with a maximum measurement that is 4cm-5cm bigger than your measurements. This is not because the garments are flawed; it’s because human beings breathe and physics won’t let you occupy the same space as the fabric. Now, granted, you can physically put on a dress sometimes if you are the same (or, more rarely slightly larger) than the max measurements. That doesn’t mean it fits. It means your body is re-positioning you out of the way of the fabric. Unless the garment is a corset, or other similar garment, you don’t want this. First of all, it’s not flattering. Second of all, it puts strains on the seams, and if there is corset lacing in the back that goes through lace, it can destroy the lace. In an ideal world, you want to be able to take a deep breath and not have any resistance… but still not have your clothing be baggy.
So, now that we’ve established that; this extra space, or ease, should not be included in the measurements you give a shopping service when ordering on taobao. Taobao shops are asking for your exact body measurements, and then they add ease. If it’s winter, they add a lot of it for layering apparently, so you might consider looking up sizing reviews and possibly mention to your SS that you want the ease to be the summer amount if you are concerned. When you give measurements to a seamstress, you can specify that they are body measurements, though it’s typically assumed. If you measured a garment, and the measurements you are giving are garment measurements, you always want to mention that, because it’s usually not done that way.
Two more things to think about. If an Angelic Pretty item has shirring, but only one measurement is recorded on their site/hellolace/lolibrary, it’s the minimum measurement. If you are buying second hand on closet child and the measurement seems impossibly small (like a 35cm waist), double it. Sometimes they post flat measurements where they only measured across one side and haven’t doubled it. In those cases, they usually have not stretched the shirring all the way either so you can guesstimate another couple cm on shirred items (but not too many).
That said, if you buy an item with corset lacing and you are worried it won’t fit, try taking the lace-up ribbon out entirely before you try it on. As long as it’s not going through impossibly small holes, it shouldn’t be too terrible to put back in later, and it’s so much easier and a lot more accurate. If it’s looped through lace and you are closer to the maximum measurement than the minimum, you might consider just keeping it out so you don’t pull the lace.