Although written for ladies this information will also apply to gentlemen.
Many sellers do not put enough measurements in their listings, some only put the garment size in and expect you to know if it will fit or not. This is OK if you are familiar with the manufacturer or designer but not much help if you are looking at a make you have never worn before, and even if you do know the label, the sizes can vary a lot between one item and another.
Before buying an item of clothing, do check that it will be the size that will fit you, rather than the size stated on the listing or label, this will help you avoid expensive mistakes. Don’t forget the measurements are of the garment and not the body it will fit, it may be a good idea to measure an item you own that is the right size and fit and use that as a guide. If there are no sizes given in the listing, do ASK the seller to measure the actual garment which is for sale.
I spend a lot of time asking for waist measurements of skirts – size 12 is not a measurement and is no help to me, as it can vary by 2 or more inches in the same size. I also often have to ask the length of a dress or skirt, or the length of a top or cardigan.
One big problem I have is trying to find jeans that will fit. I am not a ‘Builders Bum’ kind of person, neither do I want an unsightly roll of flesh hanging over the top of my jeans like so many girls do these days (at this point I would recommend the use of a mirror to check back view before venturing out). I prefer to look neat and tidy and have jeans that fit comfortably and not fall down, exposing bits of me that should be kept covered, OK call me old fashioned but at least I won’t be getting stared at and sniggered at because vast amounts of belly or backside are showing. So – I always ask the rise measurement when looking for jeans. This is the measurement between the crotch seam and the waistband and a lot of people do not know this, I have found so when asking the rise measurement, it is a good idea to state that it is between the crotch seam and the waistband. This measurement will differ between the front and back of the jeans, as they are higher at the back, so you may want to check both.
One more thing I have to ask is whether a fabric contains any stretch, lots of people don’t think to check the labels or fill in the fabric type when listing and I do need to know if something will give, if it contains lycra or elastane or not. And, on the subject of fabric, I also ask if an item is pure linen or linen mix, as fabric which appears to look like linen can often contain viscose or another man made fabric.
Gentlemen can also have problems with the fit of trousers, jackets, and shirts, especially with sleeve lengths which are rarely mentioned in the listing and if you have long arms it is a never ending problem trying to find a shirt with long enough sleeves, and not only that, trying to find a seller that will measure and answer you. But do ask before buying.
You may also need to ask if a garment can be washed or is dry clean only, this can make a big difference to the amount of time you get to wear it, washing it means you can have it ready to wear again quickly but dry cleaning means it will spend a lot of time at the cleaners and not on you.
I hope this guide will be useful in helping people find clothes to fit. Good luck with your buying.