How to size someone for clothes
Knowing how to buy clothes for someone else can be really hard, especially if you want to be sneaky.
Here are some tips from Hilary Arthur, owner of Arthur and Daughters, and Rebecca Wattenschaidt, owner of Elizabeth & West Fashion House for those who don't want to just give another gift card for the holidays this year.
Loosely guess their size
If you want to take the safe route, stick with clothing items that aren't form-fitting or a tailored fit, Arthur and Wattenschaidt said. Knits, chunky sweaters, wraps are all options that have an easy fit that can give you a little flexibility in terms of correct sizing. Because of this, shirts are typically easier to buy than pants, Wattenschaidt said. Usually looser fitting clothes give leeway in a size up or down, but make sure no matter what you buy, that the store's exchange policy allows for mistakes.
Sneakily find out their exact size
If you are a bit more skilled in being sneaky and live with the person you're shopping for or know someone that does, try to get a hold of something they own and check those sizes. All brands fit differently, but knowing what size they usually wear can help you shop.
No surprises, just accuracy
If you don't care about surprising the person that needs clothes for the holidays, and you want to get something that fits well, go ahead and measure them yourself.
To take measurements for pants, measure from the crotch to the ankle for the inseam, Arthur said. Then measure from the crotch to the natural waist line for the rise, and also measure the waist.
Even with measurements, when you purchase pants, try to make sure they have an unfinished hem so they can be shortened, or enough material to be let out. The same can be said about seems.
For jackets or shirts, measure the neck, sleeve length and chest.
Once you have those numbers, online you can find sizing guides and charts to show you what tailored sizes correlate with those measurements. Double check to make sure you're looking at the correct sizing guides, European sizes are different than U.S. sizes.
For someone who has everything or is difficult to please, you can have a piece custom made or fitted for them. Arthur & Daughters does this all the time, Arthur said. Just send them in and they can work together to create a customized special piece.
If you're in the store and not quite sure about if the clothes your looking at would fit the person you're shopping for, ask someone that works at the store, Wattenschaidt said. They might have some tips or can at least share their sizes with you if they look close to the person you're buying for. You can go off their size or just hold the item up to yourself. Men's sizing is a little bit more straight-forward than women's different cuts and styles. So if all else fails, buy accessories, Wattenschaidt said.