Guide to DvF sizing and fit (UPDATED!)
I do update my blog entries on an almost-daily basis to reflect what is in stock and in the storees, so keep checking back to see what's new, what's on sale and what has sold out. Don't just look at the date of the entry, since it does not change even though I update the actual entry.
You can also link to this sizing guide, which I posted on eBay, by saving this to your bookmarks: http://reviews.ebay.com/Diane-von-Furstenberg-DvF-sizing-and-fit-guide_W0QQugidZ10000000001013674
I hope this information can help you in your DvF quest!
(1) Sizing tends to run small compared to mainstream labels
DvFs do generally run smaller than mainstream American labels (such as Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Old Navy, etc.). My standard DvF size is at least one, if not two, sizes above the clothes I buy from other retailers. Therefore, do expect that you will probably be purchasing a size larger than you usually do. Now, I say "standard" DvF size because...
(2) Fit tends to vary from style to style, fabric to fabric, and season to season
I have found that the fit of DvFs vary greatly depending on the style (cut) of the item and then even which fabric the item is made of. On top of that, I have found that the same exact style and fabric dress produced one season can vary significantly from the same item in a different print from another season. Therefore, it is important to first figure out your 'standard' DvF size, which is the usual size you are will end up wearing in "typical" (a/k/a most) DvFs. Then, find out how the particular style you are considering runs compared to a "typical" DvF and make adjustments from there.
Just off the top of my head, here are a few items which vary quite a bit in sizing.
Examples of recent style-dependent variability:
*The newest styles and silhouettes for 2007 are running large, so I've been recommending people to size down:
--> The Carlyle, for example, runs so large that I had to size down TWO sizes from my standard DvF size.
--> The Ayuka, the Jillia, the Adelaide, and the Gaby also run two sizes large on me.
--> The Benten, the Echidna, the Stella, the rayon Denise, the Toby, the Eaven, and the Catherine are all running at least one full size large, so I've had to size down ONE size from my standard DvF size.
*The vintage collection (Diamond Cube, Dance Ginkgo, Graphic Spa, Ivy Meadow, Honeysuckle, Night Sunflower, Heart Leaves) are running one full size large, so I've had to size down ONE size from my standard DvF size.
*The Cubist Jeanne seems to run large on a lot of my clients. Even though the Jeanne style is often tight in the upper arms (see further down for that observation), the fabric used on this particular print seems to fit a bit more loosely, so a lot of clients were able to go down one size from their usual silk jersey Jeanne size.
*The Utility wrap, wool or silk jersey, all seemed to run small in the bust, so I'd recommend going up one size if you're busty or prefer more modest bust coverage.
*The Griffith style ran a size small in the silk jersey, so go up a size, no matter what print it is. If you are busty, opt for two sizes up. If you are getting the charcoal wool version, that runs large, so down down a size.
*The Fariba's skirt ran small, so go up at least one size if you do not want a high slit.
*The Brea's skirt also had a high slit, so go up at least one size if you do not want to show as much leg -- or be prepared to show more leg!
*The Mr. Mao wrap runs nearly two sizes small, so go up two sizes if you want more bust coverage or have a large bust/straight waist.
*Chain Link Combo Willow wrap also runs nearly two sizes small, so go up two sizes
*The Antonio wrap runs about one size small on bustier women, so go up one size for more bust coverage
*Marble Paper Dasha wrap runs almost one size large, so go down one size if you are on the small end of your size spectrum (i.e. if you are between a US6 and US8, choose the smaller size)
*Attica style wraps run about one size large, so go down one size
*Kyanne style wraps in the 100% super-soft viscose run at one to two sizes small, so go up at least one size and definitely go up two sizes if you happen to be busty
*Jude style wraps tend to be roomier because of the sleeveless design (see Section 3 below for my notes on wraps), so many clients choose to go down one size
*Tyler style wraps are adjustable in the shoulders, so clients are able to also wear one size down in addition to their regular size
*To adjust for the tailored bust on the Kye wraps, clients who are a C cup or larger are strongly recommended to go up at least one size, if not two sizes
*To adjust for the keyhole opening on the Madame wraps, clients who are a C cup or larger are strongly recommended to go up at least one size
*To adjust for the wider, almost portrait, necklines on the Jane wraps, clients who are a C cup or larger are strongly recommended to go up one size if more bust coverage is preferred
*To adjust for the wider portrait necklines on the Rita wraps, clients are strongly recommended to go up one size if more bust coverage is preferred. For people with narrow shoulders, I'd recommend going down one size, instead.
*The original silk jersey Duenne wrap dresses -- with the piping along the torso, collar, cuffs and pocket -- run a bit small, so go up at least one size from your usual. The prints available were Dahlia, Barocco Tapestry, Hindu Trellis and Paisley.
*The Taffy dresses have a bit of extra room in the lower back because of the vented design, so clients are able to go down one size if small-waisted or if a tighter fit through the torso is preferred
Examples of by-fabric variability:
*DvF's 100% wool items tend to run small, so go up one size. This holds true for both wrap and non-wrap dresses. For Example: If you know you're a certain size in the silk jersey Revolutionary Duenne wrap, you will most likely be happier with one size larger in the wool Revolutionary Duenne wrap.
*The shiny 100% viscose fabric items, as seen on the Willowflower Rita and Silver Svetlana, also run about a size small (especially with the Rita's more open neckline!), so go up one size if you are on the large end of your size spectrum (i.e. if you are between a US6 and US8, choose the larger size). For Example: If you know you're a certain size in the silk jersey Rita wrap, you will most likely be happier with one size larger in the viscose Rita wrap, even though I have already recommended that you go up one size in the silk jersey Rita already.
*The super-soft viscose material -- not the shiny 100% viscose like in the Rita or Svetlana wraps -- has 5% lycra in it, so it is more adjustable than the standard DvF silk jersey items. If you are between sizes, like I am, just stick with your usual size (the Justin style, the Willow style from Summer 2005 -- see photo below -- if you are not big in the hips, or the Jane style from 2005 if you are not busty) or thought it might be possible to go down one size (such as in the Antonio style).
*In general, the 100% rayon items run smaller than the same style in 100% silk jersey. The black rayon Julian and Jeanne wraps tend to run almost a size smaller because of the fabric. The Aftonella is a style that was made only in rayon and it ran at least one size small; clients were urged to choose one size larger than usual. For Example: If you know you're a certain size in the silk jersey Julian or Jeanne wrap, you will most likely be happier with one size larger in the rayon Julian or Jeanne wrap.
EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: When DvF introduced the chocolate brown 100% rayon Julian, they fit more like the standard DvFs, so I recommended that my clients choose their usual size for that item.
NOTE: Most of Diane's 100% rayon items have moved to the newer 85% viscose/15% polyamide fabric, and that seems to run more true to size.
Examples of season-to-season variability:
*The Rene dresses from Spring 2004 tend to run one size small. The prints from that collection include Leopard Orange, Leafscroll Red and Williamina. These dresses were also shorter than previous Rene dresses.
*The Rene dresses from earlier collections (~1998-2002) run longer than the more recent (2003- now) Rene dresses. I have a Red Pearls one that is at least 4" longer than all my other Rene dresses!
*The vintage collection wraps from Summer 2005 are shorter than usual (~39"), so this is an issue taller clients needed to be aware of. The prints from that collection include La Scala, Stones Throw, Arrowhead and Prairie Flower.
The Graphic Grass print from a year before that is also rather short, ~39" as well.
(3) Notes on wrap dresses, separates, etc.
A few other observations on DvF:
*The wrap style is adjustable. This means that you don't have to wear only your standard DvF size. With the adjustability of the waistline, you have the ability to alter what your neckline looks like. Some clients like more decollete, so they opt for a smaller size than their standard DvF size when it comes to wraps. Others prefer more coverage, so they sometimes go for a larger size in wraps or simply wear a pretty camisole underneath. their usual size. It also means that if you are a US8 and you see a hard-to-find US6 or US10 wrap that you're just dying to own, either size could very well fit you just as fine as a US8. Most wraps do not require a perfect fit the way a wedding gown or trousers need to fit.
*It seems as if DvF generally designs for an A/B cup size bust, so if you are a C cup or higher, you need to take that into consideration when choosing your size.
*The size chart provided on the DvF website did not upload well into this guide, so I could not include it for quick reference. In general, I find that in wraps, your bust measurement is most likely going to dictate which size you need, followed by the waist measurement. The hip measurement is almost irrelevant unless the item is cut especially narrow or if your waist is exceptionally small compared to your bust & hips. That said, my waist is at least 3.5 inches larger than the guideline they provide for the size I usually wear. The bust measurement is pretty much spot on and the hip measurement provided is larger than me (but, again, the hips don't really matter). I find that the DvF size guide is not so good for trousers (I need a larger size than their chart indicates, but my legs are not long enough for the size I end up needing to buy!) but pretty accurate for most dresses (again, with the bust being the primary indicator in some styles, and the waist being a good indicator in other styles).
*The bicep area of DvF sleeves tend to be snug (even for those of us not as musuclar as Madonna in that area!), so it will sometimes affect the fit of the wrap across the bust. This is the main reason why many people are able to go down one size in the Jude style compared to the Julian or Justin styles in the same print & fabric.
*Necklines on wraps: Sometimes, a particular wrap is perfect on you in every way except that the front keeps slipping open. It could be that you need a larger or smaller size, or perhaps that particular style/fabric is not sitting right on your frame. Before giving up and selling/trading that wrap you love, simply have a hidden hook&eye sewn in where you want the wrap to close. It is a great solution for making wraps a touch more hassle-free. Or, you can just throw on a camisole underneath. I have also found that the stretch viscose fabric is a little clingier, since it has lycra, so it seems to hug on to the bust a little better and, thus, stay closed better. I also find the Willow and Kye wraps to stay in place rather well, but that could just be the way those cuts fall on my particular physique.
*Most DvF trousers to have very long inseams, at least 34" to 36". If you are not long-legged, be prepared to have them tailored, which does affect the line of the piece.
*DvF's silk jersey is unlike any other designer's fabric. There is a lovely drape and a bit of natural stretch so that it flatters a wide range of figures. It does not wrinkle, which makes it perfect for globe-trotting. That also means that you may be able to fit into two or three sizes in a particular dress style, just because of the natural flexibility of the silk weave. That is why so many fit measurements are given as ranges in the descriptions of DvFs.
*DvF's silk mesh material is, I believe, exclusive to her designs, and is an amazing material that seems to expand or stretch to fit just about every figure. This means that you can probably wear a larger range of sizes in that fabric than you could of an item in the regular silk jersey. The material is woven so that is looks rather small when laid out and then expands to gently hug your curves without being binding. A wonderful break-through material! It is also super light-weight and never wrinkles, although it tends to be more delicate and can run if it gets snagged/caught on jewelry.
If you have any ideas or input about DvF fit, please do send them to me and I can eventually add your advice to this guide! I will probably author a DvF fabric care guide at some point in the future, but if you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to contact me. Happy shopping!!