A well-tailored blouse is an important part of any woman's wardrobe. Blouses that fit well look more fashionable and more professional, and are also much more comfortable to wear. The key to finding your correct blouse size is to first measure yourself correctly with a cloth measuring tape. After finding your measurements, you can correlate them to size charts, which are usually provided by clothing manufacturers and retailers.
Place one end of a cloth measuring tape against the center of the fullest part of your bust, and bring the tape around your back until it meets in the front, making sure that the tape remains in place. Don’t pull the tape too tight, but keep the tension taut yet relaxed enough for a comfortable fit. Using the pencil and paper, make a note of the inch marking -- indicating your bust measurement.
Place one end of the measuring tape against the center of your waist, at the midriff section about 1 inch above your panty line. Bring the tape around your back until it meets in the front. Make sure that the tape is positioned against the fullest part of your waist. Write down the inch marking -- indicating your waist measurement.
Place one end of the measuring tape against the center of your neck, and bring it around your neck until it meets in front. Write down the inch marking. This determines your collar size for high-necked and close-fitting blouses.
Place one end of the measuring tape on the top of your shoulder, just above where your armpit starts, and measure across to the same exact spot on your other shoulder. This determines your shoulder measurement. Measure from the same place at the top of your shoulder to the middle of your wrist. This gives you your arm length measurement.
Place one end of the measuring tape in the middle of your stomach where your hips are fullest, then bring the tape completely around until it meets in front; this is your hip measurement.
Take all these measurements and correlate them to manufacturers' and retailers' size charts, which you'll find on their websites or in their catalogs. Match the measurements as closely as you can. If your own measurement differs by a fraction of an inch from the standard available size chart, then size up to the next measurement.
Don't take a few inches off your current measurements because you're trying to lose weight. Likewise, don't add a few inches because you're trying to gain. This will most likely lead to a closet full of unworn clothing that doesn't fit.
Keely Brown has been a feature writer, arts critic, columnist and business writer since 1998. She has written for publications such as the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Creative Loafing" and "Boulder County Business Report." Brown won a Colorado Press Association Award for journalism and a Best of Atlanta award for her radio program. She has been profiled on CNN and National Public Radio.