BMI and Dress Size

Hello you lovely people!

I have a bit of a personal question and I'm hoping I get a few people helping me out.

As BMI is a very simple thing I am intrigued whether it is in any way linked to dress size in an "average person" - i.e. excluding people with high amounts of muscle weight...

I would be very grateful if I could get a group of people, both ladies and gents, to maybe post their BMI and dress size(s) and maybe where you tend to shop, as that influences the dress size as well (but that's a different issue ;))

For example, the two tiny bits of info I have on myself are my starting BMI of some 44.6 and a dress size of 22 and my current stats of BMI around 28.2 and dress size 12/14 on the bottom and 10/12 on the top. 

I'm currently in between those to sizes but for me the worrying bit is that apparently 16 is the average UK dress size for ladies, now for me that meant I was still in the 30s on the BMI and with that obese - Is the average British woman in that category?

When looking at this in the past I always seem to wear too small clothing - I hope I'm not - I'd look like a sausage!

I'm just a bit curious.

Would be great if I could get some participants :)

Thank you!


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49 Replies

  • Hi here are my details - current BMI is 24.9 and I usually wear size 14 top and bottom. 14 bottom has been a bit snug recently but hoping for it to be a bit more loose once I have lost some more weight. Top half would ideally be a size 13 if they made that.  Usually shop in good old Marks and Sparks. Hope this helps.  Would be interested to see your findings.

  • Thank you muffintop! That's great help. I will report my findings once I have a few more figures to play with.

    Much appreciate your post. :)

    And I'm sure those 14s will be lose fitting in no time! 

  • Thanks - yes I hope so.  That muffintop is not a good look!

  • But it is delicious. 😊

  • My bmi is 30 and my size is between european 46-48 (dresses 16-18? Honestly I have no idea). But I have a massive belly so I don't look very good in 46. 48 though is sometimes too loose. Depends on a brand, not every size is the same.

  • Thank you mamiyou. 

    It actually depends on which European country you're in - believe it or not :)

  • Remember this ?

    Average UK 30-44 year old woman's BMI is nearly 27.

    However, this says the average UK woman's BMI is 30

  • Thank you. I wasn't aware of this one. 😊

  • Hi Foodie87,

    My stats are based on a 'new BMI' calculation which is supposed to be more accurate for taller people, and I am 6 feet 1 inch tall, which is why I use it.  If you want to see the 'new BMI' calculator link it is:

    But I will record both the 'standard BMI' and 'new BMI' figures so you can choose what fits best for your 'study'.

    Here are my stats:

    When I was at my heaviest:

    I weighed 18 stone 8 pounds (260 pounds)

    My standard BMI = 34.12 and the 'new BMI' was 32.53 (therefore I was 'obese'.

    My clothing size was a size 18.  I don't have my body measurements at that weight unfortunately, as I only started taking those in the last couple of years.

    My stats today:

    I weigh: 13 stone exactly today (182 pounds).

    My standard BMI = 23.88 and the 'new BMI' is 22.77 (therefore 'healthy')

    My clothing size now is a size 14.

    I shop in several places - Long Tall Sally, Fat Face, White Stuff, H&M, Desiguals, and George.

    I also just did the website link that Concerned gave, and it gave me a BMI of 24, and told me I was 'below average nationally' and 'below average globally' and that I am similar to someone from the Cote d'Ivoire.  

    My body measurements (taken last on 9th March) were: Chest: 39 inches; Waist 31.5 inches; Hips 40.5 inches.

    Wow, what a lot of stats, hope they are helpful.

    Lowcal :-)

    p.s.  I think a person's body frame is essential to take into account too - because I have noticed that weight can vary so much according to whether we are small, medium or big boned/framed.

  • Hi Lowcal 

    Thanks for all of this! You certainly kept track and did very well, I'm impressed!

    I realise that other factors make a big difference on your dress size, but I didn't want to overwhelm people to be as detailed as you.

    For now, I have used your "old" BMI figures, but took note of your height (if you want to chop off a few inches and pass them to me I'd be thankful) :)

  • Interesting... currently puts me just overweight instead of just about healthy BMI... and this newer calculation seems about right for me with what is round my middle. 

    There used to be calculators readily available which took build into account. Although I am not sure they'd give me better news as my wrists (which is often the way these things are measured) are the most (only!) dainty bit of me. I have size 8/42 feet and I am solidly built.

  • My BMI is currently 30.5 and most of my clothes are a size 14, though some fitted waistbands still a bit tight, still wearing a few 16s but they are quite baggy now. Sizes vary so much from shop to shop and I have a size 12 shirt that fits (tesco) and a size 18  one  (Asda) that fits exactly the same!

  • Thanks Fran, much appreciate your details.

    It's annoying how sizes vary, isn't it? 

  • A lot depends on how tall you are!

  • Hi Panel

    I realise this, it's not a scientific thing or I would have to collect an awful lot more details, which I'm afraid might put people off.

    Maybe a task for another day :)

  • Hi. My starting BMI is 35, I am a Size 20/22 & I'm 5feet 7 inches tall. I usually shop in Roman, M&S, Asda & just recently Yours (I think it is called that, a bit like Evans) Must admit not very keen on clothes shopping at the moment but I'm hoping that will be a more enjoyable occasion when I've lost some weight :)

  • Thank you Suzie.

    I'm sure you'll enjoy clothes shopping soon enough. Be prepared to spend a lot once you get to your target ;)

  • Hi Foodie,

    I am 5ft 6" tall.

    My starting weight was 19st 10lbs, my BMI was 44.5 and I was wearing size 26 clothes. They were mostly from Yours Clothing.

    My weight now is just hovering over 15st and my BMI is 34. I am currently wearing a size 20 from George, Evans, Matalan and shops I don't remember, as these clothes have been hanging around, waiting for me to slim into them :)

    I have a wardrobe full of size 16 clothes, as that was the size I was at the longest and I was in the 13's, with a BMI between 29 and 31.

    I hope this helps and can't wait to hear what the results show :)

  • Hi moreless, thank you for your help.

    You've done very well :)

    Your stats are exactly what I find so impressive about it all. You started at a similar BMI as me, yet your clothing was 2-3 dress sizes bigger. You are taller than me, but only by 4 or so inches, so It's not a huge difference.

    I am starting to wonder if my clothes are too small! :o 

  • I know in the past, a friend of mine, who was actually about the same height as you, but more overweight than me, wore the same size clothes, if that makes sense. I think that body frame also plays a big part. I know that "big-boned" sounds like an excuse, but I do actually think I'm big-boned! :D

    If your clothes look and feel ok, then they're not too small! :)

  • I am 5ft 6inches. I was 13 st 11 and a BMI just over 30, size 16-18

    Now 11st BMI 24.8 and a size 12-14

  • Thank you Gnet, very helpful.

    And well done on reaching the "healthy" BMI range!

  • Hi Foodie, I am 5ft 7ins my start weight was 22st 10lbs, BMI 49.8 dress size 30-32. I normally shopped at Evans, Yours or on-line.

    I now weigh 13st 7lbs, BMI 29.6 dress size 16, my waist is a bit bit thick so trousers are 16/18. I now shop at Bonmarche, Ideal World, Sainsburys, Simply Be.

    Hope this help your research!!

  • Hi Ros.

    This is great, thank you very much.

    And well done on your weight loss, way to go, you should be proud :)

  • Really interesting thread. I have friends the same height and weight as me who are two dress sizes smaller!! I am 5'1" currently 72.9 kg (11. 1/2 stone) BMI 31 approx. I wear size 14/16 depending on fit, I have slim legs but large waist, I even bought a size 12 trouser recently as they were stretchy with no waistband 😊 My top half is larger (!) but overall a size 16. 

  • Hi Anna

    thank you for your help.

    Funny, we're about the same height, but for different reasons go for different sizes...

    I'll put you down as a 16 :)

  • I'm happy with that, I was size 22 last year 😳

  • I'm 5ft6 and my BMI is currently 27.6. I'm a size 16, but my weight is all on my hips hence the size. I'm down 50lbs now, and think weight will start to come of my hips soon as there nothing left anywhere else!

    I shop in Asda normally. I'm a size 18 in Nee Look though (in jeans) I have 40" hips at the moment though.

  • Thank you ScarletMissCharlotte.

    Well done on that weight loss!

    I'm sure it'll all melt off your hips very soon :)

  • Hi Foodie,

    I'm currently at BMI 28 and I'm a 10/12 on top depending on shop (i choose clothes designed to be loose fitting though) and 14 on bottom.  Makes dresses a bit difficult at the moment and I've got a wedding to go to on Saturday! 

  • Hi idlekt.

    Thank you for your details.

    I know the problem with the dresses. I bought a lovely summer dress last year (no "unfortunately" a bit too big), which has a very wide skirt but came with a lovely big bow to tie it a bit tighter. 

    Maybe you should opt for something with a bow/belt :) I'm sure you'll find something.

  • I went from being at the low end of obese to top end healthy BMI, losing 20kgs and have not dropped a dress - or trouser - or top - size from 16. My waist to hip ratio needs work and I am definitely still carrying a good deal of fat round my middle... but I have never had much of a waist. I'm 168cm tall.

    I did find I could get into some items of clothing that hadn't fitted for a while but they were all still mainly 16, and the generous sizing of the late lamented Who Made Your Pants? meant that I did go down a size in those (imagine being pleased your knickers fall round your ankles?!!) and my bra size has dropped. (One of the first things I did when making a determined effort to lose weight was to get fitted for new bras. I was rather horrified by the 40C/D I was told... but guess what, I immediately looked better and slimmer as well as feeling much more comfortable) I do try on 14 from time to time but it's not right for me yet in most brands and styles.

  • Hi GoogleMe

    Thank you for your response. This is very interesting!

    Would you mind sharing your starting BMI and current BMI? I'd just pop you on with a size 16 for both and see what happens. :)

    But very well done on losing those 20kg and getting into the "healthy" BMI range!

  • This is interesting GoogleMe, because when I was the weight that you are now (my guesstimate from your "top end of healthy") and us being the same height, I was size 12 bottoms and size 14 tops!

    It just goes to show, that we really are all different! :)

  • Numbers of dress sizes don't mean anything to me. I'm an 18/20 in some a L or XL in others and I've even got into a medium! BMI, in my view is also very arbitary, at my height and weight I am obese and that excess weight is fat, put me next to an athlete same height and weight but all muscle and our BMI is the same! Who's fitter? Obviously the athlete so I take no notice of any of it. If something fits me then that's brilliant, if it doesn't I try a different size up or down.

    Try not to get fixated on the numbers it just adds to the pressure to to conform to what people think we should look like.

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts ceejayblue.

    I completely agree, I am just curious. As you say, it's the way people measure whether we "conform with their ideal". 

  • I currently weigh 14st 3lbs and am 5ft 7ins tall giving me a BMI of 31.3.  My dress size is 18-20 hips, and 18 bust, at the moment.  The thinnest I have been as an adult was when I weighed 11st 3lbs and took a size 16 dress.  !4's have always been too tight!  I usually shop online from Bon Marche or Cotton Traders - both of whom have fairly generous sizing.

  • Hi DartmoorDumpling

    Thank you or your measurements :) 

  • Fascinating thread. I'm 56, 5 ft 7 and now just under 13 stone. When I was 14 stone I wore size 20 jeans but now I can wear size 18. I'm big boned. That is I wear size 41 shoes. (Why don't they ever ask that?)

    I went through the BMI calculator s posted by other people here. Not surprisingly I'm listed as overweight . The BBC One doesn't pull it's punches.  If everybody had my BMI it would add 51 million tonnes to the earth's weight! !! My BMI by the way comes out at 28 in all calculations . Does that help?

  • Hi derrygeel, that's great detail, thank you.

    Interesting you should mention shoe size, I never thought of that being relevant! 

  • I was reading stuff on various sites last night. I came across the wrist descriptor mentioned by a previous poster . I don't find it very accurate as I have very big hands and long fingers . My ring size was always big. Even when I was underweight and looking gaunt after falling I'll while travelling, my trousers size was never less than 14. I've big hips you see.

    BMI is useful but crude. By the way my sister did midwifery training in the 70s.  They recorded shoe size then as an indication of the size of the pelvis.

  • Very interesting! 

    I remember that when I was born they'd take the measurement of the baby's foot to estimate how tall the child will grow once grown up... 

    Can't have been very accurate, I've fallen short by about 10-12cm ;)

  • My BMI is 32.8 and I wear a size 16 although I have just bought my first size 14 jeans from fat face which fit very nicely! As a former sports woman I do have broad shoulders and big thighs which is usually my downfall in finding clothes that fit - fat face is a brand that seems to work for me though.  I do buy size 16 dresses from apricot and similar brands but I have quite a specific style to suit my body shape...

  • Hi calm201, thank you or that.

    I agree about FatFace, their clothes are very forgiving. I never bought or even tried trousers there though. I tend to buy their jumpers - love them all, but I find them all very big/lose fitting and may even get a size 10 or even 8 next time. I'm normally 12/14...

    They have an offer on at the moment, spend £75 and get a £20 voucher - so tempting. :)

  • interesting topic. i've lost a lot of weight..started at bmi 47 and 26.8 now, clothes usa size 22 then and eu 38 now (i've since moved lol). i was noticing how many comments had a lower bmi than me in the same sized clothes and wondered what size was meant for normal i guess there is no right answer!  to be a "normal" bmi, i'll need to lose 12 pounds, but i'm pretty content in a medium top and 38 bottom.

  • Hi mrsvis

    Thank you for your reply. Indeed, there doesn't seem to be a "normal BMI/dress size combination" However, taking the average of the numbers I have so far, we have an average BMI of around 30 and a dress size 16 (16.8, unfortunately there's no 17, so we are in between sizes). And looking at that, that may well match up with your figures, coincidentally... I'm a similar BMI and dress size to you at the moment... :)

  • Bmi 25 

    Clothes size 12 but snug atm 

  • Thank you Determinedchick22, much appreciated.

  • No worries

    Weight 67.5kg

    Waist measurements 36 inches if that helps further. 

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