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It's our aim to get you into perfectly fitting lingerie first time around. It would make life a lot easier wouldn't it? Our lingerie is cut to vintage patterns which can make it slightly smaller than modern day sizes, especially in the waist. If, after reading the notes below, you're still unsure, grab a tape measure and talk to us on 'live chat' so we can quickly resolve any queries before you place your order.

What Katie Did lingerie is inspired by styles from the 1940s and 1950s and as sizes were smaller then you might find our sizes slightly smaller than those on the high street: waist sizes in particular.

Our lingerie is cut to the following measurements, so if this is your first visit to our site please take a moment to see how you measure up! 

how to measure for lingerie

WKD Sizes   

Size 4   - Bust 33"/85cm, Waist 23"/58cm, Hips 33"/85cm

Size 6 - Bust 35"/87.5cm, Waist 25"/62.5cm, Hips 35"/87.5cm

Size 8 - Bust 37"/92.5cm, Waist 27"/67.5cm, Hips 37"/92.5cm

Size 10 - Bust 39"/97.5cm, Waist 29"/72.5cm, Hips 39"/97.5cm

Size 12 - Bust 41"/102.5cm, Waist 31"/77.5cm, Hips 41"/102.5cm

Size 14 - Bust 43"/107.5cm, Waist 33"/82.5cm, Hips 43"/107.5cm

Fitting notes and measurments are included in all garment descriptions where needed. Simply click the 'size and fit' tab at the top of each product description (underneath the product description on the mobile version of our site).

What Katie Did use the traditional method of bra fitting, the same used in premium brands such as Agent Provocateur, La Perla and Elle Macpherson. This means that your underbust measurement does not equal your band size.

If you're not sure of your band size, you need to measure your ribcage just under the bust quite firmly - at the same tightness that you'd normally wear your bra. Traditionally you would have added 4-5" to this measurement to work out your band size, but traditionally we used to wear our bras far too loosely. With our bras it's better to add 3-4".

While some brands advise you to fit your bra on the loosest hook when trying on, this is not necessary with our bras as we use high quality powermesh in the construction of our bands so they will not stretch with wear. You need to ensure that the band is comfortable from the word go.

If you wear a brand that specialises in larger cups which are 'true sized' (for example Curvy Kate, Panache, Freya and Cleo) your What Katie Did size will differ. Generally you need to go up one band size and down one cup size (so if you're a Bravissimo 32D you'll be a What Katie Did 34C). Very occasionally you might need to go up 2 band sizes, and down 2 cup sizes (so if you're a Bravissimo 32D you'll be a What Katie Did 36B), but if you think this is the case please contact us before ordering. We will need to know your underbust measurement (following the instructions in the second paragraph), what brand and size you currently wear and whether you're confident that the current size you wear is a good fit.

At What Katie Did we believe there is no right or wrong way of grading bras, we just want to ensure we get a great fit for you, whatever the size label might say!

If you have purchased a bra (either from us, or elsewhere) and the size isn't quite right, it's easy to work out what's gone wrong and how to find the right size for you. Bra cups are 'cross graded' which means the the same cup is used for several different sizes. If your band is too tight, but the cup fits perfectly, then you need to go up a band size and down a cup size (this will make the band 2" longer, but the cup the same as the first size).

For example:

28FF has the same cup as a 30E, 32DD, 34D, 36C and 38B

28FF has the same cup as a 30F, 32E, 34DD, 36D and 38C

28G has the same cup as a 30FF, 32F, 34E, 36DD and 38D

Our lingerie is sized either by bra or dress size.

Our lingerie is sized either by bra or dress size.

Shapewear is designed to smooth and shape the torso, concentrating on the waist and hips. It's important to get these measurements correct when determining your dress size.

To determine your waist size (1) measure the narrowest part of your torso firmly. Your natural waist might be a lot higher than you imagine and should be several inches smaller than your jean size. Measure your hips (2) at the widest point.

how to measure for vintage lingerie

Our Merry Widow and Corselette are sized using bra sizes. As both garments cover the body, the body size also needs to be taken into account. The band sizes of these garments roughly fit:

Band size 32 = dress size 6, 34 = dress size 8, 36 = dress size 10 and 38 = dress size 12 (of course, these are What Katie Did dress sizes which might be a size smaller than what you're used to, see our fitting room page for the measurements of our dress sizes)

If you wear, for example, a 32D bra but are a dress size 10 you will need to adjust your corslette/Merry Widow size so it fits correctly on the body by selecting a 36B (if you go up a band size you need to go down a cup size: see our bra sizing page for more info)

Our panties contain powermesh and are stretchy so the waist measurement isn't quite as critical as it is on shapewear. If you're in between sizes go for the size which matches your hip measurement. In general if you are between sizes always go for the larger size in panties.

All of our garter belts contain powermesh so they will stretch to fit. They need to sit firmly on the waist so if you are between sizes always to for the the smaller size. Our deep Maitresse and Harlow Garter Belts are cut on the generous side and are stretchier than the others as they contain more powermesh.

how to put on a suspender belt

You need to take in to account both your waist and hip measurements when selecting a girdle. If you are wearing a girdle that finishes on your waist then it's best to choose the size closest to your waist measurement to avoid a muffin top. If you do have a large waist in comparision to your hips it might be better to go for a longline underbust girdle which will give you a smooth line from underbust to derriere.

Our underbust girdles contain spiral steel boning to ensure they don't roll down.

Girdles are designed to flatten your tummy and smooth your hips and derriere. Always step into your girdle.

Ideal under tight fitting pencil skirts.

how to put on a girdle

Designed to comfortably cinch your waist. Ensure that the reinforced shaping bands sit on the narrowest point of your waist for maximum sculpting.

Always choose the size closest to your waist measurement. It is possible to go down a size in our waist cinchers and waspies especially if you're used to wearing vintage style shapewear.

Waist Cinchers are great under full skirted 1950s style dresses with nipped in waists.

how to put on a waist cincher


Designed to smooth out unwanted lumps and bumps from waist to upper thighs shaping tummy, hips and derriere.

Always step into your corselette and try crossing your legs to make your hips slightly narrower when you pull it up.


A lighter version of a corselette. It is possible to pull on over your head if required. Corselettes and torsolettes are perfect for wearing under tight wiggle dresses.

Merry Widows

Designed to smooth your torso and nip in your waist for an hourglass figure.

how to put on a corselette

The short answer is yes. Corsetry is designed to shape your figure, which means it has to be tight. We’ve tried to make our shapewear as easy to get into as possible, but a few items (in particular our Glamour Corselette) need a little wriggle.

In fact, over the last decade I’ve watched several models wriggle into our Glamour Corselette convinced it would be too small, only to emerge at the end of their What Katie Did workout looking like gleaming 1950s starlets.

If you do think an item is too small, why not take a breather and try again later? Once you’re in you’ll look spectacular and remember, our shapewear is designed to be comfortable enough to wear all day.

Should you happen to break a garment trying it on send it back for a refund and tell them Katie sent you. It hasn’t happened yet but there’s always a first!

how to put on a merry widow

Our Retro Seamed Stockings are made from 15 denier stretch nylon with elastane, which means that just 2 sizes cover sizes 6-14, 5ft to 5ft 11. The stretch nylon also means that the welts (stocking tops) stretch which make them comfortable for larger thighs.

Modern hosiery contains lycra which makes it very stretchy and sizing is not so important. Although some stockings in the 1940s and 1950s were made from stretch nylon, our fully fashioned and seamfree rht stockings are made from non stretch nylon which makes sizing critical - and sizing will vary from style to style. If it is your first time wearing real nylons please double check the size is correct for you before opening, and if you are unsure contact us for livechat so we can put your mind at rest.

Our Fully Fashioned Stockings and Nylons range are made in one of the last three remaining Fully Fashioned Stocking mills in the world, in Nottingham, in the heart of England (alas, the last US factory closed a couple of years ago). Both of these ranges are made from the same high quality silky soft non-stretch nylon evocative of the monofilament yarn used in the 1950s.

putting on fully fashioned stockings

They’re seamed by hand which is extremely labour intensive and explains why Chinese factories have little interest making them a mass market product!  If you haven’t tried real nylons before you might be rather alarmed at the length of them! Being non stretch they do look very long, but once you put your leg in them it will take up the slack.

My, Should They Really Be That long?

Sizing is very important with non stretch nylons: one size does certainly fit all. Our Fully Fashioned and Nylons ranges are designed for dress sizes 8-12. If you are smaller than that then you might like to try a size smaller, while if you’re a size 14 you might try a size larger. Don’t be tempted to go up or down more than one size as you’ll either end up with wrinkled ankles, or digging-in welts.

putting on fully fashioned stockings

Real nylons are extremely delicate and need to be treated with the utmost care. In the heyday of stocking manufacturing, workers were treated to two manicures a day (on arrival and after lunch) to ensure nails and rough skin didn’t snag the delicate stockings. We highly advise the use of hosiery gloves, thin rubber gloves used for hair dying are an easy to find alternative - although slightly less glamorous! Believe it or not, the most dangerous time for nylons is not when you’re wearing them, but when you putting them on, removing them, washing them or storage.

What Katie Did is a very small company and we all wear the lingerie, and have experience in fitting on different body types. If you are stuck, please contact us by telephone, livechat or email. It always helps to have as much information as possible - from what brand of bra and lingerie you normally wear, to your underbust, waist and hip measurements.

If our lingerie isn't suitable for you, we'll be happy to recommend an alternative brand if we know of one which will work.

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London Boutique: What Katie Did, 26 Portobello Green, 281 Portobello Road, London, W10 5TZ
Tel: 0345 430 8943

Los Angeles Store: What Katie Did, 3420 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, California, 91505 USA
Tel: 1 877 221 2472 or 1 818 955 7710 (from outside US)

Head Office:

What Katie Did,
Unit 8 The Old Mill, 61 Reading Road,
Pangbourne, Berkshire, RG8 7HY

Tel: 0345 430 8743 or
+44 118 976 7676 (from outside UK)

Registered in England with company number: 05752881