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To measure your waist:
1: First find your natural waist. This is the point between your lowest ribs and your hip bones. Easy to identify by placing your hands on your hips.
2: Place the tape around the waist line.
3: Relax your tummy by breathing out gently and do not tuck in. adjust the tape so that it is level around your waist line and measure.
4: Remove the tape and record your result.

Alas sizes for women just aren't that simple. Different cuts and different manufacturing methods will mean that a Size 14 in one shop may be significantly different from a Size 14 from another. I have a friend who managed to buy a Size 8 pair of trousers in one shop, but came up a Size 14 in another, which goes to show the silly levels of variation between suppliers.
Roughly (and I'm going on measure hundreds of items a week for Ebay) it seems to average out at
Size 16 - 32-34"
Size 14 - 30-32"
Size 12 - 28-30"

there seems to be a jump though as
size 18 - 36-38"
size 20 - 38-40"

and that's on items worn literally on the waist not slightly lower like a lot of skirt & trousers.
As said above it differs not just from shop to shop but different items in the same shop!
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