"I habitually ignore those statements saying 'allow at least 2" for comfort' because, lets face it, it's not 1986 and we've been wearing quite a few styles/types of garment pretty tight for a few years now. And there are garments that surprisingly will measure LESS than say your actual bust measurement which i personally found disturbing when i first started measuring garments flat. Not for every garment and every body type, but occassionally it is an anomaly that happens. Usually something with a tiny bit of stretch but not always. It blew my mind. And just remember as you go up two inches in the bust, unless you are buying something that was custom made for someone at one time, you also go up in the shoulders and the waist as far as the proportions of the garment. (not that you do, but it is like buying the next size up like a regular store. Lets pretend right now we are talking about two identical garments, just one measures 2" bigger in the bust or hip) I read once that you should leave 4" for movement in a shirtwaist dress. Some folks find that if they have a small frame/small shoulders/large bust they can wear something closer to their actual bust measurement versus someone who has an average to large frame/average shoulders/smaller bust. Just because more of the sum of the measurement is your torso, which needs more movement room than someone with the same bust measure and a smaller torso. But the *style* of garment is so crucial. It's so much to do with learning through experience what shapes work with your body, rather than the measurements of any garment per se. Exactly! the flat measurements you need in two different garments may vary greatly. I still make mistakes, I have to say - but it's interesting making them! That is a very good point and one we will explore next!