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I am a 5 foot tall, 128 pound woman living in PA. My Measurements: across shoulders 15 inches, shoulder to cuff 20 inches, chest 38 inches, waist 31 inches.
It seems like the adult ventilated bee jackets in small will drown me (across shoulders 22 inches, shoulder to cuff 24.5, chest 50, and waist 32). The kid jacket (not ventilated) seems to be closer (across shoulders 18, shoulder to cuff 25, chest 42, waist 26-40).
Now there is another company with an extra small adult jacket that IS ventilated, but they have no dimensions available (I even called).
Which would you buy if you were me:
A. Ventilated adult small w/ dimensions above?
B. Non ventilated kid one w/ dimensions above?
C. Gamble on the adult ventilated extra small
with no dimensions at all?

Any help is appreciated.
 

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Welcome to Beesource JenGavin. I would recommend that you get a ventilated jacket. The difference in the adult small and your measurements seem to be about right to me. You really do not want this type of clothing to be tight fitting. The only times that I have been stung through a bee suit was when the fabric on a non ventilated suit was sweat soaked to my skin.
 

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I have both ventilated and non-ventilated jackets. If I was to have only one, I would buy a non-ventilated one that was slightly large in the across shoulder distance and the body length.

I am a small (but not as petite as you) woman. The shape of the jackets is very basic and boxy, unlike a blouse, so the across shoulder measurements are also partly the upper sleeve, not the distance from shoulder tip to shoulder tip. You want the jacket to go down well below your waist as long as it doesn't hang down below your butt. Usually there is an elastic band on the bottom that will hold the jacket around your hips. If there is excess fabric in the vertical dimension it will protect your lower back when you bend over.

My reason for suggesting a non-ventilated jacket - if it is to be your only one - is that there often times when it's hot and humid and still. I live in north of Albany NY, and that happens here. In these conditions the ventilated jackets don't "work" as well since they rely on evaporative cooling through the mesh to manage the additional heat burden of being inside an otherwise non-breathable plastic, multi-layered, fabric. When conditions are right for them (hot and breezy) the ventilated fabric is fantastic. I often wear, my ventilated jacket with nothing on underneath it except a thin cotton cami.

Non-ventilated fabric is fine ALL the time, as long as it is breathable, either all cotton or a high-cotton blend. This type of fabric is more forgiving of hard use, more repairable (if you can sew) and withstands frequent washing. I am big on jacket-washing, for bee-reasons (you will remove alarm pheromones that prompt more stinging), but mostly for my own aesthetic senses. Dirty, sweat-encrusted gear is not my idea of a great start for the day in my bee yard. In summer, that can mean machine-washing my jackets as often as after every use if it's hot and I have had worked really hard.

There are also hybrid jackets with ventilated area along the sides and panels running down the arms. I have never used one, but that seems like a good compromise. The jacket also doesn't have to be white - recently I have been using my Lyson jackets which are inexpensive-ish and tan-colored and a lighter-weight cotton-blend fabric.

My favorite jackets are well-worn, all-cotton ones, that are mostly not available any more. Over time they acquire a softness and breathability that is unsurpassed. If you go this route buy a little big to account for shrinkage.

Any good supplier will allow you to return an unworn jacket if it doesn't fit (unless there is some kind of close-out sale going on).

I am 5'3 and about 145 lbs and I use medium jackets, though I have one small I bought second hand that fits OK. And I often grab my husband's large-sized jackets if those are the cleanest ones at the moment.

A good thing to look for is also about the veils. IMO, you must get one where the veil/hat zips completely off as that portion takes gentler laundering than the jacket itself. A plus for me, if I was starting out, would be the ability to change out the veil style from round to English (fencing), but there only a few lines where you can do that. I started with round veils, and acquired some second-hand jackets with English style veils that I find to be a bit cooler (no sweaty hat band) which I liked better in very hot conditions, and during the winter when I want to wear a woolen watch cap under it to keep my head warm. None of mine have interchangeable-style veils, alas.

If you're just starting out, I would buy a decent, but not the most super expensive, style to see if you like beekeeping. And accept that in the long run it will probably not be your only jacket, so don't stress about having to make a permanent choice. Bee jackets are the one item that you can resell pretty readily, because once they are laundered they carry no risk of passing bee-diseases on. Craig's list and your club are places to buy and sell jackets.

Welcome to beekeeping - I hope your bees give you as much pleasure as mine have given me!

Nancy
 

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Any chance there is a bee supply place near you? If you go in and ask they may let you try on multiple sizes and see what fits right. It they are not willing to do this it may not be somewhere that you do not want to give your business too anyways.

One of the supply places around here (that I dont care as much for) sells tyvex jackets/suits and separate veils for beekeeping. I am not a fan of this idea and I think it would be miserable in the summer since tyvex does not breath at all. Tyvex will stop the bees from stinging you, but would be hot and sticky.
 

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Why not just get a vail and use a seperate jacket that you know fits. There are many different vail configurations to choose from and you can vary your garments to suit the weather.
 

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Ultra Breeze. Call them, tell them your size and let them recommend what you should get. I’ve had several other brands and now wished I would’ve save my money and went Ultra Breeze first. Quality is hard to beat. I go up one size from my regular shirt size. I believe it’s better to be to big than to small.
 

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I totally disagree with Nancy,

Get the ventilated suit for the hot days, but then again I am a rather hefty person and sweat easily. When I wear a solid one, it quickly gets soaked. I have a bunch of the Humble Bee suits, would be willing to open up an XXS or XS and look at the dimensions tonight if you haven't already ordered one.
 
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