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How to Measure for Clothing

How to Measure for Clothing

While most people looking for fresh new garments still prefer traditional retail stores, data shows that some 30% are used to buying their clothes online. Hassle-free shopping at the comfort of your own home, saved time, and more competitive pricing are just a couple of reasons why individuals switch to online businesses.

However, shopping online comes with its own drawbacks, and when it comes to clothing, it’s usually the same for everyone – which size is right for me? The days when a Medium size in one store was the same Medium size in another are long gone, and if you look at your closet you probably have items all across the clothing size spectrum.

That’s why it’s more important now than ever to know your body measurements, and we are here to give you some guidance.

General rules of thumb

Although many people think that taking accurate body measurements yourself is super hard, it’s really not – all you have to do is know exactly where to place the tape measure and the rest will follow. Here are some easy-to-follow instructions for measuring your body:

  • Use a cloth tape measure for maximum accuracy.
  • Make sure the tape is level and neither too tight nor too loose.
  • Measure on bare skin, not over clothes.

How to measure for women's clothing

When measuring yourself for a piece of women’s clothing, the most important measurements to take are bust, waist, and hip circumference, as well as the inseam length for pants.

Bust: Place one end of the tape measure at the fullest part of your bust and wrap it around going under your armpits and shoulder blades back to the front. Keep the tape snug but not too tight. Pro tip: wear a non-padded bra to get the most accurate measurements.

Waist: Wrap the tape measure around your natural waistline, which is located about 2 inches (5 cm) above your belly button. To check, bend to one side – the crease that forms is your natural waistline. Don’t suck in your stomach as this will give you inaccurate results.

Hip: Stand straight with your feet together and measure around the fullest part of your hips and buttocks, about 8 inches (20 cm) below your waist. Use a mirror to make sure the tape is as level as possible. You can also take measurements of your thigh by locating the fullest part of your thigh and wrapping the tape measure around from front to back.

Inseam: Inseam is the distance from the uppermost inner part of your thigh to the bottom of your ankle. You can cheat by measuring the distance from the crotch to the hem of a favorite and best-fitting pair of pants you already own.

How to measure for men's clothing

When measuring yourself for a piece of men’s clothing, the most important measurements to take are chest, waist, hip circumference, as well as neck size, arm’s length, and potentially shoulder width.

Neck: To measure your neck, place the tape at the base where your neck connects to your shoulders. This should be just below your Adam’s apple. Assume a relaxed position and look forward. Put one finger between the tape and your body to ensure the collar isn’t too snug.

Chest: Wrap the tape measure beneath your armpits and around the widest part of your chest and shoulder blades. If someone is helping you, relax both of your arms down – this will help you to keep the chest in a natural state.


Waist: Locate your natural waistline by bending towards one side and finding the crease. Then, place the tape measure around your waist making sure it’s not too loose or too snug. Also, make sure that it wraps evenly around your waist. For a standard fit, put one finger between the tape and your body when you measure.

Hip and inseam: Measuring the hip and inseam for men’s pants or shorts is the same as for women. For hip, wrap around the fullest part of your hips and buttocks. For the inseam, run the tape down from your groin to your lower ankle.


Shoulder width: This one is best taken with a partner or you can take a favorite shirt that fits nicely and measure it. Measure from the back, not the front. Place one end of the tape measure at the point where the horizontal part of the shoulder and the vertical part of the arm meet. Then run the tape across your back mimicking the natural curve of your shoulders.

Sleeve length: Again, you might want to ask a friend to help you with this. Measurements should be taken from the back by placing one end of the tape at the middle of your neck and running it down your shoulder all the way to the “meaty” part of your palm, i.e. the thenar. This will ensure you have freedom of movement when you bend your arms.

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