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How to Measure Yourself: Hips, Bust, Waist, And Everything Else in Between

By Size Wise / In Discover Size Wise, Fashion Tips / On 27 Aug 2021

You want to buy a new outfit, but don’t know what size to buy. You know your top and bottom measurements, but what about your hips and bust? With this guide, you will learn how to measure yourself, from head to toe, for clothing, so you won’t have to guess your size. We will show you the proper way to measure your body for clothing.

In an ideal world, you would have a tailor who could determine the correct size of your dress based on measurements of your bust, waist, and hips. But in reality – where clothing sizes don’t always match up with measurements – shopping can be confusing. This guide will walk you through how to measure yourself for the perfect fit.

Fit vs. Size

There are two parts to sizing: the size and the fit. Size refers to your body measurements in inches or centimeters. Fit refers to how a garment hangs on you; for example, if a shirt fits snugly around your stomach while being loose around your chest, then that might be described as having an odd fit.

How can you make sure my clothes are sized correctly? If you know your own size (say, US 12), it’s best to compare sizing charts from various brands before making any purchases online.

An outfit that fits well can help you look and feel your best. Vanity sizing, conversely, makes finding clothing that fits you properly difficult. Knowing how to measure your body allows you to find the perfect fit for your size and shape. You can identify clothing that fits you well by using a size chart and measuring your body accurately.

How Do You Measure Yourself?

When buying clothing from a catalog or online for the first time, it is always recommended that you measure yourself first.

3 steps to find your perfect fit

Learn More: Find Your Perfect Fit With 3 Easy Steps

We recommend that you take your measurements and write them down on a piece of paper for safekeeping to ensure you get the right size or create a Size Profile. During this process, wear as little clothing as possible. Let’s grab a tape measure and get started.

Here Are Some Tips Before You Measure

You should keep a few things in mind when taking your body measurements.

  1. When measuring, form-fitting clothing is recommended; baggy clothing might affect the measurement.
  2. Make sure you have someone nearby to help you in hard-to-reach places.
  3. Maintain a relaxed posture while keeping your feet together and breathing normally.
  4. You should use a flexible measuring tape.
  5. To ensure maximum accuracy, it is best to take measurements twice.

Take measurements over lightweight clothing that fits well. Don’t suck in or puff out your stomach while measuring. Hold the tape measure snug, but not so tightly that it digs into your skin. 

How to Measure Your Height?

When you know all your measurements, shopping for clothes becomes much easier. You can get a better sense of whether or not something will fit by taking a tape measure and adding your height to the equation. Petite women often have difficulty finding the right length dresses, while tall individuals may have their pants tailored to stay in proportion.

A book, a pencil, a tape measure, and a friend are needed.

  1. Select a level area with a flat wall and unobstructed ground.
  2. Remove all headgear.
  3. Lean against the wall with your heels, back, and head.
  4. You should place a book or other flat, sturdy object on top of your head. (Ask for help here)
  5. Hold it at a right angle to the wall.
  6. Make a mark where your head meets the flat object.
  7. Use a tape measure to measure the distance between the wall mark and the floor.
  8. Record the measurement.

How To Measure Your Hips?

When measuring your hips for clothing, you should consider a number of factors. The first step is finding a good fit. The garment should remain close to your body without bunching, sagging, or pulling in any one particular spot. 

Another reason to measure your hips is to account for adjustable straps, e.g. zippers or ties to make it smaller or larger as needed. Last but not least, measuring the hip-line gives the necessary dimensions when buying pants since it encompasses all other dimensions like the rise and the thigh circumference.

The measurements can be taken at home with an inexpensive cloth tape that varies in length depending on the kind you buy.

For accurate hip measurements, placement is crucial. Here are some ways to tell them apart.

High hips – This really depends on your body type. It’s the circumference of your hips, approximately 7 inches below your natural waistline.

Low Hips - Measure around your hips, between your iliac crest and groin, and around the largest part of your buttocks.

  1. Measure both areas with your tape measure. Maintain a parallel line with the ground.
  2. Mark the intersection.
  3. Document the results.

How To Measure Your Bust?

It’s more than just picking the first thing that fits — it’s about ensuring maximum comfort and support. If you don’t have the right size bra, then not only are you forced to wear bras that will not fit your shape. They may also dig in or tear under pressure if you pick one that is too small.

Maidenform

Steps to follow:

  1. Measure your bust around the fullest part of your chest with your arms at your sides.
  2. Stand straight with your feet together.
  3. Wrap the tape measure around the desired area under the armpits.
  4. Make sure it’s snug, but not too tight.
  5. Write down your size.

Measuring the underbust is similar to measuring the chest. Place the tape measure around your rib cage just below your breasts. Wrap it around your back, then around your front.

Being aware that breast size changes throughout the month is helpful when measuring your bust. Experts suggest you measure yourself during the last week or two of her menstrual cycle, as this will give you more accurate sizing results. Women’s breasts swell before menstruation and then shrink back when estrogen levels decrease near the end of menstruation.

A Few More Tips On Measuring Your Bust

You may also measure slightly larger or smaller at different points in your menstrual cycle, depending on hormone levels. If possible, measure yourself over a few days rather than all on one day, so you can find out what size works best with your monthly fluctuations.

Another thing to keep in mind while measuring your bust is that many bra fitting resources measure you in inches when your actual cup size is a number like D or G. This can cause confusion, especially if you measure in centimeters like most people. To make sure these measurements are accurate, measure in centimeters instead of inches and use our Size Calculator to determine US and UK sizes.

Keep in mind that many bra manufacturers measure their bras differently, so while you measure 30 inches or 76.2 centimeters around your bust, a 34B in one brand may measure 31 inches and another brand 32 inches. Most women wear the wrong bra size because of these inconsistencies; try our Size Calculator to find an accurate fit.

There are times when measuring your bust is not enough. If you don’t measure certain parts of your body, like your back width and petite frame size, you may wear the right bra size and still have ill-fitting issues.

There are other ways to measure your bust and ensure you get the right size bra. Try taking a bra size quiz or visiting a stylist.

How To Measure Your Waist?

The best way for you to determine whether a particular item of clothing will fit you is to measure your waist. The size of your waist determines where the clothes will sit on your body, which affects how they look on you.

It’s important because brands can vary widely in sizing. That means that just because something has a set measurement does not mean it will fit well. Sizes vary between popular brands by anywhere from 10 to 30 pounds. As a result, measuring is imperative to getting great-fitting clothes that flatter your figure, are comfortable to wear all day long, and have better longevity in terms of having the ability to maintain their shape

Here are a few tips for measuring your waist.

  1. Remove your shirt. (if possible)
  2. Keep your back straight as you bend to the left or right.
  3. Feel the area between your hips and ribs.
  4. Begin your measurement there.
  5. Then measure parallel to the ground the length of your back and front.
  6. Take note of your size.

How To Measure Your Head?

Approximately one inch above your eyebrows and ears, where a hat would sit, measure the circumference of your head. Use a piece of string or ribbon instead of a tape measure if you don’t have one. You can use that measurement to choose your hat size from any size chart.

When buying a hat in person, try it on before buying and use that measurement. Before ordering online, measure your head or have someone help you measure it, then compare it to the brand chart.

Follow these four steps to correctly measure your head.

  1. Measure with a flexible measuring tape.
  2. Wrap it around the part of your head that is the widest. Take your time.
  3. Wrap it around your ears and eyebrows.
  4. Measure the loop and save it.

Take care not to tighten it too much.

How To Measure Your Neck?

Knowing your neck size is important for clothing since anything with a button-up collar must fit well without constricting it. 

If you’re between sizes, we recommend picking the larger size so the buttons at the top of the shirt won’t dig into your skin when they close. You can also buy clothing with a higher buttonhole if you need more room – otherwise, it may feel tight or uncomfortable around the neckline. Last but not least, you can always get tailored clothes made only where they are needed! Be patient and find what works for you.

For accurate measurements, follow these steps.

  1. Measure the circumference of your neck with a tape measure. (Where your collar will be)
  2. Keep your head upright and relaxed.

You can tell whether the neck of the shirt fits properly by how tight or loose the tape measure feels.

Dress shirts should be selected according to their arm length and neck size.

How To Measure Your Shoulders?

The measurement of the shoulder is used to determine height and sleeve length. Those with the same height but different shoulder measurements might have a hard time finding clothing that fits well in both areas. 

The measurement of the shoulder also determines how a shirt will hang on your body — if your body is not proportionately built or your ratios are not the same, this may influence how you decide to wear your clothes based on where it hangs on your body. 

Lastly, knowing your shoulder measurement for clothing can help you find outfits that fit well together. When you know what size you need, you can identify clothes that will fit well, look flattering, and provide enough coverage everywhere else while still feeling comfortable!

This measurement is most commonly used for dress shirts, jackets, and tops.

Wearing a shirt:

  1. Wear a shirt that fits well. 
  2. Stand tall and relax your shoulders. Let your arms hang naturally.
  3. Find the shoulder seams on your shirt. The top of your shoulders is where your arms meet.
  4. Measure your shoulder curve from the left seam to the right seam. (You’ll need help with this)
  5. Take notes.
acromion bone measurement

Without a shirt:

  1. Find your acromion bones. They are located just above your shoulders.
  2. Relax your shoulders and stand tall. Let your arms hang freely.
  3. Measure the distance from the left acromion bone to the right acromion bone on your shoulder. (You will need assistance)
  4. Write down your measurements.

If you cannot locate assistance, measure the width of a shirt that fits.

How To Measure Your Arm Length?

We all have different proportions, some short, others tall. Clothing will look better if it can be tailored to your body’s needs and fit your shape, rather than hanging on you like a bag of potatoes!


Understanding your arm length is the key to figuring out which styles you can wear. Each arm length requires a different styling technique, and some length combinations simply don’t work. Short arms on a tall person often appear silly in cap sleeves or bell sleeves because the arms appear disproportionately dangly.

Luckily, finding your arm length is easy. 

Arm length and sleeve length are different. As a general rule, sleeves are measured from the center of the back to the end of the elbow, then down to just beyond the wrist bone. The arm length begins at the point where your shoulder meets your arm.

  1. Your arms should be relaxed as you stand tall.
  2. Put your hands on your hips and bend your elbows 90 degrees.
  3. Take a tape measure and measure the distance between your elbow and acromion bone.
  4. Measure down below your wristbone.

How To Measure Your Inseam Length

For trousers, certain types of skirts, and dresses, you should measure your inseam.

Many articles of clothing rely on the length of this measurement. Depending on your height and personal taste, and the occasion, you will need to confirm the dress’ hemline measurement before making a final decision.

Choosing trousers, make sure they are comfortable and the right length.

With Help:

  1. Remove your shoes; the extra height can affect your measurements.
  2. Keep your feet slightly forward while standing up straight.
  3. Measure where your thigh meets your groin.
  4. Keep the tape measure close to your skin. (without bending your knees).
  5. As a rule, the hemline should end at your ankle bone or just below it.
  6. Take note.

No Help:

  1. Lay flat a pair of pants you like that fit well.
  2. Measure from the bottom of the pants all the way up to the crotch.
  3. Record the results.

If you’re looking for well-fitting pants, this number is crucial.

Why Are Body Measurements So Important?

Your body measurements provide a fairly reliable way of determining what size is right for you. When shopping online, these numbers will help you determine how different brands of clothes will fit; brands provide size charts, which are more important than letter sizes when choosing something that needs to fit your body type.

Read reviews of other people who ordered from the same manufacturer or style to get an idea of how it might look on you. 

If you feel constrained or uncomfortable in your bras, underwear, or swimwear, always go up one size and down several cup sizes if you need more support.

Female getting measured

The measurements of a person can reveal a great deal about their body and give stylists an idea of where to focus their attention. If someone is thin around the hips but broad around the shoulders, it will be helpful for a professional clothing consultant to take these measurements into consideration when helping the client find flattering clothes.

How Do You Read A Size Chart?

Using the size chart, you can find out what size you are in each brand. You should try on the item before purchasing it since it varies from person to person and from body type to body type.

bebe size chart - correct size, vanity size

Sizing information can differ only by one or two centimeters, depending on how tight or loose the design fits. Before purchasing this item online, make sure that all your measurements match what’s stated on the order.

Here Are Some Tips To Keep In Mind

If you have a tailor or seamstress nearby, they can always take your measurements. You can also find a department store with a stylist and have them do it while you shop.

It’s easier than you might think to do DIY measurements. If you don’t have a measuring tape, you can always use a pencil and a string. Know where the measurements are taken from and how to record them properly. It’s much easier than you think. The tape should not be too tight or too loose but should be comfortable for you so that all of your measurements are accurate.

If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask a friend, family member, or even a stranger! You’re putting together something special for yourself, so it’s okay if people learn about your project. You will look better when trying on clothes in the fitting room with the help of your friends and loved ones.

Use Tutorials For Better Results

Would you like to know how to measure accurately?

  • Size Wise has tutorials for both feminine and masculine physiques. 
  • Learn how to measure your body for clothing by watching the videos on the list that apply to you.
  • The next time you go shopping, you’ll have your results at your fingertips.

By creating an account with Size Wise, you can store your size profile information so you will always have it handy. You can also share your Lookbook with others who shop for you (for example, a partner or parent) since it contains all of your correct sizes.

It is also important to update your measurements periodically. Ideally, you should do this every few months, though more frequently if your body is constantly changing (such as during pregnancy or weight loss).

Measure Your Body & Buy Smart

Increasingly sophisticated and picky consumers expect retailers to meet their needs and expectations. There are many online clothing shops that provide size charts to help customers choose the right size. Some online stores and vendors will provide additional sizing information, so the next time you see one, be sure to read it carefully. 

Female waist getting measured

When you have a comprehensive list of measurements available, you’ll be able to determine which size is right for you. Even so, you should be aware of return policies and satisfaction guarantees just in case. Before buying from an unfamiliar website, look for customer testimonials or reviews. 

Shop Size Wise To Manage Your Size Profile And Avoid Returns

You can access all your measurements with just a click. Size Wise lets you find the latest trends based on your size. Fittings and returns are no longer a problem.

It’s free and easy to use:

  • Sign up and enter your measurements for waist, inseam, arm, hips, etc. You can access your size profile when you shop online or in-store.
  • With over 100 brands to choose from, you’ll find dozens of items in sizes that perfectly fit your measurements.
  • You can search according to brand, garment, color, and budget to find exactly what you’re looking for.
  • Using your digital Lookbook, you can save items you like, find color combinations, and create outfits while storing and sharing them.
  • When you’ve found the perfect item, check out via our affiliates, or keep your selections in your Lookbook until you’re ready to buy.

Get all the styles you want, in your size, without having to deal with returns. Size Wise is free, fun, and easy to use. There are no fees, commitments, or worries associated with our services. With us, you’ll never regret a purchase.

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:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
Speak to a style consultant today.
Speak to a style consultant today.
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
Speak to a style consultant today.
Speak to a style consultant today.
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
Speak to a style consultant today.
Speak to a style consultant today.
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
Speak to a style consultant today.
Speak to a style consultant today.
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
Speak to a style consultant today.
Speak to a style consultant today.
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
Speak to a style consultant today.
Speak to a style consultant today.
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
Speak to a style consultant today.
Speak to a style consultant today.
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
:grimacing: Need help with your personal style?
Speak to a style consultant today.
Speak to a style consultant today.
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