This article is for information only and doesn't call for any action.
Buying the right size pair of jeans can be much easier said than done, especially since not all brands size their jeans identically. However, learning how to size a pair of jeans and compare the information you get to your own measurements can allow you to make a smart choice and wind up in comfortable, great-looking jeans. Best of all, most of these sizing techniques work for both women and men.
Measuring a Pair of Jeans
1. Grab a pair of jeans and lay them on a flat work space.
Most of the measurements you need to make to size a pair of jeans are easiest if you lay them down flat. You can also take all of the measurements in this section holding the jeans vertically, but it can be a little awkward to hold and measure them at the same time unless you have a friend to help. For the most accurate results, smooth out any folds and allow the jeans to settle before measuring. Your jeans should be fully zipped up and buttoned before beginning.
2. Measure straight across the top for the waist size.
Pull the top corners of your jeans so that the waistline is tight and flat against itself. For most cuts, the button and zipper should not hang below the rear waistline (however, on some tapered cuts, this willbe the case.) Stretch a tape measure from the left side of the waist material to the right. Double this number to get your waist size.
- If your waistband is made from elastic material, be careful not to stretch it as you measure or you will inflate the waist measurement.
- Make a note of whether the jeans are labeled as "high-wasted" or "low rise." If the jeans are intended to sit somewhere besides your natural waist, when you measure yourself, be sure to shift your tape measure up or down by a few inches to compensate.
3. Measure the thighs two inches below the crotch seam.
From the crotch seam (the point below the zipper or button where the two legs meet), move about two inches (5 centimeters) down one of the legs. Measure horizontally across the leg. Double this number to get your thigh measurement.
4. Measure the front rise from the crotch to the waist.
Once again, pull the corners of the waistband so that it is tight and flat against itself just like you did when you took the waist measurement. Find the crotch seam and stretch a tape measure from here up to the waistline, passing over the button and zipper. This is your front rise measurement. A less important measurement, the back rise, is measured from the crotch seam back and over the rear of the jeans to the top of the rear waist band. The rear rise will always be bigger than the front rise (especially on women's jeans to accommodate a curvier figure.)
Measuring Yourself for Jeans
1. Measure around your waist where your pants normally sit. Finding your own measurements to compare to your jean measurements is basically a matter of putting the measuring tape in the places on your body that correspond to the different jean measurements. For example, to get your waist measurement, you'll want to wrap the tape around your torso about where your pants would normally sit. Find the spot where the tape touches itself — this is your waist measurement.
- This measurement can be tricky if you're shopping for jeans with a non-standard waist measurement (like low-rise jeans, high-waisted jeans, etc.) You may need to move the tape measure an inch or two up or down to compensate. To find your natural waist, bend to one side and find the spot where your body creases. Measure from this spot around the torso, passing through the belly button.
- To get the most accurate results, all measurements in this section should be taken in your underwear, a pair of short shorts, tights, or something similarly form-fitting.
2 . Measure your thighs around their thickest point.
Find the fullest part of your thigh — on most people, this should be near your crotch. Take a tape measure and wrap it around this point of the thigh. This is your thigh measurement.
Try not to pull your measuring tape too tight or you can give yourself an inaccurate thigh measurement and wind up in an uncomfortable pair of jeans. The tape should be snug, but you should still be able to slip one finger underneath.
3. Measure your inseam from your crotch to your ankle.
Measuring your inseam by yourself can be a little tricky, so if you have a friend you trust well enough to help you may want to use him or her. Stand up straight with your legs shoulder-width apart. Stretch the tape measure from an inch or two below your crotch all the way down the inside of your leg to the middle of your ankle. Keep your leg straight and keep the tape tight against the inside of your leg. This is your inseam measurement.
For the best results, don't bend over to read the measurement, as this can subtly change the length of your leg. Instead, use a mirror or have a friend take the reading for you.
If you're struggling to hold the measuring tape in place, try using adhesive tape to secure one end to your ankle while you hold the other at your crotch.
4. Take the rest of your measurements if desired.
As noted above, the rest of the measurements in this section will usually be enough to get you a good-fitting pair of jeans. However, for extra accuracy, you may want to take the measurements below as well — it's up to you and the person you're buying jeans from!
- Knee: Wrap the tape measure around your knee at its widest point. Generally, this is near the top of the knee.
- Seat: Wrap the tape measure all the way around your pelvis and bottom at their widest point. This is usually midway between your waist and the start of your thighs, but this can differ, especially on women.
- Hem line: Wrap the tape around your ankle at its widest point.