How to Measure Your Pant Size: Step-by-Step Guide

Your online shopping just got way easier.

<p>FG Trade/Getty Images</p>

FG Trade/Getty Images

One of the most satisfying things in fashion is slipping into a pair of pants that fit perfectly. There’s no uncomfortable pinching at the waistline, your curves are highlighted in all the right ways, and the length hits right where it’s supposed to. When  you know how to measure your pant size, you’ll be able to get this sort of fit every time you purchase a new pair. That means more confident shopping, fewer returns, and money saved in the long run.

“When your jeans fit well, you feel good in them, and that boosts the chances you'll mix and match them with different outfits,” adds Lexy Silverstein, a fashion expert specializing in sustainable shopping.

She says, “Instead of buying multiple pairs for different looks, one great pair can adapt to numerous styles, reducing the overall number of items you need. This approach is essential for shifting away from fast fashion and towards a more sustainable, environmentally friendly fashion industry.”

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How to Measure Your Pant Size: Step By Step

Learning how to measure your pant size is pretty simple. You only need a few items and about 10 minutes of your time.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

You’ll need the following items to measure for your pants:

  • Soft measuring tape

  • Paper/pen or your phone to write down measurements

Step 2: Measure Your Waist

“Grab a measuring tape and wrap it around your waist where you usually wear your pants—just above those hip bones,” says Silverstein. “Keep the tape snug but not squeezing you. This number is your golden ticket!”

Write down the measurement somewhere safe. Your notes app is a great place since you’ll have your phone with you most of the time. A piece of paper and pen works just fine, too.

Step 3: Measure Your Hips

Find the fullest part of your hips and wrap the measuring tape around. Make sure the tape runs straight (versus shifting up or down) and is taut. It shouldn’t squeeze you, but there shouldn’t be any gaps, either.

Pro Tip: “It’s a good idea to measure a couple of times to ensure accuracy,” Silverstein advises. Repeat the measurement for each one or two times so you’re extra confident on all the numbers!

Step 4: Measure Your Inseam (Leg Length)

Next, measure from the very top of one leg (just below your crotch) and straight down to the bottom of your ankle. Silverstein says this measurement may require a buddy. Alternatively, you can find a pair of pants that fit you well and measure the inseam on them.

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Step 5: Use These Measurements When Ordering

Keep your measurements handy, especially when shopping online. Compare your measurements to the sizing chart provided by the brand you're purchasing from. Some brands even allow you to input your numbers while shopping and will tell you which size pants to order.

Pro Tip: If you’re in-between sizes, Silverstein recommends sizing down for stretchy pants to “maintain their shape and fit over time.” If the material’s less forgiving, then size up so you’ll be more comfortable and have some flexibility with weight fluctuations. If necessary, you can also get the pants tailored.

Perfecting Your Fit: Tailoring & Tricks

Sometimes we luck out and pants fit perfectly without any need for adjustments. Other times, a little tweaking can take your pants from great to incredible.

“Tailoring is your friend,” Silverstein says. “Sizing up and having the pants altered to fit you perfectly can often lead to better results than simply settling for a smaller size that’s too tight. A good tailor can work wonders, adjusting the waist, hips, or length to suit your body perfectly.”

She adds that tailoring also comes in clutch when you’re thrifting and find an incredible pair of pants that don’t fit quite right. You can also rely on some quick fixes to get a better fit, like wearing a belt, adding some strategic darts or paneling, or stretching out too-small pants by wearing them damp until they dry.

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