Find Your Fit: Taking Your Measurements

If you've been clothing shopping pretty much anywhere recently, you've noticed that there seems to be a bit of "flexibility" when it comes to clothing sizes. At one store you're one size and at another store a completely different size.

So, how exactly do you know what size you really are?

One of the best ways to find the very best fit for you is to work with your actual measurements.

Many clothing stores (especially online or custom-ordered) provide a measurement chart to help you find the size meant best for you. Finding your measurements for your body is easy!

Let’s take a look at some different areas you’ll want to measure, as well as the best way to take those measurements.

First thing's first: let's talk about how actually to take your measurements.

  1. Use a cloth measuring tape, not a metal one. You need to be able to wrap different parts of your body quickly to get measurements; apparently, you're not going to be able to do that with a stiff metal ruler! 
  2. Make sure when you’re taking your measurements, you’re also doing so with the right amount of tension. In other words, don’t cut off inches by pulling the tape too tight, and don’t give extra inches by holding it too loose. The tape should sit gently against your skin.
  3. Speaking of "against your skin," avoid taking measurements while you're wearing clothes. The extra fabric can give you inaccurate numbers and result in you getting a new outfit that doesn't fit you perfectly. 
  4. Do yourself a favor and jot down those measurements once you get them. Maybe keep a notepad on your cell phone, or in your planner. It can be a lot of numbers to remember, and you don’t want to have to keep redoing it!

So now you know how to take measurements – now we figure out what we need to measure. Here are the parts of your body you’ll want to measure to get that perfect fit.

  • The chest should be measured at the fullest part of the bust, going under both armpits and over both shoulder blades.
  • Your waist should be measured right above your belly button (right below your rib cage) at your actual waist. If you commonly wear your pants a little lower, take that measurement too.
  • Measure your hips around the largest part of your bum. You may need to be in front of a mirror to take this measurement, so you're sure the tape is level. 
  • The inseam is measured as the length from the uppermost part of the thigh to the bottom of the ankle. If you have someone helping you, they can measure on your body. If you’re doing this on your own, measure your favorite-fitting pair of pants you already own!
  • Measuring the thigh isn’t as standard, but it's an excellent measurement to have as well to ensure the perfect fit on your pants. Wrap the tape around the fullest part of the thigh for the best measurement. 
  • Measuring your upper arm can also be a useful measurement to have. Go around the fullest part for fit with sleeve width, and go from the shoulder to the elbow to get an idea about fit with sleeve length. 

Having these measurements handy can help you keep track of any changes that may have taken place in your body over time. They'll also really help when ordering custom fitting clothing or shopping online. If you're on a new fitness or wellness plan, you may want to redo these measurements every six months or so to ensure your numbers are still up to date.