How to Measure Your Waist for the Right Jean Size

Written by christina sloane
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How to Measure Your Waist for the Right Jean Size
Loosely measure your midsection before purchasing new jeans. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Today's clothing stores carry jeans in a wide variety of fits. Standard jean waistbands -- which flatter tall women -- hit at the waist, while low-rise jeans -- which flatter short torsos and flat stomachs -- hit at the hip. Understandably, these different fits frequently create confusion when measuring the waist and interpreting size charts. With the right measuring techniques, you can find your waist size and buy the perfect pair of jeans.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape

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  1. 1

    Stand in front of a full-length mirror with no shirt on, or with your shirt lifted to reveal your waist. Bend to one side. You will see a crease form in your side as you bend.

  2. 2

    Stand up straight and wrap measuring tape around your bare waist where you noticed the crease. Wrap the tape loosely to ensure a comfortable fit. This is your waist measurement for standard jeans.

  3. 3

    Measure around your bare skin 1 ½ inches lower than your waist to determine your low waist measurement. This measurement is useful when buying low-rise jeans.

  4. 4

    Look up your measurements in a sizing chart to determine your jean size.

Tips and warnings

  • Measuring your hips -- the widest part around the top of your thighs -- is also useful in determining jean size.
  • Jean sizes fluctuate up to several inches depending on brand. For best results, consult the sizing chart for each particular company.
  • Jean sizes fluctuate from year to year -- typically, smaller sizes fit larger and larger measurements. Check sizing charts once a year or more for updates.

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