How to measure the waist hips and thighs

Written by barbara stefano
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How to measure the waist hips and thighs
A smaller waist signals fitness progress, even when the scale doesn't budge. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Accurate body measurements are a must if you're planning to order clothing you're unable to try on personally before purchasing. These measurements help you choose the correct size for your dimensions. Tracking waist, hips and thigh measurements is especially important for individuals trying to monitor fitness: When factors such as water retention or increased muscle mass keep the number on the bathroom scale from budging, changes in body measurements are a better way to assess progress.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Thin string
  • Measuring tape
  • Full-length mirror

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  1. 1

    Tie a long, thin string around your waist snugly but not tightly to find your natural waistline. Bend side to side so the string rolls slightly up or down; the string will gravitate to your natural waistline, the narrowest point of the torso (Reference 1). The natural waistline sits slightly above the belly button and below the ribcage (Reference 2). Keep the string in place during measuring, if you prefer.

  2. 2

    Wrap a tape measure around your waist at the natural waistline, being careful not to pull the tape too tightly. Keep the tape level all the way around and breathe normally. Take note of your natural waist measurement.

  3. 3

    Measure your hips at the broadest point of the hips and buttocks. Place the beginning of the measuring tape on one hip, over the buttocks and around the opposite hip and lower belly, and bring the tape around to the starting point (Reference 2). Keep the tape measure level all the way around; measure in front of a mirror, if necessary, to ensure a level tape measure.

  4. 4

    Measure your thigh at the fullest point in a similar fashion as the hip measurement. Keep the tape measure level all the way around.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not suck in when taking a waist measurement. Sucking in the gut will yield an inaccurate measurement, which could result in a poor fit if you're measuring for clothing.

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