How To Measure Jeans

If you learn how to measure jeans correctly, you will always be able to find a pair that fits you perfectly. Measure jeans that fit you well and you will have a guide for any other pair you are considering purchasing—just compare the measurements to see if the new jeans will fit.

To measure jeans, you will need:

  • pair of jeans that fit.
  • tape measure
  • pen and paper to record the measurements

How to Measure Jeans:

  1. Start with jeans that fit you and are clean and dry. Lay the jeans out on a flat surface like a dining room table or the floor.
  2. Stretch the tape measure from one side of the waistband to the other. Measure along the back of the jeans, not the front. The front may dip down a bit; most men's jeans have a "dip" in the front of about an inch, women's can have anywhere from one to eight inches.
  3. Record this measurement on a piece of paper.
  4. Multiply the waist measurement by two to get the actual width of the waist. So, if the back of your waistband measured eighteen inches, then your total waist measurement is 36 inches. This may be a different figure from your jeans size. Record this measurement.
  5. Measure the rise measurement. The rise is the distance from the crotch seam (where the leg seams intersect with the fly seams) to waistband. Use the tape measure and record both the distance from the crotch seam to the top of the waistband at the front and at the back. Some jeans have a bigger rise size than others. If you have ever tried on a pair of jeans that was your size, but didn't fit right, it is likely that the rise measurement is to blame.
  6. Measure the inseam. The inseam runs from the crotch seam to the hem of the jeans. This measurement will likely be between 28 inches and 36 inches, unless you are very tall or very short. Record this measurement.

Keep these measurements handy the next time you order a pair of jeans online or try on a pair at a resale or vintage shop. Don't rely on the label—accurate measurements are the best way to ensure a good fit. You can also use the measurements the next time you need to buy dress pants—the waist and inseam will give you a good starting point.

Give yourself about ten minutes to measure jeans accurately. Put the measurements someplace you won't lose them, and you'll be ready the next time you shop.

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