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How Do You Measure Up?

How Do You Measure Up?

When shopping for clothing online, you can’t assume that you know what size you take. Nowadays, there’s so much inconsistency in sizing from one brand to another – sometimes, there are even sizing discrepancies within the same brand!

Clothes that fit poorly are not flattering, and they certainly do not help you look or feel good about yourself. Clothing that fits well significantly boosts your confidence and overall mood. Knowing your precise body measurements is essential to looking and feeling your best every day.  

The only way to confidently shop online is to know your measurements - in both inches and centimetres - and then consult the manufacturer’s size chart to find the size that most accurately corresponds to your own measurements.

If you order the wrong size, you'll have to go through the hassle of returning the item. In many cases, online return policies are quite restrictive.

Keep reading to find out how to find your measurements before you start shopping from an online clothing store!

What You Need

Before you begin measuring, make sure you have everything you need to make this process easier. Gather the following before you start:

  • Flexible measuring tape: This type of measure will work much better than a carpenter’s measuring tape, as it will easily wrap around your body! You may have one in a sewing kit.
  • Paper + pen or your phone: You'll need a way to jot down your measurements, including the date! You may need to repeat this process in the future if your weight fluctuates.
  • A friend to help you, if possible: A second person can make this process easier and your measurements potentially more accurate.
  • A mirror: Particularly if you are alone, a mirror can help you maintain good posture, and will act as a guide to ensure you are measuring the correct areas of your body, which will improve accuracy.
  • Your typical underthings: If you normally wear a padded bra, this will add some bulk to your bust, which you’ll want to account for in your bust measurement.

Masterful Measuring!

Taking body measurements is a simple process with a big payoff. Keep the following in mind as you undertake this process!  

  • Aim for accuracy: the more accurate your measurements are, the more likely you are to be pleased when the items you ordered arrive and fit you well. If your body weight fluctuates, take the time to re-measure key areas of your body before you order clothing online.
  • Measure from the zero of the tape: Some tape measures have a gap between the start of the tool and the zero line. Ensure you match up the zero line with the numbers on your tape measure for an accurate reading.
  • When in doubt, size up: If your measurements fall in the middle of a manufacturer’s sizing guidelines, opt for the larger size. It's much easier to make a baggier item more fitted than it is to enlarge a piece that is too tight, without also altering the style of the piece. Go the other way.

Find Your Perfect Fit

Most online clothing websites provide size charts within their product listings. This is where you'll compare your measurements to find your ideal corresponding size. In general, here's how you should take body measurements.


Bust measurements are useful for buying bras, dresses and tops. Measure your bust at the fullest part, including your bra. This is a useful measurement to have on hand, and you can get it by following these steps:

  1. Hold the beginning of the tape and bring the rest behind your back.
  2. Bring the end of the tape toward your front.
  3. Situate the tape around the fullest point of your bust.
  4. Make sure the tape is parallel to the floor, checking the back in the mirror.
  5. Pull the tape so it fits snug but not too tight.


Your waist is measured at the narrowest part of your torso, most likely somewhere at or above your belly button. This measurement is most important when buying bottoms and dresses.

  1. Place the zero end of your measuring tape at the front of your body.
  2. Wrap the measuring tape around your back and bring it back to the front.
  3. Ensure the measuring tape isn't twisted and that it's parallel to the floor, not tilting around you.
  4. Pull the tape measure so it's taut, but still comfortable.


Your hip measurement is relevant when you are shopping for dresses, skirts and bottoms. Measure at the widest point between your waist and your thighs. Stand straight with your legs together.

  1. Place the beginning of the tape measure at the front of your hips.
  2. Wrap the tape measure around your backside and bring the other end to the front.
  3. Make sure the tape isn't twisted and that it's parallel with the floor.
  4. Adjust the tape so it's taut but not uncomfortably tight.


The inseam is the length between the top of your inner thigh and below your ankle. Knowing your inseam is helpful particularly when buying jeans and dressier pants.

If you plan to wear heels with the pants, wear them as you measure. If you prefer flats or just a slight heel, go barefoot for the process.

  1. Roll up the tape measure, making sure the beginning is on the outside of the roll.
  2. Hold the start of the tape measure as high up on your inner thigh as you can.
  3. Let the tape measure unroll to the floor as you hold the zero end.
  4. Keep the beginning of the tape measure at the start of your thigh and bend over at your hips.
  5. Read the number that sits just below your ankle or at the middle of your shoe's heel.

Now that you know precisely how you measure up, the fun part can begin. Happy online shopping!

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