When it comes to shopping for pants online, it can be hard to find the perfect fit - and most store don't make it any easier! I truly think most stores offer up vague pant size guidelines and estimated item measurements just to confuse us! It's silly when they suggest that an item "runs big" or "runs small". "Big" / "Small" compared to what? The reference is subjective and just plain confusing when you consider that fact that sizes vary widely between style and designer; and in addition, everyone has a different body shape and fit preference. So what's a girl to do when she's on the hunt for that perfect fitting pair of pants? The answer lies in the following equation:
Get your flashcards ready because before you can learn how to measure women's pants and find the perfect fitting pair of pants you are going to have to familiarize yourself with a little bit of pant measurement terminology:
When it comes to measuring yourself for women's pants it best to have a buddy! If you try to measure yourself on your own, there is a good chance you'll get it wrong. Pick someone you feel comfortable with, as things may get a little personal. Wear tight fitting clothes like leggings, or a bathing suit to avoid confusing your measurements with the added bulk of material, and have a cloth or fabric tape measure and notepad on hand.
While it is important to know your own measurements, and use them as a baseline - we often recommend that our customers compare the measurements given in the pant description, to the measurements taken from a pair of pants they already own. By doing so, you will gain a better understanding of how pants fit you, and you will be able to better judge how your potential purchase might compare.
To measure a pair of pants that you already own, first consider the material content and style. Are the pants meant to be stretchy or does the material have a lot of give? If so you will want to take a "measurement range" and not just an exact measurement. If the material is say, a 100% cotton pair of jeans then you can probably take a more exact measurement. In either situation, start by laying your pants out flat on a smooth surface and make sure you have a flexible fabric or cloth measuring tape on hand. You won't want to use a straight edge ruler or carpenters measuring tape - as they tend to be more cumbersome. You will also want to have a notepad handy to jot down your results.
How to Measure the Waist on Women's Pants
Start at the top of the waistband and measure across with the pants laying flat, pull the material taut but do not overstretch; double this measurement to determine the waist circumference. If the pants have an elastic waistband or significant stretch in the material, take another measurement with the material stretched and double it to determine the "Max Waist Measurement". A comfortable fit should fall somewhere between the two.
How to Measure the Rise on Women's Pants
To measure the rise on women's pants, first locate the intersection of the inseam at the crotch. Measure from this intersection up the front, to the top of the waistband; this will determine the "Rise" or "Front Rise" measurement. If you need to determine the "Back Rise" of a pair of trousers, measure from this same intersection up the back to the top of the waistband.
How to Measure the Hips on Women's Pants
When taking hip measurements, we always recommend measuring in a range - even if the material / pant style is not intended to be stretchy. This is because the exact hip level is not clearly defined on most garments, and people tend to interpret the position differently. For this reason, we suggest that you take both a "high hip" and a low hip" measurement. Start by taking the low hip measurement by measuring across the front of the pants, just below the base of the zipper; double this measurement to get the low hip circumference. From this level, move the measuring tape up two inches, and take another measurement across the front of the pants; double this second measurement to get the "High Hip or "Natural Hip" circumference. As with the waist measurement explained earlier, you may have to take two measurements for each, if the pants are stretchy.
How to Measure the Inseam on Women's Pants
To measure the inseam on a pair of women's pants or jeans, locate the intersection of the inseam at the crotch; measure from this point down the leg, to the bottom of the cuff or hem on the pants.
How to Measure the Outseam on Women's Pants
It's hard to go wrong when it comes to measuring the outseam on a pair of women's pants. With the pants lying flat, simply measure from the top of the waistband down to the bottom of the cuff or hem. This will give you the overall length of the pants - although, the inseam measurement is more commonly used to help determine fit.
How to Measure the Cuff on Women's Pants
When it comes to measuring the "cuff" on a pair of pants don't be confused! The term "cuff" does not mean that your pants have to have an actual cuff; it simply references the leg opening, hem, break, or flare at the bottom of the pants. So, to measure the cuff on a pair of women's pants, simply lay the pants flat and measure across the bottom hem; double this measurement to get the full "cuff" circumference.
If you are trying to shop for women's pants online, and a store does not provide exact measurements for a trouser in their item description, contact their customer service and ask! If they offer up a canned response, or if they are unwilling to help track down specific measurements - take your business elsewhere. Finding a pair of pants you want to buy online is the easy part; making sure they will fit, and avoiding the inconvenience of having to return them is the hard part! Here at FineClothing.com, we take the time to provide exact measurements for each item that they carry; and we are happy to provide additional measurements upon request, should you have an area of concern or confusion regarding an item.
Once you know how to measure yourself, and how to measure women's pants, you should be able to determine whether or not a pair of pants you see online will fit. Of course, this is just a starting point and it does not in anyway take into account the pants style, material, or color. Knowing the measurements just helps guarantee that you will be able to get them on! If you are wondering whether or not a properly fitted pair of pants will look good on you, you might want to checkout our Figure Flattering Guide.