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How to measure waist size

A woman uses a tape measure to measure her waist size

More and more of us are shopping for clothes online rather than hitting the high street, and it’s not hard to see why. Browsing the web is often more convenient than making a trip to the shops, plus it gives you greater choice and it can also help you to save money. So, what’s not to love? Well, one issue that might have given you problems in the past is knowing what size clothes to purchase. If you’re in a shop, you can simply try before you buy, but it’s a bit different when you’re ordering online.

However, there’s no need to let this put you off. As long as you know your measurements, and you check the size guides provided when you’re choosing clothes online, you should have no difficulty finding the perfect fit for you.

Following on from our blog on how to measure your bra size, in this post we give you the lowdown on how to measure your waist size, which is important whether you’re buying women’s or men’s trousers, skirts or certain other garments. We also offer tips on taking your hip measurement.

How to measure your waist

To measure your waist, first you’ll need to get a flexible cloth tape measure. If you don’t have one of these to hand, you can use a piece of string or even a shoelace instead – anything flexible that will reach around your waist. If you’re using one of these alternatives, once you have recorded the length, you can simply measure your results on a ruler or standard tape measure.

Where to measure your waist

When you have your measuring tape or string, you’ll need to wrap it around your waistline. To find this, locate the bottom of your ribs and top of your hips. Your waist will be roughly halfway between, just slightly above your belly button. To check if you’ve got the right spot, bend slightly to one side. The crease that forms is where your natural waistline is.

Once you’ve found your waist, all you have to do is wrap your tape measure around it and take the reading. The tape should be taut, but not digging into you. It’s a good idea to take the measurement a second time just to make sure it’s correct, and write it down straight away so that you don’t misremember it.

Top tip! Avoid the temptation to suck your stomach in while taking the measurement as this will make the results inaccurate.

How to measure hips

When buying certain trousers, including women’s trousers, you might also need your hip measurements. Contrary to popular belief, your hip measurements aren’t taken from your hip bone. In fact, this measurement is taken from the widest part of your hip line and buttocks. It’s usually roughly 20cm below your waist, but this obviously varies from person to person.

Once you’re confident you’ve got the right line, stand with your feet together and run the measuring tape around your body. It’s important that it stays level all the way around. You can use a mirror to help make sure this is the case, or alternatively, you can get someone to help you. Many people find it easier if there’s another person assisting them. As when measuring your waist, you can substitute a measuring tape for string or any other flexible material.

Try to stand up straight and keep a good posture while you’re taking the measurement to ensure accuracy, and repeat the measurement so you can be sure it’s correct.

Buying with confidence

Getting accurate measurements like this doesn’t take long, and it means you can buy clothes with confidence. You won’t find yourself spending time deliberating between different sizes and wondering which is right. It can also save you time, money and hassle by reducing the number of items you have to return, or that end up taking up space in your wardrobe without ever being worn because they aren’t quite the right fit.

You might already have a good idea what size garments are right for you, but it’s always worth checking by comparing your measurements to the size guides provided. And remember, if it’s been a while since you last measured yourself, it’s a good idea to check if the numbers are still accurate.

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