Learning how to measure yourself is an invaluable tool if you shop online a lot, although it can often be easier said than done. If you’ve ever gone into a changing room, tried on a pair of size 14 trousers and struggled to get them on, only to put back on your comfortable size 12s and then buy a pair of size 10s three shops later – then I am here to tell you that you’re not alone. If you can’t walk into a shop, even one that you’ve been to before, and instantly know which size to pick up then how are you supposed to navigate the minefield that is online shopping?
All of the custom clothing at Contrado is designed in-house by our resident designer. We then have a specialist grade the patterns, which essentially means they work out and allocate the sizes. As with a number of online retailers, we use XXS to 7XL when sizing (although not all garments come in all sizes) and these have an approximate ‘dress size’ associated with them.
To ensure that you are able to order the right size to fit you comfortably, we make sure that each product is supplied with a size chart, which allows you to select the appropriate size for your precise body measurements. Ideal – provided you know how to measure yourself accurately. We have put together this extensive guide on how to measure yourself correctly for ordering clothing online so that you can take the stress out of clothing sizes once and for all.
First thing, you need to grab something to measure with. In a perfect world, you’ll have a sewing tape measure or a tailor’s tape measure to hand. If not – don’t fret. There are other alternatives, the most common of which is a piece of string. Personally, however, I would not advise this; it’s better to use a belt, a ribbon or something that is long and thin but doesn’t have the stretch or elasticity that string has and is a little broader.
How to measure: Waist
For this, you need to find your waist, and make sure that you measure against your bare skin, it might seem like a small detail, but it’s a necessity for an accurate reading. For those of you who aren’t a hundred per cent on where your hips start and your waist ends, or at which point your waistline stops being your waistline and starts being your ribcage, we have a couple of pointers. Your waistline is about halfway-ish between the bottom of your ribs and your hips, above your belly button; although everyone is different so it’s not an exact science, you’ll find it should be the narrowest point. If you bend to the side, as if you were doing the ‘triangle pose’ in yoga, the crease that forms on your side, is where your natural waistline is.
Wrap the tape measure around your waist, don’t breathe in – unless you want to have to breathe in for the whole time that you’re wearing the top you’re about to order. Ensure that it’s neither too tight or too loose, you don’t want it to hang down, but you want an accurate measurement. If you’re measuring your waist for trousers, that you would normally wear either above or below your waist, it may help to measure that area as well. Make sure to note down your measurements, no matter how confident you are, don’t rely on memory.
Where to measure: Hips
We all know how to find out hip bones, but which part do we measure when we are referring to hip measurements in clothing? The easiest way to get your measurements for this one is in front of a mirror – or better yet, with help from a friend. Measure without clothes on (keep your knickers on if you like) and make sure you’re standing with your feet together.
Place the end of the tape measure on one of your hips, at the pointiest part – more or less. Pass this around your body, over your bum and your second hip, and then back to the starting point. You may want to measure at your lower back, but it’s important that you take the measurement across the fullest part of your buttocks to get the most accurate reading. You need to ensure that the tape remains level all the way around (which is where the mirror, or friend, comes in handy) and is parallel to the floor. Again, make sure that you write this down.
How to measure: Chest, bust, rib
This one is done, again, across the broadest part. Ladies, we would advise keeping your bra on (unless you’re measuring for a bra or intend to wear the garment you are ordering without one) to ensure that your clothing will fit comfortably on top of it.
Ladies, to measure your chest, you need to from your armpits, all the way around your shoulder blades, and back to where you started. To measure your bust, you need to measure around the part which will go across both of your nipples, and for an underbust measurement (sometimes called chest or ribcage – especially when referring to bras) you need to measure around the underneath of your breasts, as high up as you can. When in doubt, check for a diagram to see whether you need a chest, bust or rib measurement.
Gents, this one is somewhat easier for you as you only have one place to measure. For this one, you need to from your underarm around the broadest part of your chest, including your shoulder blades.
Where to measure: Head
When buying a hat, sometimes you have small and large, and sometimes you are presented with a whole array of hat measurements. Finding the perfect hat size is all down to making sure that you measure your head in the right place.
Grab your tape measure and place it just a little above your ear. Pass the tape across your forehead and wrap it around the back of your head and back to where you started. Make sure that you don’t pull it too tightly, otherwise, when you receive your hate you’ll feel as though it is constantly putting pressure on your head.
If you find that the hat sizes are in small, medium and large, these often incorporate a hat ‘size range’ rather than specific sizes. If you find yourself in between range brackets, it’s wise to go up a size, to stop your hat being too snug.
How to measure yourself: Summary
• Measure your waist at the narrowest part, the bit that creases when you bend
• Your hip measurement is from the hip bone, over the fullest part of your buttocks
• A man’s chest is measured from the underarm across their broadest part
• A women’s chest is measured from her underarms around her ‘over-bust’
• A bust measurement will be taken across both nipples
• Rib measurements are taken from under the bust, as high up as possible
• To measure your head, go from just above the ear and across the forehead