How to Measure an Inseam and Other Men’s Measurement Tips

Man in suit jacket and jeans leaning against wood pole.

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Your pants will better fit when you measure your inseam. Just a few centimeters difference can lead to an uncomfortable situation. It’s by far one of the most important measurements you can take on your body. 

Taking body measurements is one of the best ways to get the best-fitting clothes. Your clothes are a way to look professional and express yourself. The clothes on the rack won’t fit everyone the same way. If you do find a size that fits, chances are that size will be different for almost every brand, making it hard to quickly create a cohesive wardrobe. 

Why You Should Measure Your Inseam

An inseam is a measurement of the inner leg on a pair of pants. 

Your inseam measurement is essential when choosing a well-fitting pair of pants or ordering custom-made ones. 

Measuring By Yourself 

While it’s not ideal, you can measure your own inseam in a couple of ways. 

Off Your Body

There are ways to measure your inseam all on your own with a pair of pants and a tape measure. 

Take a pair of snug but comfortable pants and lay them out on a flat surface, keeping the entire pair of pants level.

Fold the pants lengthwise in half so the legs line up with each other. Fold the top leg over the waistband, exposing the pant’s inseam. 

Smooth out any wrinkles in the pants that could interfere with the measurement. Run a measuring tape from the crotch of the pants to the hemline along the visible seam. This is your inseam. 

In the Mirror

Using a mirror and soft tape measure, you can also measure your own inseam. 

Stand in front of the mirror while wearing a form-fitting pair of pants. Take the rolled-up measuring tape and place the beginning at the intersection of your groin and thigh. 

Carefully roll the tape downwards until you reach your desired hem length, ensuring that the tape measure is as taught and straight as possible. 

Use the mirror to see the measurement or carefully reach down and grab the spot, pulling it up to see how many inches is your desired length. 

Someone Else 

To get a more accurate measurement, it’s best to have a professional take the measurement. If you can’t get into a tailor, having an extra set of eyes is useful when taking accurate measurements. 

Visiting a Tailor

Tailors are experts in measuring people for clothes and can get an accurate inseam quickly. Visiting an experienced tailor removes the headache of measuring yourself. 

Put on a tight-fitting pair of pants to get the most accurate measurements. Tight jeans or joggers are good options for this. You’ll also need to remove your shoes to eliminate any extra height, which could lead to your pants being too long. If your tailor is at the same location you are getting custom pants made at, you’ll likely wear a version of them. 

Your tailor will likely have you stand in an open space or on a platform so they can get your measurement. 

Asking a Friend 

A friend can help you get a better look at your inseam than you might get measuring yourself. Stand up straight against a wall with your tight-fitting pants and bare feet. When you stand against the wall, it helps you maintain your posture for the most accurate measurement. 

You’ll want your friend to get the measurement between the crotch seam of your pants and the floor. That seam intersects with your leg seam and begins near the crotch. The measurement from it to the ground is your inseam. 

Other Measurements to Consider 

If you’re measuring your inseam, there may be other measurements to consider to perfect your look. 

Collar 

To measure your collar size, place your tape measure at the base of your neck or where you expect the shirt collar to sit. Carefully wrap it around your neck until the ends touch. While measuring, keep your finger between the tape measure and your neck so you’ll have room to breathe.

Sleeve Length

For a dress shirt, you need to measure your sleeve differently than you might think. Have a friend or tailor measure it on you for the most accurate measurement, since you start behind you. 

To measure sleeve length, place the tape measure in the center of your back on the nape of your neck. Go straight across your shoulder and down your arm to the place on your wrist you expect your sleeve to end. 

While someone measures you, make sure you hold your arm in a relaxed position to avoid getting a sleeve that’s too tight. 

Waistband 

Measuring your waist circumference is easy as long as you keep the tape measure as level as possible during the measurement. 

Wrap the measure around where you want your waistband to sit. Join the end of the tape measure with the numeric measurement in the front center of your waist. That’s your waistband measurement. 

When measuring your waist, keep a finger between it and the measuring tape so you have breathing room in your new pants. 

Chest Size 

You can measure your chest similarly to how you measure your waist. Place the tape measure under your arms and wrap it around the widest part of your chest, leaving some breathing room. 

Ensure your measuring tape is as level as possible, as this measurement affects how the entire shirt sits on your body. 

Back Length 

This measurement determines your shirt’s length and is best to have someone else do to ensure accuracy. Start at the nape of your neck, similarly to how you start a sleeve measurement. 

Measure directly downward to the waistline. When purchasing a shirt, you might want to add a few inches to this measurement for tucking in. 

Shoulder Measurement

Your shoulder measurement connects how your sleeve and back length measurements. Taking this measurement helps you secure a comfortable, tailored fit. 

Your shoulder measurement starts at the outermost point of one shoulder and ends at the same location on the other shoulder. This point is where your shoulder intersects with your arm. 

Outside Leg Length

The opposite of your inseam, the outside leg length measurement is a crucial part of securing the best pants measurement. 

To get this measurement, begin where you want your waistband to sit and measure down the outside pant length to where you want your pants to rest at your ankle. 

Measuring For the Perfect-Fitting Clothes

Knowing your body measurements is an excellent way to secure well-fitting clothes for work and leisure. Whether you or someone else measures you, those numbers are essential for getting the perfect fit.

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