How to measure jeans and pants for an accurate fit

This is a complete guide on how to measure, and then annalyze those measurements, for the best possible fit when online shopping. 

While most retailers utilize the same standards for online size charts, this tutorial is specifically designed with the Manor's measurement practices in mind. We provide measurements in each of our product listings of the item lying flat on a smooth surface, and not stretched out in any way. Our #1 recomendation when trying to determine if a pair of jeans or pants you have found on our website will fit you, is to compare the flat measurements provided in the listing, with a similar pair of jeans/pants of your own that fit you.

Before you do anything, look at the product listing of the jeans / pants your are thinking of buying, and find out these three key style points:

  1. Are these jeans / pants high waisted, mid-rise, or low-waisted?
  2. Are these jeans / pants slim-fit, or a relaxed-fit?
  3. What is the inseam length?

Once you determine these three key points, you will know what type of fit you are dealing with, and can more accurately understand the mesurements provided in the listing. Find a pair of your own pants that most closely matches the three key style points of the listing, and start comparing the measurements.

1. The first thing to do when trying to figure out if a pair of jeans you have found online will fit you or not, is to determine the rise of the jeans - or rather, where the waistband will fit on your waist or hips.

Are the jeans high waisted, mid-rise, or low-waisted? Most of the time this information will be in the listing of the item, but it is still better to double check how the rise will fit on you by comparing the measurements. The reason this information is so important, is because it determines where the waistband will rest on your body. If the pants are high waisted, and the waistband fits around the tiniest part of your waist, the measurement for the waist can be smaller than if the pants are low-rise, and the waist band rests more on the hips.

The way to determine the rise of a pair of pants, is by finding out the measurement of the "crotch rise" on the jeans, as pictured below. This measurement is found by placing your measuring tape at the top of the waistband, and then measuring down to the crotch seam in the jeans. The crotch seam will be the seam that is found at the seat of the jeans, where the two legs of the jeans meet at the top of the thighs.

The general rule is that a crotch rise (for women's jeans/pants) measuring 12 inches or higher will be a high-waisted fit. But this rule varries widely by size. A size 2 (small) pair of jeans will normally have a shorter rise than a size 18 (extra large) size of jeans, just by virtue of being a more scaled down size. So it is best to compare the crotch rise provided in the listing, to a pair of jeans or pants you have that already fit you. Make sure the styles of rise match to the listing, whether it is high waisted, mid-rise, or low-waisted.

High waisted: the waistband will fit around the tiniest part of the waist, above the belly button.

Mid rise: in between high waisted and low rise, a mid rise waistband will usually lay just under where your belly button is.

Low rise: the waistband will probably lay around the upper part of the hips, on the hip bones, and therefore will need to be a bigger measurement than high-waisted or mid-rise pants.

2. The second thing you need to figure out is: are these jeans/pants slim-fit, or a relaxed-fit?

This information determines how tight a pair of jeans or pants will fit on your hips. By finding out whether a pair of pants are slim-fit or relaxed fit, you also find out which measurements are most important. With slim-fit, the hip and upper thigh measurements are super important to get right. With a more relaxed-fit, that is loose around the hip and upper thigh, it is the waist measurement that is the most important.

Men's jeans and pants are normally more of a relaxed fit. Of course, with vintage styles, this might not always be the case. 

The way to be certain of whether a pair of pants will be a slim-fit or a more relaxed-fit on you, is by finding the hip and upper thigh measurements.

The hip measurement runs across the widest part of the seat of the jeans/pants. The hip measurement is generally found 9 inches (23 cm) down from the top of the front waistband. It usually runs just under where the the fly on the pants end. The 9 inches rule may vary slightly from high-waisted to low-waisted pants, but is a great starting measurement. Just make sure the tape measure runs across the widest part of the hip area on the jeans / pants, like in the picture below, somewhere at the bottom of the fly.

The upper thigh measurement runs across the pant leg. It starts about one inch down from the bottom of the crotch seam, and runs horizontally straight across the upper thigh. The reason this measurement is important, is that people's thigh thickness on their bodies differ greatly. Even if the rest of the measurements match up to what you need, if the upper thigh measurement is too big or too small, the jeans/pants will not fit.

The hip and upper thigh measurements will determine how tight the jeans or pants fit on your hips, rear, and thighs. Compare these measurements to a similar pair of pants that fit the way you want your new pair to fit, and see if the numbers are similar or differ. A slim-fit will fit tight along the hips, rear, and thighs. A relaxed-fit will be more roomy along the hips, rear, and thighs. Make sure the pants you are comparing the listing to match whether they are slim-fit or relaxed-fit.

3. The last measurement you need is the inseam on the pants.

This measurement can be found by starting at the crotch seam, and measuring all the way down to the hem of the pants. This mesurement should be the easiest to determine, and the easiest to alter by tailoring or cutting the bottom hem of the pants.

Match the inseam measurement provided in the online listing, to a pair of jeans or pants you already own that fit you, to find out if they will be too long or too short on your frame.

In conclusion, beyond determining the fit and style of the jeans or pants, there are five measurements you will need to know to find out if a pair of pants or jeans you see online will fit you:

  1. Waist width
  2. Hip width
  3. Upper thigh width
  4. Crotch rise
  5. Inseam length

Once you master the three key style points, the five measurements will become easier to understand, and apply, to find your perfect fit!