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What Is Inseam vs. Waist Size in Jeans?

by Michelle Miley, studioD

Knowing your waist and inseam measurements makes shopping for jeans much easier. Guys have it easiest because their jean sizes are typically labeled simply with the waist and inseam measurement of the pants. Simply select a pair that matches your measurements for a good fit. Women often must plug these numbers into the manufacturer’s size chart to find their corresponding size.


Your natural waist sits halfway between the top of your hip bone and the bottom of your rib cage. To find your waist and measure it, stand with your feet flat on the floor and tilt your body to one side. Your natural waist is where the crease in your side forms; measure here to get your waist size. Although you want to measure where the crease forms when you bend, take your waist measurement while standing erect. If you want low-rise jeans that sit below your natural waist, measure the place where you want the jeans to sit on your body and use that as the waist measurement to find the right size.


The inseam on a pair of jeans is the seam that runs from the bottom edge of the pants up to the crotch, where it joins the pants’ other seams to make a plus sign. To measure your inseam, take your shoes off and stand with your feet flat on the floor. Measure from the hem of your pant leg to the place where your legs come together to get your inseam measurement.

About the Author

Writing professionally since 2008, Michelle Miley specializes in home and garden topics but frequently pens career, style and marketing pieces. Her essays have been used on college entrance exams and she has more than 2,000 publishing credits. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in accounting, having graduated summa cum laude.

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