How to Measure Women's & Girls Clothing Sizes

Measuring tape

Measuring tape image by Monika 3 Steps Ahead from

Knowing your clothing size before you go shopping saves you the time it takes to try on clothes that would never fit you. It also keeps you from getting disappointed by trying on clothing that turns out to be far out of your size range. Women’s and girls' clothing offers thousands of choices in each size. Find the right size by taking measurements and comparing them to a sizing chart.

Women’s Clothing Sizes

Use a tape measure to help a woman find her size. Begin a list for her measurements. Write the following words: bust, waist, hip, sleeve, inseam and height. Put a blank beside each word to fill in as you measure. Have the woman stand up wearing comfortable underwear. Use the tape measure loosely enough to put a finger between it and the body.

Measure the bust, waist and hips. Measure the bust at the fullest part, on a circle parallel to the floor.

Measure the waist at the natural waistline, the point where the body naturally curves in, or about where your slacks usually reach when you are wearing pants that are not low-riders.

Measure the hips at their fullest point at a circle parallel to the floor. SYMS: Educated Consumers Dress to Achieve suggests that you use the hip measurement for sizing if your hips fall two or more sizes higher on the sizing chart than your waist.

Have the woman stand with arm bent slightly. Measure the arm from center of neck to shoulder tip to elbow to wrist. This is the sleeve length.

Have the woman stand with her back against a wall and measure her height from the floor to the top of her head. Have her get out a pair of her best-fitting slacks and measure the inner leg seam to get the inseam measurement.

Use a sizing chart to match up the measurements on the list you made to the sizes of the clothing you are buying. Choose the measurement to use based on the type of clothing, if the measurements do not fit into one size. Tops and dresses go by bust size, pants go by waist and hip size. A good women’s clothing size chart can be found at

Girls Clothing Sizes

Set up a chart to write down measurements. List the following words: chest, waist, hips,weight, back-waist length and height.

Have the girl dress in underwear and stand straight with arms to the sides. Use the tape measure to measure around the chest at shoulder blade level. Measure the waist at the point where the waist nips in, or at the point where pants would normally ride on the girl. Measure her around the fullest part of the hips.

Take the back-waist measurement from the bones where the neck meets the body to the center of the waist. Take the height measurement as you usually would, with the girl standing up against a wall. Measure her height from floor to the top of her head.

Weigh the girl and write her weight down on the list you have made, along with the measurements. Use a sizing chart to match up the measurements you have taken to the size you will buy. has a helpful chart with girls’ sizes, on its website.