How to Measure Women's Sizes

by Therese Rochon ; Updated September 28, 2017

waist measuring in front of a mirror image by from

Many women wear clothes that are not the right size. For those women, their clothes are too big, too short, too tall or too tight. Wearing poorly fitting clothes can damage a woman’s professional image, make her look unkempt, hide a graceful figure or draw unwanted attention to unshapely parts of her body. Hence, women should properly measure themselves, so they can buy clothes that fit and flatter their bodies.

Determine the height. Women often wear the wrong size because their clothes are too tall or too short for them. Most female clothes are made for women of average height. To determine your height, stand straight along a wall, and mark where the top of your head touches the wall. With a ruler, measure the distance from the floor to the marked spot. Keep the tape or ruler straight along the wall. If you are shorter than 5’3, you are petite. Those between 5’3 and 5’7½ are average. A height greater than 5’7½” is tall.

Find the bust measurement. With a tape, measure around the fullest part of the bust. The measuring tape should not be crooked, and it should go in a straight line along the bustline. If you do not have a measuring tape, use a string and a ruler. Measure around the bustline with the string, and measure the string afterwards. Record the bust measurement.

Calculate the waist’s girth by measuring around its smallest area, also known as the natural waistline. This is usually the part near the belly button. Excluding the neck, the waist should be the smallest part of your torso. Record the waist measurement.

Get the hips’ girth by measuring around their fullest area. For most women, the hips and gluteus are the largest part, girth-wise, of their entire body. Hence, you can also get the hips’ girth by measuring the widest part of your entire body. Record the hip measurement.

Gather the three measurements, and compare them to size charts. Look up your bust, waist and hip measurements on the size chart, and it will reveal your size. Different stores and designers have different charts. Hence, use three or four charts, and average the calculations, or use the chart from the store from which you are shopping.

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About the Author

Therese Rochon is a college student and freelance writer from St. Louis. She is studying English and Spanish literature at Washington University and plans to attend law school in the future. She speaks two languages and, in 2011, will au pair in Europe to learn two more languages. She has been writing online since 2005.