You may have thought that understanding inseam measurements was only important for tailors. That is, until you start looking for dress pants that really fit you well. Once you start shopping for great dress pants, you may quickly find that knowing your inseam length is important if you want to find pants that don't fall well below your shoes or show off your ankles. Here's what you need to know about how to measure the inseam for your pants.
How To Measure The Inseam Yourself
Measuring the inseam is essential in ensuring that you choose pants that are of an ideal length for you. If you’re by yourself, here is how you can accurately gauge your inseam measurement.
1. Find Pants That Fit You Well
In order to determine what inseam will work best for you, you should base your decision on pants that fit you great now. If you don't have any such pants, go shopping, and as soon as you find a pair that is just the right length for you, measure them so that you'll know what inseam is ideal for you.
It is important to measure the same type of pants as you're shopping for. If you're in the market for jeans, measure your best-fitting pair of jeans. If you're looking for dress pants, measure dress pants that fit you very well.
2. See If The Inseam Is On The Tag
Sometimes you can find the inseam measurement on the tag. This is especially likely for very expensive pants or pants that are made for a specific size class, like petite or big and tall. If the inseam is listed, you can simply use this information to help you find new pants that fit you well. If not, it is time to measure.
3. Fold Your Pants
Fold your pants lengthwise on a flat surface. You need a surface long enough that the entire pair of pants will fit from top to bottom and lay perfectly flat. The legs should line up with each other with the straight edge matched.
Smooth your pants out to ensure that there aren't any folds or wrinkles, as these may throw your measurement off. Usually using your hand to smooth the pants out is sufficient, but if they are very wrinkled, you may need to iron them.
Measure from the crotch of the pants all the way to the hem with a soft tape measure. Be careful to keep the tape perfectly straight, as any angle will throw off your measurement. It is also important to make sure that you begin measuring right at the crotch.
This can be a little challenging when the pants are folded since it can be hard to tell exactly where the split is. Just lift the pant leg up a little bit so that you can position the tape measure at the place where the fabric separates.
5. Record Your Inseam Measurement
Once you have the measurement, it isn't a bad idea to repeat a couple of times to make sure that you got it right. Write down your inseam measurement without rounding. You want exact measurements so that your pants will fit you perfectly.
If you like to wear shoes that have a bit of a heel to them, you may want to add half an inch or so to your measurement in order to make sure that they look appropriate with your shoes. Adding an extra half-inch is also a good idea if the pants that you're planning on buying may be prone to shrinking.
How To Measure Someone Else’s Inseam
Sometimes you can get a more accurate measurement of the inseam by having it measured while you are wearing the pants. This is also a much more convenient way to measure pants when you are out shopping.
Unfortunately, you can't measure your own inseam since bending over to hold and position the measuring tape will interfere with accurate measurements. However, if you have a friend, you can quickly and easily get your inseam measurements while wearing the pants.
1. Wear Close-Fitting Pants
Whether you are measuring dress pants or jeans, it is generally easier to get a measurement if you wear close-fitting pants. Very baggy pants can interfere with a measurement and make it more difficult to accurately measure in a straight line.
2. Take Off Your Shoes
Shoes add height and can interfere with the inseam if the pants expand to fit over them since you won't be able to get a straight inseam in order to take an accurate measurement. If you want to take the height of your shoes into account, simply add about half an inch to your overall measurement once you have an accurate inseam measurement.
3. Stand Up Straight With Your Back Against A Wall
Slouching can negatively affect your inseam measurement, so make sure that your posture is perfect by standing up straight and putting your back against a wall. This will also help your pants fall evenly and make sure that the inseam is straight.
4. Measure From The Crotch To The Floor
Have your friend measure from the crotch of the pants to the floor. It is easier to find where the pants split into legs at the crotch when measuring pants while you're wearing them, but it can be more difficult to make sure that you measure the hem of the pants accurately. This is because pants tend to bunch up a bit at the ankle before the foot.
5. Write Down Your Measurement
Be sure to write down the exact inseam measurement, including partial inches, so that you can have the most accurate possible measurement with which to shop. You should add half an inch if you intend to wear your pants with shoes that have a bit of a heel to them, or if you are going to buy pants that might shrink.
Other Important Measurements
You may want to measure other aspects of your pants than just the inseam. Here is a brief overview of how to measure other parts of men's pants.
- Waist. The waist is the measurement that most men are primarily familiar with. To measure the waist of a pair of pants, button a pair of pants and lay them down on a flat surface. Use a soft measuring tape to measure the distance from one side of the waistband to the other. By multiplying this figure by two, you'll find the measurement of the pants’ waist.
- Front and Back Rise. Most people may not need to measure the rises, but if you happen to have an unusually long or short torso, it may be important to know what your rises are. Measure the front rise by laying fully buttoned pants on a flat surface and measuring from the seam at the center of the crotch to the top of the front waistband. Measuring the back rise is the same except that you will measure from the seam in the crotch of the pants to the top of the back waistband instead of the front.
- Leg opening. If you are athletically built or have large calves, the leg opening measurement may be important for you so that your pants aren’t too tight. You can find the leg opening by laying your pants on a flat surface and measuring the width of the pants leg opening from one side to the other, and doubling this number.
- Outseam . To measure the outseam, lay a pair of buttoned-up pants on a flat surface and measure the distance from the very top of the waistband to the very bottom of the pan. This will give you a measurement for the overall length of the pants.
As you may have found when consulting the tags on the pants that fit you best, not all pants tell you what the inseam is on the tag. If you are shopping for pants that do not state the inseam, you may need to measure the pants in order to determine whether they will be a good fit for you or not. Another option is to bring a pair of pants that currently fit you well and compare the inseams in order to determine whether the new pants have a suitable inseam length.