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How to Measure Inseam and Get Well-fitting Pants

Do you struggle to find new pants or jeans that fit perfectly? Perhaps they’re too long, short, loose, or tight. If you’ve ever been in this situation, you probably don’t know how to measure inseam. That one measurement can make all the difference in the fit of your pants.

But what exactly is an inseam, and how do you measure it? We’ll answer those questions in this article so the next time you find pants you love, you’ll buy nothing but your perfect size.

What is an Inseam & Why’s it Important?

tape rule on a pair of pants showing how to measure inseam

The inseam measures the inner part of your legs or pant leg. It runs from your crotch to the bottom of your ankle and is usually in inches or centimetres. It’s a crucial measurement to consider when buying pants because it can affect your overall fit and comfort. For example, if your inseam measurement is wrong, your pants will either be too long or too short for you. 

Furthermore, knowing your inseam makes shopping online much easier. Since many websites provide size charts, you only need to refer to them and confirm the measurements that match your inseam before checking out. And if you eventually buy the wrong fit, just give your tailor this measurement, and they’ll alter the pants accordingly.

Knowing how to measure inseam helps you find pants that fit well and look great. It also helps you get the perfect length without any hassle.

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How to Measure Inseam

an older lady helping a younger lady to take her trouser measurements

A pair of pants may look simple, but did you know it can make or mar your style? Thankfully, measurements like inseam come to the rescue. So, before hitting that checkout button, take the time to learn how to measure inseam. This can be achieved through any of these three ways:

Measure a Pair of Pants that Fits You Well

For this DIY method, you’ll need:

  • A flat table or surface
  • A pair of pants that fits well or have the inseam length you prefer
  • A tape rule 

Once you’ve gotten these items,

  • Place your pants or jeans on a table or the floor. Then, fold them so that one leg is atop the other.
  • Lift the leg of the top pants to reveal the inseam running from the underside of the crotch down to the hem of the pants. 
  • Smooth out any wrinkles or folds in the lower pants leg so they don’t affect the accuracy of the measurements.
  • Use a tape rule to measure the crotch seam along the centre of the crotch of your pants. Check for the spot where the crotch seam meets the seam that runs down your pants leg. Place the end of your tape at this seam and measure down to the hem or bottom of the pants leg. 
  • Write down the exact measurements without rounding them up. That’s your inseam. Now, go shop for pants that fit.

Alternatively, check the tag of your jeans or pants for the inseam. Some pants usually have the inseam measurement printed there. If your pants do, use that measurement to shop for similar pants. But if there’s no tag in your pants, measure the inseam yourself by following the steps above.

Use a Mirror to Measure Your Inseam Yourself

It’s better to do this method naked or with just your underwear. This is because clothes can get in the way, especially since you’ll be taking the measurements yourself. It works thus:

  • Stand tall in front of a floor-length mirror so you can see yourself. But if you don’t have a floor-length mirror, place the biggest mirror you have opposite your lower body.
  • Place the tape rule where your thigh meets your crotch. 
  • Slowly unroll the tape, keeping it close to your skin until it reaches your ankles. While at it, look in the mirror to be sure you’re doing it correctly.
  • Stop unrolling the tape when you reach your preferred pants length or hem. Then, stand up straight and look at it in the mirror to be sure you’re happy with where the tape sits.
  • Hold the tape and read the corresponding measurement. Jot it down so you can use it during your next pants shopping. Be careful while noting the measurement because if your hands move from the exact measurement, it’ll be wrong.

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Let Someone Measure Your Inseam

Ask a friend or family member to do this for you. Once they agree,

  • Wear a pair of close-fitting pants.
  • Stand barefoot, as the added height from shoes can interfere with your actual inseam measurement and give inaccurate numbers. 
  • Don’t slouch; stand upright with your back against a wall to get a good posture so it doesn’t affect the accuracy of your measurement.
  • Let the friend or family member assisting you measure from the crotch seam of your pants to the floor. The distance between the crotch seam of your pants and the floor is your inseam measurement.
  • Jot it down for subsequent shopping.

Are Inseam Measurements the Same as Length Measurements?

a lady wearing a black ensemble showing how to measure inseam

No, they aren’t the same. And if you want to shop for pants that look great and fit well,  you must understand the difference between inseam and length measurements.

It’s simple: inseam measurement is the distance from the crotch area of your pants or jeans to the inner bottom hem. On the other hand, length measurement is the distance between the waistband of your pants and the outside part of your pants leg.

Knowing How to Measure Inseam Helps You Shop the Right Pants

An ordinary pair of pants can elevate or diminish your style. But when you know measurements like your inseam, you save yourself from wardrobe regrets. Also, it helps you get the perfect pants lengths and gives you a comfy fit. Use the methods we shared in this piece to get your inseam measurements. But if you want a visual explanation, let the video below guide you:

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or creating fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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