Welcome to our guide on how to measure your waist for your pants correctly. 

Take these steps below to order your next pair of jeans online confidently or tailor a pair of slacks at home that doesn’t fit exactly how you want. 

Table of Contents

How To Measure Waist For Pants

Total Time: 3 min

Cost: $3.59

  • Buy your sewing tape measure for $3.59


  • Sewing tape measure
this is a photo of a sewing tape measure to measure waist

Learn how to measure the waist for pants with one of our two options. The youtube video is 45 seconds long, or follow our detailed picture guide below. One way or another I promise you will learn how to measure waist for pants.

1. Use sewing tape

Using a sewing measuring tape (flexible.)

This is a photo of flexible sewing tape

2. Put the tape above bellybutton

Place your feet slightly apart, put the measuring tape above your belly button at the smallest part of your waist.

this is a photo of tall paul placing sewing tape above his belly button

3. Wrap the tape around your waist

Relax your stomach and wrap the tape around your waist.

This is a photo of Tall Paul wrapping sewing tape around his waist

4. Take the measurement

The number you come up with where the ends meet, is the measurement of your waist.

This is a photo of the exact measurment of your waist

How to measure waist for pants: quick tips

  • If you want a higher-waisted pair of pants, wrap the measuring tape accordingly under your belly button.
  • If you want a low-rise pant, wrap the measuring tape just above the top of the buttocks.
  • If you want ‘normal’ sitting pants, measure from the top of your butt to your belly button and place the tape precisely in the middle.
  • Do not suck your stomach in when making the measurement. Stand in a neutral position
  • Make sure to keep the tape snug, but not tight, and ensure that the tape measure is parallel to the floor.
  • Grab a friend to help if possible.

How To Measure Waistband For Pants

Total Time: 3 min

Cost: $3.59

  • Buy your sewing tape measure for $3.59

If you have a pair of pants that fit you perfectly in the waist, you can skip the step of measuring yourself and instead measure the pants waistband.

1. Choose a pair of pants

Choose a pair of pants that fit your waist best. Jeans, slacks, dress pants and joggers will all work.

This is tall paul wearing a good fitting pair of pants

2. Lay the pants flat

Zip up the pants and lay them down on a flat surface.

This is a photo of pants being laid flat

3. Measure the waistband

Using the sewing tape, measure the waistband from one end across to the other. 

This is a photo of measuring the waistband of pants

4. Multipy that number x2

Take the number from step 3 and multiply it by two. That is your waist measurement. 

Find our other guides on how to measure clothes to help you make precise measurements as you build your wardrobe.


To measure yourself for pants size you will need to take these 5 measurements: inseam, outseam, waist, hip, thighs. With these measurements you can then check the brands size guide.

A 36 inch waist size for men usually is a Large pants size. This all depends on the brand size guide however.