Mastering the Tape Measure – How to Size Yourself for a Suit

Ever wandered into a store, found the perfect shirt and forgotten what neck size you are?

How about your inside leg?

Aside from ‘suits you, Sir’ comments, a store employee can give you a quick measure, but wouldn’t it be good to know your exact measurements before you ended up in that embarrassing situation?

Measuring your chest size

When you’re after a new jacket or coat, you need to know your chest size.

Take the tape measure and wrap it under your armpits so it’s around the fullest part of your chest. It needs to be snug but not so tight that it constricts your breathing. Neither does it need to be so loose that it slides down!

Stand as you would normally and take the measurement.

You might notice there’s an S, R or L when you buy jackets off the rack. These letters stand for short, regular and long. Generally, regular is for those of you between 5’7” and 6’ in height, and long for 6’1” and above – but do check in store for their size charts to make sure.

Neck size is important for a comfortable shirt collar

To avoid strangling yourself with a too tight collar, it’s important to get the size just right.

So, wrap the tape measure around the lower part of your neck, so it’s an inch below your Adam’s Apple. Be sure you’re not choking yourself and that you can place 2 fingers between the tape and your neck.

Take the measurement but round up to the next half an inch.

Short sleeve or long sleeve – what’s your length?

You can get various sleeve lengths so it’s a good idea to be sure of your measurement before hitting the shops.

This is easily achieved by measuring from the shoulder joint to your wrist bone.

Make sure you’re measuring your ‘real waist’

Have you noticed that many men are now wearing their trousers lower and lower so they’re on their hips rather than their waist? It’s not a good look for trousers so you need to ensure that you’re capturing your real waist size here.

Take the tape measure around your waist at navel level, putting a finger between the measure and your body so it’s comfortable.

This is your waist measurement.

Getting on the inside matters when it comes to buying trousers

Inside leg measurement (known over the pond as ‘inseam’) is an important one for ensuring comfort and that the leg length is just right.

Remove your shoes and get someone you really trust, like a partner or close friend, to measure your inner leg from the lowest part of your crotch to your foot.

Be aware that off the peg trousers, especially jeans, tend to shrink a bit in the wash so buying a pair with a slightly longer length can be a wise decision.

Top tip – once you know your measurements, print them out on a small card to keep in your wallet so you’re always prepared in future!

And there you have it, a set of measurements that will ensure you’re always prepared for great looking clothes that fit well.

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