Get Measured: The ONE tool you need to solve all your shopping woes

November 17, 2011 · 27 comments

in Apparel, How To, Tips

Hey gents,

How many times have you stumbled upon a sweet deal online but never completed the purchase because you couldn’t figure out if the last one in your size would actually fit (and there were no returns, no exchanges)?

Or have you ever found the perfect sport coat on eBay or Style Forum, but it didn’t have size tags and the seller simply listed the measurements?

I mean, what the heck are you supposed to do with that, right?

Am I right?!

Well, let’s make sure this never happens to you again. Here’s the ONE tool you need to solve all your online shopping woes:

Tailor’s tape!

Lucky for you, you can find it on Amazon, in practically any big box store (Target, Walmart, Kmart), or in an arts and crafts store in your neighborhood, and it’ll cost you a few dollars at most.

How is tailor’s tape going to solve all my online shopping woes?

This little tool can measure every single square inch of that hot bod of yours. And those measurements are exactly what you need to make those confusing online purchases much easier.

I don’t want to measure every square inch of my body.

Okay, fine. I was over-exaggerating anyway. You really only need 6, maybe 7, measurements. That’s it! With those 6 (or 7) measurements, you can buy any garment anywhere without having to try it on. Pretty nifty, right?

So what parts of my body should I measure?

Good question. To make it easy, why not take a look at this handy dandy diagram below:

Here are some descriptive definitions for the more confusing ones:

Sleeve length: Measure from the base of the neck, across the traps to the shoulder, down the arm, to your wrist bone.

Chest: Measure the widest part of your chest, usually across the nipples (ooh la la).

Natural waist: Your natural waist is generally where your torso bends if you were to stand straight with your legs shoulder width apart, and tipped over slightly to one side. That crease sorta in the middle of your ribs? That’s your natural waist.

Hip: Where your pants typically sit. If you finger that area (wow, really?) you can feel your hip bone. Your tape should come right across there, parallel to the ground.

Inseam: Measure from the inside of your thigh (this is too much) to the heel.

These are the only measurements you’ll need.

Some tips on getting an accurate measurement

This is a little difficult to do if you’re on your own, unless you have something like this. If you’re not as fancy and you picked up traditional tailor’s tape, better get your patient significant other to help you out.

Keep the tape straight

It’s really important to make sure the tape is level as your S.O. is wrapping it around your body parts (whoa). If it isn’t straight, chances are you’ll get a skewed measurement. An inch can make a big difference in the fit of your clothes, so make sure your designated measurer is as precise as possible. If you’re measuring your chest, waist, or hips, the tape should be parallel to the ground.

Too loose = bad

You want to feel the tape wrapped around you. If it’s too loose, most likely it’s also not straight, so you’re going to get an inaccurate measurement no matter what.

Too tight = bad

Yes, you want to feel the tape wrapped around you, but you don’t want to cinch it so snugly that your spare tire is cascading over it, enveloping the tape in a wall of skin and lard like some weird 80s horror film. Keep it firm, but not tight.

Line it up

Hold one end, wrap the tape around your body, hold it firm, and match up the free end to the nearest line on the tape, like so:

Pretty simple, right? You want to do this for each of the areas listed in my handy dandy diagram above.

Half or full?

Some places give you measurements that look peculiarly small. For example, you may see a garment listed as having a 20″ chest measurement. Well that just means they measured across the chest without doubling the measurement. So your 40″ chest is 40″ because you went all the way around your body.

While you’re at it, measure your clothes

Let’s say you have a blazer that fits you perfectly. Take the jacket’s measurements. This will come in handy when you’re looking to buy suiting online.

Measuring a garment is similar to measuring your body, but easier. You’re essentially taking the same measurements you would on yourself. Lay your garment on a flat surface, and follow this measuring guide we use on the Fifth&Brannan size chart page:

sizing-chart-measurements

(need the full size version? click here.)

BOOM! You’re equipped.

Make sure to keep these numbers on a Post-it and stick it in your wallet for quick reference, and shop online with confidence, armed with the knowledge of your own measurements.

Feels good, doesn’t it?

Questions?

I’m here to help. Leave em in the comments below!

 

 

photo, photo

About

Barron is the founder and editor of Effortless Gent, a site dedicated to helping guys figure out what looks best on them. He's based in San Francisco. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

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