How to Measure the Inseam on Your Pants & Body

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Chandler Bing Pants Measuring GIF
Could there BE a better reason to measure your own inseam?

There are few things more frustrating or annoying than ordering a stylish pair of pants online, getting all excited about them, and then finding out they don’t fit properly when they arrive.

While a pant’s length is one of the easiest things for a tailor to adjust, making a trip all the way to the tailor is kind of annoying.

(Especially when you’re asking him to fix a problem that could have been avoided if you had known your inseam measurement and ordered the right size.)

Fortunately, measuring your own inseam is actually quite easy, and doing it yourself will spare you both a trip to the tailor, and the need to have an awkward conversation with your friend Joey about “how they do pants.”

Below, I’ll show you exactly how to measure your inseam (and make sure you order pants in the right length).

How to Measure Inseam

Two Quick & Effective Ways to Measure the Inseam on Your Pants & Body

Identifying the Inseam

Before you can measure the inseam, you have to know where to find it—and this is actually something that a lot of people get wrong.

The inseam is the measurement from the bottom of the crotch to the bottom of the pant’s ankle, running along the (you guessed it) inner part of the pants.

The inseam on blue pair of pants

When you see pants labelled something like “Waist 33, Length 30” the length in question refers to the length of the inseam.

Where people get tripped up is when they confuse the inseam with the outseam. The outseam is the measurement from the top of the waist down to the ankle, running along the (I’m sure you can see where this is going) outside of the pant.

The outseam on blue pair of pants

Measuring the Inseam

Method 1: Lie Your Pants Flat

1. The best way to measure your inseam is to take an existing pair of pants that fits you well and lie them flat on a table or your bed, making sure that the leg of the pant is perfectly straight.

Pair of pants lying flat on bed

2. Grab a tape measure and hold it at the bottom of the crotch, then run the tape down the length of the inseam, to the ankle.

Measuring tape starting at bottom of crotch

3. Make sure your measuring tape hues closely to the hem so that it accurately reflects the length. If it’s too loose you may mistakenly add an inch or two to the real length, which will throw off the length.

Measuring tape running down inseam of blue jeans

Method 2: How to Measure the Inseam on Your Body

illustrated gif of man measuring inseam on body while standing
This GIF from The British Tweed Company shows you how to measure inseam while standing up

If you want an inseam measurement that’s based on your body rather than an existing pair of pants, try this:

1. Stand up straight and let the tape measure hang in front of your crotch (and try to resist the urge to make a joke, especially if someone’s around).

2. Step on the measuring tape and note what marker is underneath your foot. For instance, if you’re stepping on two inches of measuring tape, then the measurement of your inseam will start at 2.

3. Run the tape up your inseam, note what number corresponds to the bottom of the crotch, then subtract the number of inches you’re standing on at the bottom.

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Dave is a men's style blogger whose insightful (and of course, irreverent) advice on how to look good and live well is read by more than two million people each year.

When not obsessing over style and self-improvement, he can usually be found at home playing with his wife and son, indulging in a hoppy craft beer, or sobbing over the woeful state of Toronto's sports teams.

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