How to Size Pants

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Standard sized pants can be modified to fit any body shape.
Standard sized pants can be modified to fit any body shape. (Image: measuring image by anna karwowska from Fotolia.com)

Clothing manufacturers vary sizes according to brand and style. Take your own measurements to get a customized fit for pants, tailor your trousers or customize a pattern to sew your own pants. Many brands have general, regular sizes for women between 5-foot-4 and 5-foot-10, with adjustments for the "petite" and "tall" builds. Children's pants sizes can vary according to body proportions as they grow. You can save money and widen your options by purchasing standard-sized pants and tailoring them to fit your body measurements.

Men

Measure the following dimensions with a loose hold on your tape measure: Natural waist Top of foot to crotch (for your inseam measurement) Natural waist to top of foot (for the overall length)

Write down the following measurements: Height Waist Inseam Length

Check whether your height measurement puts you in the "regular" build category by comparing your height and waist measurements against your brand's size chart. For example, JC Penney's men's size chart for a regular build (of height 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-11) is: Regular small: Waist = 28 to 30 inches Regular medium: Waist = 32 to 34 inches Regular large: Waist = 36 to 38 inches Regular extra large: Waist = 40 to 42 inches Regular extra extra large: Waist = 44 to 46 inches

Check whether your height measurement puts you in the "tall" build category by comparing your height and waist measurements against your brand's size chart. For example, JC Penney's men's size chart for a tall build (of height 6 feet to 6-foot-3) is: Tall medium: Waist = 32 to 34 inches Tall large: Waist = 36 to 38 inches Tall extra large: Waist = 40 to 42 inches Tall extra extra large: Waist = 44 to 46 inches

Measure your pant leg according to your inseam and length. Fold and hem accordingly.

Women

Measure the following dimensions with a loose hold on your tape measure: Natural waist Hips Top of foot to crotch (for your inseam measurement) Natural waist to top of foot (for the overall length)

Write down the following measurements: Height Waist Hips Inseam Length

Compare your height measurement against the "build" category in your brand's size chart. For example, JC Penney's misses size chart has the following build categories: Petite: Height = 4-foot-11 to 5-foot-3 Regular: Height = 5-foot-3 1/2 to 5-foot-7 1/2 Tall: Height = 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-11 Ultra tall: Height = 5-foot-11 1/2 to 6-foot-2

Compare your waist and hip measurements against your brand's size chart according to your build category. For example, JC Penney's misses size chart for regular, tall and ultra tall builds uses the same size chart: Size 0 (extra small): Waist = 24 inches and hips = 34.5 inches Size 2 (extra small):: Waist = 25 inches and hips = 35.5 inches Size 4 (small): Waist = 26 inches and hips = 36.5 inches Size 6 (small): Waist = 27 inches and hips = 37.5 inches Size 8 (medium): Waist = 28 inches and hips = 38.5 inches Size 10 (medium): Waist = 29 inches and hips = 39.5 inches Size 12 (large): Waist = 30.5 inches and hips = 41 inches Size 14 (large): Waist = 31 to 32 inches and hips = 42.5 inches Size 16 (extra large): Waist = 33.5 inches and hips = 44 inches Size 18 (extra large): Waist = 35.5 inches and hips = 46 inches Size 20 (extra extra large): Waist = 37.5 inches and hips = 48 inches

Measure your pant leg according to your inseam and length. Fold and hem accordingly, if needed.

Children

Measure the following dimensions with a loose hold on your tape measure: Natural waist Hips (for your seat) Top of foot to crotch (for your inseam measurement) Natural waist to top of foot (for the overall length)

Write down the following measurements: Height Waist Seat Inseam Length

Compare your child's height, waist and seat measurements to identify the "build" category in your brand's size chart. For example, JC Penney's kid's size chart has the following guidelines for build categories according to frame and body proportions for boys and girls (note: the difference between the waist and seat can be greater for girls): Slim: Small frame and thin body where the waist is about 5 to 6 inches less than the seat Regular: Average frame and proportions where the waist is about 4 to 5 inches less than the seat Plus or husky: Fuller body in proportion to height where the waist measurement is greater than 27 inches and is about 4 to 6 inches less than the seat.

Compare your child's waist and seat measurements against your brand's size chart. For example, JC Penney's kid's regular (build) size chart is: Girls size 7 (small): Waist = 23 inches and seat = 27 inches Girls size 8 (small): Waist = 23 inches and seat = 29 inches Boys size 8 (small): Waist = 23 inches and seat = 27 inches Girls size 10 (medium): Waist = 24 inches and seat = 29 inches Boys size 10 (medium): Waist = 24 inches and seat = 28 inches Girls size 12 (medium): Waist = 25 inches and seat = 31 inches Boys size 12 (medium): Waist = 26 inches and seat = 30 inches Girls size 14 (large): Waist = 26 inches and seat = 34 inches Boys size 14 (large): Waist = 27 inches and seat = 32 inches Girls size 16 (large): Waist = 27 inches and seat = 36 inches Boys size 16 (large): Waist = 28 inches and seat = 34 inches

Measure your pant leg according to your inseam and length. Fold and hem accordingly.

Tips & Warnings

  • All brands vary slightly in sizing. Check the sizing chart for your specific brand or store (such as Gap or Old Navy).
  • Buy pants that fit in the waist and rise and take them in (i.e., tailor them) along the leg seams and bottom hem, if needed.

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