How to Measure a Waist

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Don't measure your waist over clothes.

Knowing your exact waist measurement can be very helpful in determining your clothing size, and it is a good indicator of your general health. You can find out your waist measurement easily, in the comfort of your home.

Step 1

Strip down to your underwear before starting the waist-measuring process. Stand up straight and relax your abdominal muscles.

Step 2

Find your natural waist. An easy way to do this is to stand in front of the mirror and bend at your side. The crease that forms indicates your natural waistline, directly above the belly button and below the ribcage.

Step 3

Wrap the measuring tape completely around your waist starting at the belly button. Begin at the spot on the tape where the measure reads "0." Make sure the tape is level around your waistline--not too loose, not too tight.

Step 4

Do not place the measuring tape over clothes. You'll get the most accurate results on bare skin. However, make sure the tape is not squeezing into your skin. The number that meets the "0" after you have circled your entire waist is your waist measurement.

Step 5

Remove the tape and jot down your measurement for future reference.


You may want to take your measurements in front of a full-length mirror to ensure you are measuring the right area and that the measuring tape isn't crooked. A healthy waistline for a woman is between 32 and 23 inches. For a man, it's between 45 and 32 inches.


Make sure you use body measuring tape, which is made of fabric or bendable plastic. This will ensure more accurate results.