Where the runway meets the street

The Good Fit Guide is a new series of posts showing you the correct way to measure yourself for certain items of clothing. That way you get that perfect fit, every time.

It’s not an over-exaggeration to say that most people on Earth have owned a pair of jeans at some point in their life. Most of us have owned many more than one. That said, if you can find a single pair that  fit you really well, you may not ever need to buy another. At least, not until they fall apart.

A well-fitting pair of jeans can be both the workhorse and powerhouse of your wardrobe, but finding one is easier said than done. While nothing beats trying a pair on for size in the store itself, not everyone has easy access to a first-class denim retailer. If you’re looking for something a little more special than a pair of 501s, then at least you have the internet. But proceed with caution – there’s a lot more to a snug pair of jeans than knowing your waist size.

Following our guide to the perfect shirt, here’s a quick rundown of all the relevant measurements you’ll ever need when shopping for your dream pair of denim. It’s best if you use an existing pair as reference.

1. Waist

First, ensure that the sample pair is fully zipped, buttoned up, and laying flat on an even surface. Properly line up the front and rear waistbands and measure from left to right. To find the waist size, simply multiply by two.

2. Inseam

Place one end of the tape in the center of the crotch area and measure down alongside the inseam until you reach the bottom hemline.

3. Thigh

Again, starting from the crotch area, measure to the outside of the leg.

4. Knee

From the crotch, measure 13” running down the inseam of the leg. From here, turn the tape horizontally and measure from that inseam point to the outside of the leg.

5. Front Rise

With the jeans facing up, begin at the crotch and measure vertically upwards, stopping at the top of the waistband.

6. Back Rise

This time with the jeans facing down, measure from the crotch up to the top of the waistband.

7. Hem

With the front and rear hemline evenly leveled, place the tape along the bottom of the hem and measure from one side to the other.

Once you have all these measurements recorded you should find it much easier to discern the kind of fit a particular pair of jeans will have – or to track down a particular type of fit using a pair you already own. Remember, although most denim these days is sanforzied (meaning it is treated prior to purchase to prevent major shrinkage), be aware that there is always room for jeans to stretch a little with prolonged wear. This can be as much as 1″ in some cases, so if you’re measuring a much-loved pair of denim that you’ve had for years, it might be worth taking into account.

Written by Robert Patos for

Words by Staff
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