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Written by Sonia Su
Understanding how to measure hip size accurately is essential for various reasons, from finding the right clothing fit to tracking changes in body composition.
Whether you're on a fitness journey, shopping for the perfect pair of jeans, or simply curious about your body's proportions, here is a step-by-step guide on how to get accurate hip measurements:
Gather Supplies: You'll need a flexible cloth tape measure and a mirror, or the assistance of someone to help with the measurement.
- Wear Proper Clothing: To ensure accurate measurements, wear snug-fitting clothing like underwear or leggings, as bulky clothing can lead to inaccurate results.
- Find the Widest Point: Stand up straight with your feet together and arms at your sides. Use a mirror or ask someone to assist you in finding the bony part of your hips, known as the hip bones or the iliac crest. These are the widest points of your hips and the starting point for measuring hip width.
- Position the Measuring Tape: Wrap the tape measure around your hips at the widest point you identified. Ensure that the tape measure is parallel to the ground and sits comfortably without squeezing or leaving any slack.
- Take the Measurement: Hold the tape measure snugly, but not tightly, and read the measurement in inches or centimeters. Ensure that the tape measure is level all the way around your hips for an accurate result.
- Record the Measurement: Note down the hip measurement. If you're taking multiple measurements for different purposes (e.g., clothing shopping, fitness tracking), record each one separately.
- Double-Check: For added accuracy, measure your hips a second time to confirm the consistency of the measurement.
That's it! You now have an accurate measurement of your hip size. Remember that it's essential to measure the widest part of your hips, as this is the most relevant measurement for clothing fit and body composition tracking. For other measurements, check out our other helpful guides:
- How to measure your waist
- How to measure your inseam
- How to measure pant length
- How to measure chest size
- How to measure sleeve length
- How to measure shoulder width
- How to measure pants, trousers, jeans, and more
Waist vs Hip Measurement
The waist and hip measurements are two distinct measurements that provide information about a person's body shape and proportions. If you're confused about how to measure your hips vs waist, here are the differences:
Waist measurement is taken around the narrowest part of the torso, typically above the belly button and below the ribcage. It represents the circumference of the waist and is often used to determine the waist size. The waist measurement is essential in clothing fitting and can be an indicator of changes in body fat and overall health.
The hip measurement is taken around the widest point of the hips and buttocks. It represents the circumference of the hips. The hip measurement is crucial for clothing fitting, especially for garments like pants and skirts, as it helps determine how they will fit around the lower part of the body.
The key difference between the two measurements is their location on the body. The waist measurement focuses on the midsection, while the hip measurement encompasses the wider area of the hips and buttocks.
The ratio of these two measurements, known as the waist-to-hip ratio, can provide insights into body shape and is sometimes used as an indicator of health and attractiveness.
Pant Hip vs Body Hip Measurement
Pant hip width measurement refers to the width of the hips on a pair of pants or trousers. It is a part of the garment's dimensions and helps determine how the pants will fit around the hips. Pant hip width measurements are typically provided by clothing manufacturers and are based on the dimensions of the pants themselves. They can vary from brand to brand and style to style.
Body hip measurement pertains to the width of an individual's hips, typically taken directly from the person's body. It is the circumference of the widest part of the hips, often around the hip bones or iliac crest. Body hip measurements are used to find the right-sized clothing, especially when shopping online or when tailoring garments to an individual's specific body shape.
Waist and Hip Measurements in Assessing Health Conditions
Waist and hip measurements play a significant role in assessing an individual's overall health and associated risks, particularly when combined with Body Mass Index (BMI) calculations.
These measurements provide essential insights into an individual's body composition, fat distribution, and associated health risks. When combined with BMI, these measurements offer a more comprehensive understanding of overall health and can guide preventive measures and lifestyle adjustments to mitigate potential health issues.
Monitoring changes in these measurements over time can be a valuable tool for maintaining and improving health. Here's why these measurements are important for understanding certain health conditions:
BMI and Body Composition
BMI provides a basic assessment of overall body weight relative to height, but it doesn't take into account body composition, such as the distribution of fat and muscle. Waist and hip measurements, on the other hand, help provide a more nuanced view of body composition by identifying where fat is located on the body. Clothing brands like Nimble Made takes BMI into consideration, recommending sizes for their slim fit dress shirts using height and weight for a better slim fit.
Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR)
The waist-to-hip ratio, calculated by dividing the waist measurement by the hip measurement, is a valuable indicator of fat distribution. A higher WHR, indicating more fat around the waist, is associated with an increased risk of health issues like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
Abdominal Fat and Health Risks
Excess fat around the waist, often referred to as visceral fat, can be more detrimental to health than fat stored in other areas of the body. Visceral fat is metabolically active and linked to inflammation and insulin resistance, contributing to an elevated risk of chronic diseases.
Differences Between Men and Women's Measurements
Hip measurements typically differ between men and women due to differences in body anatomy and physiology. In general, women tend to have wider hips compared to men. These differences are primarily influenced by hormonal and genetic factors.
When measuring hip size, it's important to recognize and account for these inherent differences between men and women to ensure accurate assessments for clothing fitting, health evaluations, and other purposes.
These differences reflect the natural diversity in body shapes and should be considered when interpreting data related to waist-to-hip ratios, body composition, and health risks in both sexes.
While the measurement process itself remains the same for both men and women, the key difference lies in the location and size of the hip measurements due to variations in body anatomy and proportions.
Hip Measurements for Men
Men's hips are usually narrower and more angular, reflecting a more V-shaped or rectangular body shape. The widest point of the hips is often higher and corresponds to the hip bones, known as the iliac crest.
Hip Measurements for Women
Women tend to have wider hips and larger in circumference, which contribute to an hourglass or pear-shaped body silhouette. This anatomical distinction is associated with the reproductive and childbearing functions in women.
The widest point of the hips is usually lower and may include the upper part of the thighs, known as the hip girth.
Hip Measurement Bottom Line
Knowing how to measure your hip size accurately is a valuable skill for various aspects of life, from finding well-fitting clothing to tracking changes in body composition. By following the simple steps outlined in this guide, you can obtain an accurate measurement of your hip circumference.
Understanding your hip size not only helps you choose the right clothes but can also provide insights into your body's proportions, which can be empowering and useful on your journey to maintaining a healthy and stylish lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hip Measurement
How do you measure hip size?
To measure hip size, use a flexible tape measure and wrap it around the widest part of your hips and buttocks. Ensure the tape measure is parallel to the ground and snug but not tight, then take the measurement in inches or centimeters.
What is normal hip size?
"Normal" hip size can vary widely among individuals and is influenced by factors such as genetics and body composition. Generally, a healthy hip size would fall within a range that is proportional to a person's overall body size and shape, making it difficult to define a single "normal" hip size.
What is the average hip size in inches?
The average hip size for adult women in the United States typically falls between 36 and 40 inches (91 to 102 centimeters). However, it's important to note that average hip size can vary by region, ethnicity, and other factors.
What is an attractive waist to hip ratio?
The perception of an attractive waist-to-hip ratio can vary among individuals and cultures, but certain averages are often considered attractive. For women, a ratio of around 0.7, where the waist is approximately 70% the circumference of the hips, is often seen as attractive and indicative of an hourglass figure. In men, a waist-to-hip ratio of approximately 0.9 or lower is typically considered attractive, as it suggests a more V-shaped or "adonis" physique. However, attractiveness is subjective and can vary widely based on personal preferences.