How to Measure Pant Length | Accurate Measurement for Pant Size

Measuring tape for pants

Written By Sonia Su

In the world of fashion, the devil truly lies in the details. The perfect pair of pants can make a world of difference in your overall appearance and comfort, but achieving that ideal fit often requires more than just grabbing your usual size off the rack. In fact, the average American man wears pants that are often too big.

Whether you're a seasoned fashionista or a casual dresser, knowing how to measure pant length is a fundamental skill that can save you from fashion faux pas and ensure your attire looks tailored to perfection for any occasion.

In this article, we will take you on a journey through the essential steps of how to measure pants, trousers, jeans and more. From deciphering pants measurements to understanding the nuances of different pant styles, we'll equip you with the knowledge and techniques to confidently select and tailor your pants to your unique preferences.

Men's waist measurement

A Step-by-Step Guide to Pants Measurements

Accurate body measurements ensure that your pants fit well and complement your style, making you look and feel great. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you measure pants.

Tools you'll need:

  • A flexible measuring tape
  • A pair of pants
  • A flat surface
  • A friend's assistance (optional)

Step 1: Preparation

Lay the pants flat on a smooth surface, such as a table or the floor. Ensure that they are not wrinkled or twisted.

Step 2: Waist Measurement

To measure the waist, button up the pants and lay them flat. Take the measuring tape and measure across the waistband from one side to the other. Double this measurement to get the total waist width size. For example, if the measurement is 16 inches, the waist size is 32 inches. For a more in-depth tutorial to obtain your actual waist measurement, check out our guide on how to measure your waist.

Waist measurement

Step 3: Inseam Length Measurement

Locate the crotch seam (the point where the two leg seams meet) inside the pants.

Gently pull the pant leg taut and measure from the crotch seam to the bottom of the leg where you want the pants to end. This measurement is the inseam. It's essential to measure along the inside seam to get an accurate length. Check out this guide on how to measure inseam.

Inseam measurement

Step 4: Outseam Measurement

To measure the outseam (the length from the waistband to the bottom of the pants), start at the top of the waistband and run the soft measuring tape down the outside of the pants' leg to the desired length.

Step 5: Hip Measurement (Optional)

To measure the hip size, measure the pants' width about 7-8 inches below the waistband. This measurement can help determine the fit around the hips. Here's a more detailed guide on how to take hip measurements.

Step 6: Thigh Measurement (Optional)

To measure the thigh width, measure from the crotch seam to the outer edge of the leg, about an inch below the crotch. Repeat on the other leg.

Step 7: Write Down Measurements

Record all the measurements you've taken, including waist, inseam, outseam, hip, and thigh measurements if applicable. Note that these measurements will help you choose pants that fit comfortably and accurately.

Now that you have these measurements, you can confidently shop for pants that match your size or have existing pants tailored to your specifications.


The Nuances of Different Pants Styles

Different pant styles for men come with unique measurements and nuances that affect how they fit and look.

Here's a breakdown of these nuances:

Straight-Leg Pants

  • These have a consistent width from hip to hem.
  • Ideal for a timeless, balanced look.
  • Measurements focus on waist, inseam, and occasionally hip width.


Bootcut Pants

  • Narrower at the thigh and knee with a slight flare at the hem.
  • Measured similarly to straight-leg pants but consider the flare at the hem.

Wide-Leg Pants

  • Feature a roomy fit throughout the leg.
  • Waist and inseam measurements are crucial, but hip width may matter more.

Slim-Fit Pants

  • Narrow through thigh and calf, with a tailored appearance.
  • Measure waist, inseam, and thigh circumference for the right fit.

Skinny Pants

  • Closely fitted throughout the leg.
  • Measure waist, inseam, and calf circumference.

Tapered Pants

  • Wider at the hip, narrowing toward the ankle.
  • Measure waist, inseam, and thigh circumference.

Cargo Pants

  • Feature extra pockets on the thighs and legs.
  • Measurements include waist, inseam, and thigh circumference, considering the extra pocket space.


  • Made from cotton twill and often have a straight or slightly tapered cut.
  • Measure waist, inseam, and hip width.

Chino pants

Pleated Pants

  • Have pleats at the waist for a relaxed fit.
  • Measure waist, inseam, and hip width, with consideration for pleats.

Cropped Pants

  • Have a shorter inseam, typically above the ankle.
  • Measure waist, inseam, and sometimes calf circumference.


  • Elasticized cuffs at the ankles and an elastic waistband.
  • Measure waist and inseam, but consider the elastic waist for comfort.

High-Waisted Pants

  • Sit above the natural waistline, creating a vintage look.
  • Measure waist and inseam, with a focus on the higher waist placement.

Understanding these measurements and style nuances is crucial for achieving the right fit and appearance with different pant styles. It ensures that your choice not only suits your personal style but also complements your body type and the occasion you're dressing for. Remember, for the best fit, dress for the body you have, not the body you want.

After getting your accurate measurements, complete your look with our bestselling men's dress shirts— such as our classic formal white dress shirt that has sold out over 8 times, or this popular casual dark blue printed dress shirt. Also check out our guide on how to measure sleeve length for proper sizing.


Frequently Asked Questions about Pant Measurements

What is 32 in pants length?

In the context of measuring pant length, "32" typically refers to a measurement in inches, representing the inseam length from the crotch to the bottom hem of the pants. It indicates that the pants have a 32-inch inseam, which is a common size for many pant styles.

How do you measure leg length for pants?

To measure the leg length for pants, start by standing upright and having someone help you if possible. Then, measure from the crotch seam, where the inseam begins, down to the bottom of the pants along the inside of your leg to determine the leg length accurately.

How do you measure hem length for pants?

To measure the hem length for pants, lay the pants flat and measure from one edge of the leg opening to the other along the bottom hem. Ensure the pants are smoothed out and the measurement is taken straight across for an accurate hem length.

What is pant length vs inseam?

Pant length refers to the overall length of the pants from the waistband to the bottom hem, encompassing various style options such as full length, cropped, or shorts. Inseam, on the other hand, specifically measures the length of the inner seam from the crotch to the bottom hem and is crucial for ensuring the right fit, especially for styles like trousers and jeans.

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