How to Measure Pants, Trousers, Jeans, & More

How to measure for men’s pants

Updated by Sonia Su

Finding great-fitting pants doesn’t have to be a challenge. When you know how to measure pants, you will have a much easier time finding the perfect pair for better comfort and appeal.

To help with this, we put together a handy guide that explains how to determine each measurement. Some guys might think measuring pants consists of only the waist or pant length. However, there is actually much more involved to measure pants accurately, especially if you’re serious about getting a proper fit and if they're dress pants.

By knowing each section to measure and how to do it, you can be sure to achieve an excellent fit that suits you well.

mens jeans how to measure

Guides for Accurate Measurements for Pant Size

Measuring Waist for Men’s Pants

Find a hard, flat surface and lay your pants on it. You want your pants open (not folded) with the front-facing up. Next, smooth them out so that there aren’t any wrinkles.

With your pants zipped up and lying flat, measure the distance from one side of the natural waist section to the other with your soft measuring tape flat. Before recording your answer, you need to know the proper conversion rates for men. Here's a separate waist measurement guide going in-depth on how to measure your waist for the most accurate waist measurement.

How to measure waist for men's pants

For example, if you get between 30 and 32 inches from one side to the other, your actual pants size is 28. Be sure to stick around until the end for more conversions.

To measure high-waisted pants, begin by locating the natural waistline, typically the narrowest part of the torso above the belly button. Then, using a flexible tape measure, record the circumference of the waist at this point. Next, determine the desired rise of the pants by measuring vertically from the natural waistline to where you want the waistband of the pants to sit. Finally, measure the hip circumference at the widest part of the hips, typically around the fullest part of the buttocks, ensuring a comfortable fit.

Check out our helpful video below on getting your actual waist measurement:

Measuring Inseam

For inseam length, find a pair of pants that fit you well and lay them on a hard, flat surface. With your measuring tape starting at the very bottom of one of the pant legs, measure the distance between that point and the bottom of the crotch. For more on inseam measurement, check out our full guide to measuring inseam.

Measuring Front Rise

To determine the rise of your pants, lay your pants flat and pull the crotch area so that it is taut. It’s best to pull both the top of the front waistband and the bottom of the crotch seam.

Keep this flat, and then measure the distance between the bottom crotch seam and the top of the front waistband.

Pants measurement

Measuring Back Rise

Flip over your pants and flatten them out again. Gently pull the back of the crotch and the top of the back waistband to ensure that you get an accurate measurement. Place your measuring tape at the top of the back waistband and bring it down the bottom of the back crotch area to get your back rise.

Measuring Outseam

Once again, you need your pants to be lying flat on a hard surface. You’re going to start your measuring tape on the top of the waistband. But this time, you want to make sure that it’s on the very outside edge (either side will do).

Then, follow the measuring tape all the way down to the bottom of the pant leg. This distance is your outseam pant length.

Be sure to save your measurement, as it will come in handy when you shop for new clothes. Combined with your other measurements, you can look forward to wearing clothing that complements your body perfectly. 


Measuring Leg Opening

With either pant leg, measure the distance from one side of the bottom to the other in order to learn your leg opening. It’s a good idea to use your most comfortable pants when measuring the leg opening. 

If you believe you would be more comfortable in another size, buy pants that fit your needs the most. For example, if your leg opening measures 9 inches but you think you’d be more comfortable in a 9 ¼-inch opening, you can buy accordingly.

You can double the measurement you got if you want to know the total measurement of your pant leg opening.

Be sure to check out our guide below on how dress pants should fit, from waist measurement to pant length. For how to measure pant length, here's a separate guide on measuring pant length. And to complete your look, be sure to check out our suit size calculator, how a suit should fit, how a dress shirt should fit, and how to measure belt size.

How to measure dress pants

Men’s Pants Conversion

To measure waist size, whether for casual pants, lounge pants, jogger pants, follow these conversions:

30 to 32 inches = 28 pants size

30 ½ to 32 ½ inches = 29

31 to 33 inches = 30

32 to 34 inches = 31

33 to 35 inches = 32

34 to 36 inches = 33

35 to 37 inches = 34

37 to 39 inches = 36

39 to 41 inches = 38

41 to 43 inches = 40

mens trouser


Be sure to write down each measurement you got from the steps above. With these figures in hand, you will be sure to invest in excellent-fitting pants. 

Remember to always keep your pants zipped or buttoned up when taking measurements. This ensures you get an accurate measurement from top to bottom.

Frequently Asked Questions about Men's Pants Measurements

1. How do you measure men's pants size?

Men's pants size is typically determined by measuring the waist circumference in inches, usually taken at the narrowest part of the waist. Additionally, the inseam pant length, measured from the crotch seam to the bottom hem of the pants, is also considered, typically in inches. These measurements help determine the appropriate size according to standardized sizing charts provided by clothing manufacturers. Some brands may also include hip measurements for a more precise fit.

2. How do you measure the seam of men's pants?

To measure the seam of men's pants, begin at the top of the waistband and run the measuring tape down the inside leg to the desired pant length, typically where the pants should end at the bottom. Ensure the tape is straight and snug against the leg without pulling too tightly. Record the measurement in inches or centimeters for an accurate fit.

3. What size is a 32 inches waist in men's pants?

With men's pant size, a waist size of 32 typically corresponds to a medium or small-medium size, depending on the brand and fit style. This measurement refers to the circumference of the waistband when the pants are laid flat and not stretched. It's important for individuals to consult specific size charts provided by clothing manufacturers for the most accurate fit.

4. What does 30x32 mean in pants?

In the context of pants sizing, "30x32" typically refers to the waist and inseam length measurements respectively. The number before the 'x' represents the waist size in inches, while the number after denotes the inseam length, also in inches. So, a pair of pants labeled as "30x32" would have a 30-inch waist and a 32-inch inseam.

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