how to measure mens pants

Let’s face it—buying a pair of pants that don’t fit is, frankly, a pain. However, don’t fear. We’re here to help make finding the right size pants or jeans easy. Knowing how to measure waist for pants correctly will save you from the hassle of returning a pair that doesn’t fit. So, if you want to learn how to measure men’s pants, read on.

Whether you are shopping for yourself or someone else, we’ll help you find a pair of pants that fits right and looks great. With that in mind, we put together this men’s pants measurements guide.

All you need is a measuring tape and the tips we provide below. We’ll explain men’s pants sizes, how to measure the waist for a pair of pants, how to measure pants at the inseam, and tips on how to ensure a proper fit. Grab your measuring tape, and let’s learn how to measure pant size.

Men’s Pants Sizes and Their Meaning

Understanding the men's pants sizes' meanings is crucial to finding a comfortable and well-fitting pair of pants. Most men’s pants sizes are measured in the waist/inseam length format. The first number is the waist length, and the second number measures the inseam.  This is also called the W/L format. Pants are measured in inches in the U.S. and centimeters in Europe.

How are men's pants measured?

how are mens pants measured

  • WAIST: Measure around the upper hipbone, above your shirt (not above pants). Keep the tape comfortably snug, not overly tight.
  • INSEAM: Measure from the crotch's base to the highest point of your shoe or boot.
  • Reminder as well: people don't all wear their pants at the same length or hip height.

Learning how to measure waist size for pants is easy. When measuring yourself for waist size with a measuring tape, it’s important to place the tape on the area of your waist where the waistband will hang. Comfort considerations and appearance will vary with the look you want.  High-waisted jeans, for example, will hang differently than low-hanging hipster styles.

How to Measure Pant Length and the Inseam

The inseam is measured from the crotch seam to the bottom of the pant leg. There’s some confusion about the inseam measurement; some people think it’s simply the length from the waist to the pant leg’s bottom. This is incorrect—this is called the outseam.

If you are shopping for jogger pants, lounge pants, or some kinds of work pants, the set of standard U.S. pants sizes corresponds to various pants measurements. Check out the chart below:


Waist in Inches

Waist in Centimeters
































If you don’t have this chart handy, here’s a tip: to find men’s pants sizes in centimeters, take your inches measurement and multiply it by 2.54. If you have centimeter measurements, divide by that number to find the measurement in inches.

How to Read Pants Size

how to read pants size

The standard metric is inches. The initial number represents the waist size, while the second indicates the length inside of the leg. Measure the inside leg length from the upper part of the inner leg to the lower opening.

Men’s Pants Measurements: Tips on How to Get A Proper Fit

Here are a few tips on how to measure men's pants. These include measuring men’s dress pants versus casual pants, differences between various fits, and how to measure your pants at home. Knowing how to measure pant length is helpful if you need to have alterations made or want to buy multiple pairs of a style you love.

High waisted pants vs. low riding hipsters

Certain styles of pants sit high on the waist. When picking clothing like high-waisted pants, it's important to know how to measure the waist for pants correctly. Using a tape measure, go around your natural waist, which is the narrowest part of your body above the belly button, to ensure a proper fit. For denim jeans, these include bootcut and straight-cut pants. Bootcut jeans are wider on the bottom to make room for boots, while straight pants do not have this space but instead hang down just above the heel.

Lowriders, or hipsters, hang just below the waist. These are usually in drop crotch and baggy styles. As noted above, make sure to use a measuring tape and get your waist measurement from right above your buttocks or where you want the pants to sit.
By following these simple steps on how to measure waist for pants, your high-waisted pants or low-riding hipsters will fit perfectly.

Dress pants

When measuring dress pants, it's crucial to know how to measure the waist for pants to get an accurate fitting that isn’t tight in awkward places. To ensure the perfect length, take the inseam measurement from the crotch seam to the bottom of the pant leg. With dress pants and suit pants, you want to be careful to measure so that the pant leg will fall neatly on top of your shoes. This will allow you to avoid getting the bottom of the pant leg dirty.

Measuring at home

When you measure pants at home, lay them out on a flat surface such as a table, a clean floor, or your bed. Make sure to measure from the crotch seam to the bottom of the leg. The crotch seam is where the left and right pant legs are sewn together.

Style of pants and sizing

Make sure to account for shrinkage when buying slacks or jeans, as well as style. For example, while skinny jeans are all the rage, it’s usually smart to buy them a size or two larger than normal since skinny jeans are smaller and tighter at the ankle than typical pants and will likely shrink in the wash.

Choose UNIONBAY for the Best Styles in Men’s Pants

Whether you need work pants or are looking for something more casual, UNIONBAY’s men’s pants and cargo pants for men will help you look and feel great. Shop our collection and order your next favorite pair of jeans today!


Shop UNIONBAY's best-selling pants!

Survivor Cargo Pants for Men

Survivor Cargo Pant: Available in 11 Colors

  • Vintage Wash
  • Belt included
  • Sits Below Waist
  • Cotton construction ensures long-lasting comfort
  • Relaxed cut gives you plenty of room to move
  • Bellowed cargo pocket provides storage space for essentials
  • Zip fly with button closure
  • 11 1/2" front rise
  • 15 1/2" back rise
  • 18" leg opening
  • Machine wash
  • Sizes 30-54



Rainier Men's Travel Tech Pants - Expandable Waist

Rainier Travel Tech Pants: Available in 3 Colors

  • Expandable Waistband
  • Zip fly with button closure
  • Zip back pockets
  • 32-36 inseam
  • 17 leg opening for a size 32
  • Water-repellent finish
  • UPF50
  • Nylon/spandex
  • Machine wash; tumble dry

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