It seems straightforward enough to measure your neck, sleeves, chest, and waist. But just ask your nearest tailor and they’ll confirm there’s a bit of a knack to it. For example, it’s ideal to use a soft measuring tape when taking body measurements, as it’s easy to wrap around your body. If you don’t have a measuring tape like this, you can use a string instead and measure it with a ruler or stiff tape measurer.
Armed with the right tools, next you need to know the right methods for measuring. Here’s what you should know about taking your body measurements for a shirt:
Being half of a numerical size, the neck is one of the most important measurements in a men’s shirt. It’s vital to get it right. The biggest variable in taking an accurate neck measurement is making sure you factor in enough room for comfort.
To get a proper neck measurement for your dress shirt, first wrap the measuring tape around your throat. While keeping the tape in place, slide one to two fingers between your neck and the tape. This will allow some space for breathing when the collar is buttoned.
Your sleeve measurement is more than just the length of your arm. To get this right, measure from the point on your spine where your neck intersects your shoulders. Run the tape along the top of your shoulder and down on the outside of your arm toward your wrist. End the measurement where you want the cuff of your sleeve to sit. Don’t forget to allow a bit of room in the measurement by bending your arm slightly.
The length of each arm is somewhat different in most people. Measure both sleeves twice and note the longer of the two. If your sleeve measurement is between two available shirt sizes, always opt to buy the longer of the two. Too much fabric is easier to work with than not enough.
Start by wrapping a measuring tape around the fullest part of your bare chest and backside. Usually, that would mean the tape measure will run over top of your nipples and shoulder blades. To get an accurate measurement, make sure you’re holding the tape level and parallel to the ground. It’s helpful to pin the start of the tape in place between your arm and side as you level it and wrap it around yourself.
To get the final measurement, take a small breath in. This will allow for a comfortable and non-constricting fit.
Regardless of technicalities, consider your waist to be the height at which you would comfortably wear your pants. If you’re not sure, measure around your torso about one inch below your belly button. Keeping the tape parallel with the ground. For the most reliable waist measurement, stand naturally and place one finger between your body and the measuring tape.