In this article we will clarify the main body measurement points and explain how to correctly take body measurements for clothing. If you want to learn how to measure clothes, please refer to this article.

First, make sure you start from the top and proceed down. The measuring tape must be placed directly on the mannequin or the body of the model. It should not be tightened, but not hang loose either.

In addition, to get accurate measurements when working with a model, we recommend they wear only underwear or very light clothing at the time of the measurement.

Of course, size charts for different types of garments require different measurements. So let’s take a look at the main body measurements, from the most to the least common.

How to take body measurements. Primary measurements.

These are the most used in the fashion industry, and the ones you want to make sure are added to your size charts.


Shoulder width

Measure the width of the shoulders, starting from the outermost lateral point of the left shoulder, to the outermost lateral point of the right shoulder. The tape measure should follow the natural curve of the back, crossing the most protruding bone under the neck

Bust circumference (also called chest circumference)

With the tape parallel to the floor, measure around the largest point of the bust to get the circumference of the bust. If you are taking the measurement on a model, make sure they keep the arms down and to take the measurement during inhalation.

Waist circumference

The waist circumference should be taken at the narrowest point of the trunk, which is often, but not always, just above the belly button.

Hip circumference

The hip circumference should be taken by aligning the tape measure at the height of the maximum projection of the buttocks. Make sure to keep the measuring tape parallel to the floor.

Arm length

Make sure the model’s arm is relaxed, with the hand positioned in front of the hip so that the arm is slightly bent. Start from the outermost side point of the shoulder and measure past the elbow up to the wrist bone, following the lateral profile of the arm.

Leg length

This measurement should be made with the legs slightly spread. Measure from the crotch to the ankle, following the line of the inside leg and keeping the tape measure close to the body.

How to take body measurements. Secondary measurements.

Depending on your product and style, you might also want to consider adding some extra measurement points to give clearer indications about your garment dimensions to your shoppers.

Neck circumference

To measure the neck circumference the tape measure should be passed gently around the neck and placed at the widest part of it.  The measuring tape should be kept soft enough to fit a finger between the neck and the tape itself. It is important that the neck is in its natural position and therefore relaxed.

Top of bust (also called upper chest)

Measurement of the chest circumference taken above the breast, under the armpits, with the model standing upright with arms down. The measurement tape should be kept parallel to the floor.

Bust depth

This is the measurement of the line from the center of the shoulder to the nipple.

Under bust

This measurement is the circumference of the bust measured below the breast, at its attachment, right where the bra sits. Make sure the measuring tape is parallel to the floor.

Bust spread

This measurement is also called “aphex to aphex”, and it is the distance between the two nipples, taken parallel to the floor.

Bicep circumference

With the arms extended along the sides, measure the circumference of the bicep at the widest point above the elbow.

Shoulder length

Measure the shoulder length by measuring from the neckline to the shoulder bone.


Measure from the top of the shoulder under the armhole, and then back to the top of the shoulder.

Wrist circumference

Measure the circumference of the wrist on top of the most prominent bone

Front torso length

To measure the front length of the torso, place the tape measure at the base of the neck, in the dimple in the upper part of the sternum. From this point,  measure down perpendicular to the floor down to the crotch.

Back torso length

To measure the length of the back torso, start measuring at the base of the neck, perpendicular to the floor, until you reach the end of the buttocks.

High hip circumference

The high hip circumference should be taken just at the beginning of the hip curve, keeping the measuring tape parallel to the floor.

Thigh circumference

Measure the circumference of the thigh just below the crotch and make sure the tape measure is aligned horizontally.


Shoulder to floor (back and front)

This measurement should be taken on both the front and the back side. Measure from the center of the shoulder to the floor, keeping the measuring tape perpendicular to the floor.

Crotch length

Measurement taken from the front of the waist, across the legs and until the back of the waist, in the shape of a U. Both crotch length and depth are measurements typically used for custom-tailored garments.

Crotch depth

With the model sitting on a chair, this is the distance between the chair surface and the waistline. Make sure the measuring tape is perfectly perpendicular to the chair.

Knee, calf and ankle circumference

Measured around the largest part of each, keeping the measuring tape aligned with the floor. Measure both sides and note down the largest value for each measurement.

Tips to take body measurements

1. Do not overtighten the tape measure, make it adhere to the body without pressure.

2. If you are taking measurements for yourself, it is a good idea to have another person help you.

3. Start taking measurements from the top down.

4. Make sure the model always keeps an upright and natural posture.

5. When measuring circumferences, remember to always keep the tape horizontally aligned, avoiding that it is crooked or oblique.

6. Write down your exact measurements, in case you want a more or less slim fit, you can add or detract values afterwards.

If you are managing a fashion e-commerce store, make sure you provide your shoppers with appropriate size charts and a free sizing solution like Sizefox. By doing so, you will help your shoppers get the right size and increase sales in your shop.

Interested in testing Sizefox? Create your free account, or follow Sizefox on LinkedIn to stay up to date on the latest development in fashion-tech.