How to Measure Your Body for Successful Online Shopping

Tape measure

I have long been a fan of online shopping, but one of the things that deters me is not being able to try on clothes to determine whether they fit correctly. Knowing how to measure your body will help you shop online successfully. All clothing brands that sell online have sizing charts – they’re mostly a standard chart, with variations for tall, petite, plus size or maternity options. Measuring your waist, hips and bust will give you a fair idea of your size in that particular brand. If you’re tall like me, you should also pay attention to the inseam size of trousers to make sure they will be long enough.

A size chart from Country Road

How to measure your body for successful online shopping

Use a flexible tape measure designed for sewing. It will easily wrap around your body, and will allow you to view measurements in both centimetres and inches. This will make for easy shopping from countries such as the United States – no messing around with conversion tables or websites.

Hold the tape measure firmly, and make sure the side with the measurement system you require (metric or imperial) is facing out for you to easily see.

Wrap the tape measure around the largest part of you bust. Make sure it is flat and not tangled to record an accurate measurement.


Next, measure your waist. Waist measurements are taken around the belly button.


Lastly, measure your hips. These are usually measure at the widest part of the hip, just above the joint to your leg.


These measurements will then give you a good indication of your size for a particular brand. Be sure to check each brand individually unless you’re very confident of your fit, as sizes vary greatly from shop to shop.

Body Shape calculator - Page 001

Westfield Body Shape Calculator

The shopping centre chain Westfield has a fun service on their website to calculate your body shape and find clothes to really suit you. Once you know your shape, you can read do and don’t tips, view style inspiration, and shop for your shape. According to the calculator, I am an hourglass. I should highlight my waist, embrace the 1950’s look (lucky I love Mad Men!), and steer clear of flouncy tops that add too much extra weight to an outfit. While the body shape calculator may not be perfect, it will give you a good idea of looks that may suit your shape or body. At least you might get some inspiration for next time you’re shopping!

Tips remember for successful online shopping:

  • Measure, measure, measure! Make sure you are taking your measurements accurately, and have someone else double check them for you if you’re unsure.
  • Make use of sizing charts. Every brand has one, and while they’re not all as comprehensive as one another, they are still incredibly useful in helping you determine the correct fit of the piece you are interested in.
  • Measure yourself when wearing underwear (including a well fitting bra). This will help you be more accurate.
  • Use a service like the body shape calculator to assess your body type and find some clothing that should look great on you.

Do you shop online? Have you taken your measurements to buy accurate sizes? Which body shape are you?


3 thoughts on “How to Measure Your Body for Successful Online Shopping

  1. Great post! Online shopping saves so much time and you can find some great options that are not at your usual shopping haunt… I love it. There are some places I kind of know what size I am but the stores that offer a comprehensive sizing chart, certainly make me confident to buy from them. I am not sure what body shape I am … I will go and check out that Westfield calculator and see!

  2. Pingback: Summer Layering with ModCloth | Style Unearthed

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