How to take your measurements and get your perfect fit

Dressing for your size and body type are the foundations of great styling

There’s no better way of ensuring great styling than understanding your sizes and body type. Sizes can differ per brand, so here are a few things you can do to get the right fit.

Written by Sandiso Ngubane

When it comes to finding the right fit for you, fabrics are something you will need to consider as some with more stretch, like denim, give you more flexibility. 

You may find that a ‘large’ in one brand is a ‘medium’ in another so speaking to a sales associate can go a long way as they may be able to recommend a good fit based on your measurements. They will know, for example, where on the alpha sizing scale – small, medium, large or X-large – you sit. 

For this, you will need to know your correct measurements at a few key points, including the chest, shoulder, sleeve, waist, leg and hips. Read on to ensure you nail those measurements straight off the bat. 


Wrap the measuring tape under your armpits at the fullest part of your chest, keeping it snug but not constricting and take the reading. 

Shoulder and Sleeve

The tape should be placed where one shoulder meets the top part of your arm – i.e. the widest part of your shoulder – and wrapped around the top part of your back to the other shoulder. To measure your sleeve, start with the tape at the nape or bottom of your neck, down over your arm to just below the wrist bone.


The correct way to take your waist size is at the smallest part of your waist just below the rib cage, and above your hip bone. The tape should be wrapped around your body just above the belly button.

Leg and Hip

For the inner seam, the tape should run from your inner thigh as closely to your crotch as possible and pulled tight down to the bottom of your ankle. The outer leg should be measured from the point where the waist fits down to the outer ankle. The fullest part of your hips is where you want to wrap the tape around your body.

According to Markham’s senior garment technologist Lucy Carneiro, good and comfortable fit are the two key aspects of great style. “Body type plays an important role as one needs to be mindful as to what style is appropriate for their individual body shape,” she says.

“For example, someone with a voluptuous body shape may need to consider a more generous fit. For a lean body shape, a more fitted silhouette could be considered. However this is not cast in stone but is advisable as clothing is supposed to complement the wearer, be comfortable and worn with pride.”