Matthew Konsmo over looking Teton mountains in Jackson-Hole, Wyoming.

Overlooking the Teton's in Jackson-Hole Wyoming.


Knowing your waist size by numerical measurement will help you get the correct size and fit when purchasing men's underwear online. With many stores closing their physical locations, knowing your specific size will improve your shopping experience and your comfort. It will help you to make better online purchases, according to your actual fit, use, comfort, and more. E-commerce dominates clothing sales, so returns have also become a pain. It’s very easy to take an accurate measurement of your waist, then use those numbers to compare to each company’s sizing chart to make a great purchase.

How to Understand Underwear Sizes

Before you take off your clothes and measure your waist, here are a few interesting notes about how companies create their size charts. It’s important to remember that each company has a different standard for their sizes. Also, as a side note, each country has different standards for sizing of clothing. Not all medium sized underwear are the same!

Most underwear companies use different sample sizes to start their prototype. Basically, each company creates their sizes a little differently. The process goes like this: A company uses one sample size to construct the prototype of their underwear design. For a medium sized pair of underwear, for example, the company creates measurements that they believe is the best fit for that size. Then, the company bases the rest of the sizes of underwear off that initial sample size for that particular design. In other words, all other underwear sizes and dimensions are based on that first sample size.

Underwear sizes vary greatly. Because each company uses different people as models for their designs—and because each body is different—each size for each company will be different. So, it’s best to use measurements to decide what pair of underwear will fit you, not sizes. In fact, I’ve generally noticed that there is a wide-range of measurements for a medium-sized pair of underwear. You may be a medium for one company at the same time you are a large for a second company. To avoid this problem, measure your waist!

This means that you need to take your time to measure yourself correctly, following the steps below. Then use the size guide on my website or any company’s website as a reference to select the best size for you.   

Things You Need To Measure Your Waist

Here is a step-by-step guide to teach you, or reacquaint you, with how to measure your waist. Preparation is the key to success. Let's get prepped and get organized. Secure these items to get that waist measured adequately:   

Tape Measure: Find a measuring tape that is called a sewing tape or a cloth tape. You can buy one online for a few dollars. I think the best measuring tape is a sewing tape because it is the very instrument that a professional seamstress will use to measure fit models when making prototypes and samples. Do not use a regular hard, metal, construction tape measure. Don’t wrap that thing around your waist! I am sure you would not do that, BUT I have seen people try to do it, and it will give you an incorrect reading. 
Mirror: I like to use a mirror to eliminate the need for bending over to see the measurement. Bending over moves your body into improper position, and it can skew the results, likely adding an inch or two. When the company was measuring models fo their underwear, they were measuring upright models. Let’s focus on getting the perfect measurement.  
Privacy: Unless you are an exhibitionist (not judging), get some privacy because you are about to de-robe and show off that body from the waist up. Maybe it sounds obvious, but you will need to measure yourself without any clothing, totally nude, to get the best measurement. And, remember to stand tall, comfortably, confidently, naturally. Measuring yourself in the flesh will give the best measurement.

How To Measure Your Waist

Most people don’t get this step right! I have heard first-hand from many Fortune 500 fashion companies that incorrect waist measurements is one of the biggest problems for online sales because it costs companies and consumers so much money for returns. That is why I wanted to create this complete guide to measuring your waist. I wanted one, clear method to do it.
First, find your waist on your body. Don't worry, the idea of finding your waist may sound strange, but it’s not that hard. However, it is essential to get this step correct because it will be the foundation of a lot of great online purchases.

Second, locate the very top of your hip bone. Then, locate the very bottom of your rib cage, which is the lowest bone you can feel at the bottom of your rib cage. The area of skin between these two bones is the waist. The actual waist area is fleshy, not boney. It is typically located at the level of your belly button, or just under it. However, it is always important to note that each person’s body is different.

Third, grab the tape measure, and make sure to use a sewing tape measure, not a metal construction tape measure. Hold the end of the tape, pressing it against the spot you have located between your hip bone and rib bone. Wrap the measuring tape around your waist in a semi-loose fashion while taking a small breath out.

Fourth, check the number on the tape. Remember to avoid bending over to look at it. Instead, look at the tape in the mirror so that your body stands upright, naturally. Measure three times to make sure the number is correct. 

Elastic bands come in all different sizes and fits. Companies create different size charts. Knowing your actual waist measurement will help you to look at sizing charts to pick a size that matches your waist. You’ll be able to make accurate online purchases.

Things That Might Affect Your Measurement

There are several things that you can do that will negatively affect your measurement.

Water weight is real. If you went on a bender and ate a lot of pizza, you might want to wait to measure your waist, or it will measure a little bit too large.  
When measuring with the tape measure, do not wrap it around your waist too tightly or too loosely. Either extreme will give you an incorrect measurement.  

Don't suck in your stomach to get a better measurement. I have done this numerous times while modeling to ensure I kept the job. But don't do it. If you order clothes based on this untrue waistline, you will never fit in those clothes. 

And, as I’ve mentioned, bending over to see your measurement is the one mistake most people make. As a model, if I leaned over while being measured to see the tape, the seamstress would reprimand me until I stood up straight. A seamstress knows that there is nothing worse than a measurement that is a couple of inches off because the model wasn’t standing naturally.

It’s hard not to look down. But, maintain consistent measurements made sure the clothes I was wearing fit well and looked good for photography. All of these tips helped to make sure I maintained correct measurements, which also meant I kept getting more jobs! If the measurement was one inch off, I would be replaced because the clothes would look incorrect, not feel comfortable, or not fit at all! I know the urge to bend down and look at the tape—but RESIST!—an inch off and you will need to return those underwear because you did not take the time to know your own body. Measure your waist!

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