BODY MEASUREMENTS: GOOD TO KNOW, NOT GOOD to obsess
One of the first things to do when defining styling, building looks and more broadly your wardrobe, is to know your body measurements. This will help you to define your body shape, know what flatters your body the most and lastly choose your sizing to be on point. Also, you can use these numbers to play the lottery... you may win get something out of it.
First of all *SPOILER ALERT* this post will be mainly for women body measurements technique... not to be discriminating in any way but measurements are taken differently if you're a man or a woman. If you're a guy and you're reading this, you still can keep on doing so... you won't explode and you might as well learn something new today #YOLO
Lately, even if with the whole inclusiveness trend, I keep on reading a lot of bullsh*t on "find out the ideal body measurements", "1973 tricks to get the perfect body shape", "perfect body shape: this is how" and I'm honestly like "OMG! WTF" and an endless series of other acronyms I'll spare you.
Let me let you in on a secret: perfect body measurements DO NOT exist. What exists instead are YOUR OWN body measurements and these are most probably your perfect ones and this is how we will find out together how to get the measuring things down to a fine art.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Sit down, hold tight, I have something very important to tell you: your body measurements will change throughout your whole life. I know, mind blowing right? Also, you know what? It's perfectly fine and 200% normal even if society has the tendency to let you believe the opposite.
Measuring yourself on a regular basis does not have to become an obsession of any kind but it is a good exercise to see how body changes through time and you can learn how to embrace these changes and make the most out of it. Remember: changes are normal, there's nothing bad about it. It is also normal therefore to change your styling accordingly if you don't feel comfortable anymore wearing something. #Swapping and #SecondHand #ThriftShops are the best option ever (personally certified!) to play around with new styling concept without killing both your wallet and above all the planet.
*When you take your measurements, you will be taking the exact distances or circumferences from a point A to a point B so make sure you do not use these ones as references to choose your ideal clothes size as they are since you might end up with too tight clothes. You need to use them rather as the base you calculate your ideal size and clothes shape*
1) Make sure you measure yourself when you are in "regular" body condition. I might not have to say thing, but avoid taking your body measurements after a 24h Thanksgiving food marathon ... The best would be first thing in the morning when you wake up, before breakfast. Coffee is allowed either because it won't bloat you much and also without coffee you might not be in the happy "yay! let's take body measurements" mood and might want to kill someone which, as a reminder, is illegal
2) Wear fitted clothes or any type of clothes that can adjust to your skin. Ideally, no clothes at all would be the best (try not to do this at the office... might be frowned upon)
3) Use a flexible measuring tape and not a metallic / rigid one. Clothing measuring tapes are very good for this! Make sure you measure your body using the same system of the clothing sizing system of the area you live in (CMs VS Inches, etc...)
4) Stand with your feet together, in a fully relaxed position. Breathe normally when you are taking your measurements and above all, no tricking! If you keep your belly tucked in you might end up with too tight clothes and have to do it all over again
5) Take your measurements at least twice just to be on the safe side, especially if you did not have that coffee (see point #1)
WHAT IS WHAT
And now you're ready to start! Before measuring though, it's important to know WHAT you are measuring. The trick here consists into knowing exactly from where to where you should be measuring as not doing it correctly could give you numbers that are wrong.
Let's see below in details some keys measurements and how to do it like a boss:
A) Head: it's the measure around your head (surprising, right?), making sure it's taken with the tape above the brow bone crest and on the most prominent part of the back of your head. Make sure you don't place the measuring tape too high or where your hair start since we are all different and it might differ from person to person.
B) Neck: it's the circumference of your neck at its base. Place the measuring tape 1 CM above the collar bone and start measuring from there keeping the tape parallel to the ground.
C) Bust: your arms have to be relaxed down so that your chest is in a natural wider position. From there, measure around the fullest part of your chest, passing under the armpit and keeping also here the tape parallel to the ground. Make sure you make the tape pass under your shoulder blades when taking this measurement as far as the back is concerned.
D) Waist: for this, make sure you take the circumference of your waste passing the tape right under your belly button. You have to be in a relaxed position (no tucking in, I'm seeing you!) and breath out if possible. measure around your natural waistline, right below your belly button. This is useful for clothes with low waist but in case of high waste items like pants, jeans, etc... you can also take the measurements of your upper waste, which is between your belly button (above it) and below the rid cage. The natural waste line in the one created by the cease when you bend to one side, the "pizza stocking room" as I like to call it.
E) Hips: hips don't lie and so should not your measurements (*clap, clap clap*). You need to measure your hips at the circumference of their fullest part, keeping your legs close to each other. Theoretically the tape should be 17-21 CMs / 7-8 inches below your natural waste level, 15-17 CMs if you are petite (6-7 inches). Make sure your nice butt is fully wrapped around the tape. Make sure the tape is also parallel to the floor (use a mirror in this case to help you).
F) Inseam: This is the funniest measurements taken by tailors in movies as it starts from the uppermost inner point inside your tights *CROTCH ALERT*. You then measure all the way down to your ankle. In case you're alone, it can be a bit tricky unless you're a stretching yoga pro (which I am obviously NOT). In this case you can use a pair of jeans (because they're stiffer than other types of bottom) that are not to low and baggy and with a ankle hight lengths. You can use the inner seam as reference. All pants measurements will be based on this info to create from there the different fits (boyfriend, relaxed, skinny, etc...)
G) Thigh: This is very useful for jumpsuits and jeans to define your fit even more. It's as easy as the full circumference of one of your thighs. You can measure both in case there is a slightly difference and then make an average. Wrap the tape around the widest part of your thigh (again, NO CHEATING, Karen!) which is normally the part right below your crotch.
H) Upper arm: This measurement (the circumference of the widest part of your upper arm) is very useful when it comes to define sizing for shirting or tight sleeve items like for instance long sleeve evening gowns. Normally it's the part right after your armpit that includes both bicep and tricep area to have the full wide measurement.
I) Sleeve length: This is pretty hard to get on your own so you probably need someone to help you out. Even if you are VERY good at stretching, believe me, you just can't do this unless you're channelling Regan MacNeil. You need to place your hand at your waste and try to keep a 90 degrees position of the elbow in order to be as stretched as possible. You ten start measuring from the middle of the back of your neck, across your shoulder, down your arm, passing by your elbow and getting finally to you wrist, stopping at the wrist carpal bone.
If you manage to do all of this, congrats! You have now deserved a beer.