How to Self-Measure Hip and Waist Size

A lot of people believe that the only person who can accurately take body measurements is a tailor or a personal trainer. While their measurements will definitely be accurate, doing this yourself is as simple as knowing where exactly you need to measure.
Some body measurements need an extra hand, like sleeve length, but measuring your hip and waist is an easy task. In this post, we’ll go over the dos and don’ts of getting accurate hip and waist measurements and using those measurements to keep track of your health.

How to Measure Your Hip Size

To take accurate measurements, you’ll need to be in front of a full-length mirror. This is to make sure that there are no twists or wrinkles in the measuring tape and that you’re standing up straight.

Where to Measure Hip Size

Most sources online will tell you to measure your hip size from the broadest part of your hips, but this is overgeneralized. First, this doesn’t work very well for men. Second, it doesn’t take different body shapes into account.
Instead, we recommend measuring the line right underneath your hip bone. The measuring tape should go over your hip bones and the widest part of your derriere.
  1. Remove your clothes and stand with your feet right next to each other.
  2. Place the tape on one hip bone or half an inch lower and hold it in place with one finger.
  3. With the other hand, wrap the measuring tape around your hips till it reaches the other end, then tuck it under the finger you’re using to hold the first end of the tape in place.
  4. While holding the tape, turn around and adjust any parts of the tape that are hanging lower or higher than the starting point. The goal is to make sure it’s perfectly horizontal.
  5. Read the tape at the end of the intersection.

How to Measure Your Waist Size

Knowing your waist size is not only good for getting a blouse altered or tailored. It’s also an indicator of some significant health concerns like high blood pressure and diabetes.
We'll get more into this later in the post, so for now, let's see how to accurately measure your waist size.

Where to Measure Waist Size

We use the word waist to refer to the general torso area. But to accurately and consistently take this measurement, we need to measure a particular line.
As with hip measurement, most online sources will tell you that you should measure the narrowest part of your torso. That, again, ignores different body shapes and can also be a little ableist.
The waistline lies right between your hip bones and rib cage. That means it should be an inch above the belly button.
  1. Remove any loose clothing and stand with your back straight.
  2. Wrap the measuring tape around your abdomen.
  3. Take a breath in and out and make sure the tape doesn’t dig into your skin or create a bump.
  4. Turn around in front of the mirror and make sure it’s perfectly horizontal and twist-free
  5. Read the number on the meeting point of the tape’s ends.

Common Mistakes with Body Measurements

There are a few common mistakes that people make when taking their own measurements at home. These are usually the reasons behind inaccurate numbers.
  1. They measure over the wrong type of clothes: Since you’re doing this alone, it’s best to only have underwear on when self-measuring. If not, wear a thin material that sits close to the skin.
  2. They depend on memory to keep track of the numbers: It seems like a no-brainer, but most mistakes can come from simply not writing or double-checking your measurements.
  3. They stand in unusual postures while measuring: Things like tucking your stomach in, leaning on one leg more than the other, or leaning forward while taking chest measurements. This is why you need a full-length mirror.
  4. They wrap the measuring tape too tight or too loose: The measuring tape should be just tight enough around your waist or hip for you to be able to put one finger between the tape and your body.
  5. They use the wrong type of measuring tape: A soft measuring tape is a must for body measurements. An even better option is a body measurement tape. If you use a metal measuring tape, even though it can wrap around your body, it’ll look closer to a polygon than a circle which will throw measurements off.

Waist-to-Hip Ratio

Calculating your waist-to-hip ratio or WHR can be an early warning for a health issue. It’s out of balance if your waistline is larger than it should be in relation to your hip size.
This indicates that there is too much visceral fat, which is fat stored around your abdominal organs. This type of fat is linked to numerous health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even Alzheimer’s.

How is it Calculated?

The calculation is simple. Just divide the waistline measurement by hip size. For example, if someone’s waistline is 30 inches and their hip size is 38 inches, the calculation would then be:
  • Waistline ÷ hip size = WHR
  • 30 ÷ 38 = 0.78

What’s a Good WHR Ratio?

A healthy WHR is anything below 0.95 for men and 0.85 for women. Having a higher waist-hip ratio might mean that a physical check is in order. Thankfully, there are lots of exercises and nutritional plans made with this number in mind.


While you might have clicked on this blog post just to check your size on some online clothes shop, we hope we’ve brought this vital number to your attention.
Knowing that you have a high waist-hip ratio can warn you of severe health issues down the line. In fact, WHR has now been considered a better indicator of health conditions than the popular BMI. But if you have a healthy WHR, maybe a celebratory treat or even a dance for your health is a fun idea!