How to Measure for Women’s Clothing
The most common measurements for women's clothing are bust, waist, hip, and inseam measurements. Occasionally you will also need a "center back sleeve" or "torso" measurement. We’ll take each of these in turn.
To measure a woman’s chest, wrap the tape beneath her armpits, fully encircling her body around her shoulder plates and the fullest part of her bust. For best results, she should wear a non-padded bra and relax her arms at her sides. Make sure not to cinch the tape so tight that it compresses the bust.
A woman's natural waistline is typically the narrowest part of her torso, an inch or two above her bellybutton. To measure the waist, encircle it with the tailor's tape and measure the entire circumference.
The hip should be measured around the widest part of the hip and buttock, about eight inches below the waist. This is another circumferential measurement, which means you’ll want to encircle the body with the tape.
To measure a woman’s inseam, run the tape along her inner leg from the lowest part of the groin to the bottom of the ankle. She should stand up and keep her leg straight for this measurement.
Center Back Sleeve
To obtain a woman's "center back sleeve" measurement, measure from the center of the top of her back (at the base of her neck) to the point of her shoulder. Then measure from the point of her shoulder to her wrist bone. The sum of these two measurements is the center back sleeve length, sometimes used for sizing shirts or jackets.
When shopping for women's swimwear, you may need a torso measurement. This is a circumferential measurement, meaning you will need to encircle the entire torso from upper shoulder to groin. Place the end of your measuring tape on the top of the shoulder, where the shoulder joins the base of the neck. Run the tape down the front of the torso over the fullest part of the bust. Wrap it through the legs and all the way up the back to the starting point.