what size do I wear for jeans

5 Steps to Determining What Your Jean Size Is

In Fashion Blog, Outfit Ideas & Style Tips by shubham JL

Many women are constantly searching for that perfect pair of jeans, but determining your jeans size can be difficult. What size numbers mean in terms of measurements can be confusing, especially when the sizes 0, 2, 4, and above keep changing. However, there are standards of measurement to help make a solid determination.

Sizing your jeans is essential to determining what your jean size is versus how different clothing brands size their jeans. By taking the proper body measurements, you can ensure your jeans will fit properly no matter where you shop for them.

If you feel confused about how women’s clothing is determined, what the different sizes and numbers mean, and how they relate to your body type, read on to learn how to determine what your jean size is in the real world. That way, you can save yourself the time and frustrations involved in finding a perfect pair of jeans.

How Do Women’s Clothing Size Work?

Women’s clothing sizes have changed over the years: what was a size 8 in 1967 is now a size 00 today. The new size 8 in 1983 became a 2, and then a size 8 in 1995 became a 6. So how can a woman determine jean size if the standard for what numbers mean keeps changing?

There are standard U.S. size names that coincide with size numbers. Some measurements usually fall into a specific range for each women’s clothing size name and size for the chest, waist, and hips. Women’s clothing sizes may range as follows, with the measurements being in inches:

  • Extra small – size 0-2, chest 31.5-32.5 inches, waist 23-24 inches, hips 33.5-35 inches
  • Small – size 4-6, chest 33.5-34.5 inches, waist 25-26 inches, hips 36-37 inches
  • Medium – size 8-10, chest 35.5-37.5 inches, waist 27-28 inches, hips 38-39 inches
  • Large – size 12-14, chest 38-39.5 inches, waist 29.5-31 inches, hips 40.5-42 inches
  • Extra large – size 16-18, chest 40-42 inches, waist 31-33 inches, hips 42-44 inches
  • X2 extra large – size 18-20, chest 44-46 inches, waist 35-37 inches, hips 46-48 inches
  • X3 extra large – size 22-24, chest 48-50 inches, waist 38-40 inches, hips 50-52 inches

The numbers listed above are not universal, which is why one brand of jeans may fit you perfectly at a size two while another brand’s size two pinches at your waist. Do you have a pair of perfectly fitting jeans already in your closet? You can use this pair as a basis by taking those measurements and then comparing them to the numbers above.

This is because different jean brands use different sizes, making it more difficult for women to determine their actual jean size when shopping. Now, if you are actually in the store you can try on the pair of jeans to see if they fit. But, what if you are shopping online? You will need to realize that inches are more important than jean size.

Do Brands Use Different Sizes?

If determining your jean size is not hard enough, clothing brands use different measurements to determine a size 0, 2, 4, and so on. However, most companies put their measurements on their Websites, so you should first go to the clothing company’s Web page to figure out where your measurements match up to their jean sizes.

For example, True Religion Brand Jeans measure the waist of their size 0 at 27 inches and their size 2 at 28.5, which is larger than the waist standards listed above as being between 23 and 24 inches. Their size 6 has a waist measurement of 30.5, which is between 12 and 14 for the above measurements.

Trilogy jeans measure a bit closer to the average measurements of what is determined as an extra small, small, medium, large, and extra-large. This company also goes a step further and lays out how sizes differ by country: what is considered a size 2 to 4 in the United States is a size 8 in the United Kingdom and 40 in Italy and 36 in France:

  • Extra-extra small waist measures 23 inches: size 00 in the U.S., 4 in the U.K., 36 in Italy, 32 in France
  • Extra-extra small to extra small waist measures 24-25 inches: size 0 in the U.S., 6 in the U.K., 38 in Italy, 34 in France
  • Extra-small to small waist measures 26-27 inches: size 2-4 in the U.S., 8 in the U.K., 40 in Italy, 36 in France
  • Small to medium waist measures 27-28 inches: size 4-6 in the U.S., 10 in the U.K., 42 in Italy, 38 in France
  • Medium to large waist measures 29-30 inches: size 8 in the U.S., 12 in the U.K., 44 in Italy, 40 in France
  • Large to extra-large waist measures 31-32 inches: size 10 in the U.S., 14 in the U.K., 46 in Italy, 42 in France
  • Extra-large to extra-extra-large waist measures 32-33 inches: size 12 in the U.S., 16 in the U.K., 48 in Italy, 44 in France

As you can see from the illustrations above, you will only know your true jean size when you first know your exact measurements. Since each brand uses different sizes to determine what is a 0, 2, 4, and so on, you cannot say that you are a size 2 at the Gap so you are a size 2 at DKNY. Therefore, you should determine your personal measurements first.

How Do I Know My Jeans Size?

When trying to determine your specific jean size, you could always go to the clothing department and try on multiple pairs of jeans before finding the right fit. You could also measure a perfectly fitting pair of jeans and then buy multiple pairs. However, both of these options are time-consuming and bothersome.

As noted above, you cannot ascertain that you are automatically a size six just because your pair of Limited jeans fit you perfectly. Instead, you will need to determine your waist size using specific steps and then compare them to the measurements on your favorite clothing brand’s Web site to know your jean size.

What is a Size 32 in Jeans?

Because jean sizes vary depending on the brand, you may be wondering what a size 32 equates to when you see a cute pair of jeans pop up on your Web browser. Some companies do not label their jeans as extra-small through extra-large or size 0, 2, 4, and so on. Instead, they use numbers that are associated with your waist measurement:

  • Jean size 24 = 23-25 inch waist
  • Jean size 25 = 24-25 inch waist
  • Jean size 26 = 25-27 inch waist
  • Jean size 27 = 26-28 inch waist
  • Jean size 28 = 27-29 inch waist
  • Jean size 29 = 28-30 inch waist
  • Jean size 30 = 29-31 inch waist
  • Jean size 31 = 30-32 inch waist
  • Jean size 32 = 31-33 inch waist
  • Jean size 33 = 32-34 inch waist
  • Jean size 34 = 33-35 inch waist

If you found a perfect pair of 32 size jeans, you will need to have a waist that ranges from 31 through 33 inches. Many jean companies use these numbers to determine the size instead of small, medium, large, or 0-12. This is why determining your jean size depends on your own body measurements, not the label on the jeans.

5 Steps for Determining What Your Jeans Size Is

Every clothing brand labels their jean sizes differently, and there is no one size fits all jean sizing. Not only that, but even the country in which you live can determine the sizes of jeans and how they differ. This is why knowing your body measurements will help you make the most informed decision possible and help you get the perfect fit.

what size do I wear for jeans - infoThere are a few important areas to calculate when it comes to knowing your own body’s measurements, but the easiest way to determine your jeans size would be to measure your waist. Sure, you want jeans to fit well in the legs, thighs, and length, but your waist is the most significant factor in finding the right jeans size.

Below are five steps to help you determine what the ideal jean size is for your body. You will eventually need to compare your measurements to different Websites, but it all starts with a simple soft measuring tape and a little bit of time. In the end, following the five steps below will help end your enduring quest for a pair of jeans that fit.

Measure Your Waist with Soft Measuring Tape

The first step to determining what your jeans size is will be to get some soft measuring tape. The tape needs to be soft so that it can bend around your waist accurately. Then, follow these steps to complete the measurement of your waist:

  • Place the measuring tape against your skin (it needs to be directly against your skin to work properly)
  • Make sure the measuring tape is around four inches below your belly button
  • Have the measuring tape go around the back of your body
  • Then take the measuring tape back to the front
  • The number you see in the front is the measurement of your waist

If you do not measure against your skin you will not get an accurate waist measurement. Also, make sure your stomach is relaxed when you wrap the tape around your waist for an accurate reading.   

Determine Where the Waistband of Your Jeans Sits

You may be wondering why you measure below your belly button since your waist is higher. This is because most jeans fit lower on the body, not directly on our waist. However, you should make sure this is where you like jeans to sit on your body.

If you wear high-waisted jeans, your soft measuring tape will need to be above the belly button towards your actual waist. On the other hand, if you like low-rise jeans, you will need to wrap the measuring tape just above the top of your buttocks. For example:

  • Low-rise jeans will sit two to three inches below the belly button at a minimum, usually right above the buttocks
  • Mid-rise jeans fit right below the belly button
  • High-rise jeans fit slightly above your belly button towards your actual waist

You will need to know what type of jeans you are interested in purchasing, as this will determine where you should put the soft measuring tape for the most accurate reading

Measure Your Inseam

After you properly measure your waistline, you should measure your inseam to ensure you have proper fitting jeans. This will help you determine what length you want your jeans to be, short, regular, or tall.

For an accurate inseam reading, you will want to use the same soft measuring tape to measure the distance between your crotch area and your ankle. If this step is too difficult to accomplish, you may have to ask someone for help to have the most accurate inseam reading possible.

Measure Your Hips

Some jeans may list the hip measurement and the waist, so it cannot hurt to measure your hips to ensure a proper fit. You can do this by wrapping the soft measuring tape around your hips where they are at their widest.

Make sure the tape measure does not droop down or lift when measuring your hips. Even if the jean company does not list hip size, you can use it to measure jeans yourself to ensure a proper fit.

Use the Exact Measurements From Your Shop’s Website

Now that you have your waist and inseam measurements, you can check the jean brand’s size charts to match your exact measurements to their sizing system. Remember that every brand is different, and they may use small, medium, large, or 2, 4, 6, or 28, 29, 31, 32.

As long as you have an accurate measurement of your waist, you can complete the final step of converting your waist measurement to your perfect jeans size.


Sizing your waist is an essential skill in finding the perfect fitting jeans for your body type. By taking the five steps above, you will figure out the best fit for many different types of jeans and styles. Once you find a pair of jeans you love, you can use that as a basis to fit your exact measurements for future shopping.