This article shows you how to measure mens jeans six main fit points: waist, seat and thigh, rise, ankle, and inseam length.
Expect measuring to vary
Although there are standards for how to measure mens jeans, there are still variations in where the measurement should start on the garment.
If you’re providing measurements to a company or comparing measurements to a size chart, first get familiar with how the company measures—and expect some variations between how you measure and how they measure.
About this guide
This How to Measure Mens Jeans guide reflects how we measure here at Todd Shelton and is a tutorial for our customers. Please keep in mind other companies may measure differently.
Detail-minded men who care about fit use us
We specialize in manufacturing a wide range of fit options designed to help men solve fit problems and improve the fit of their jeans.
Waist is your jeans primary fit option. Your jean is built from the waist down.
We add 1.5″ to the labeled waist size. Example: a 34 waist will measure 35.5″. Adding 1″ – 1.5″ is an industry average, meaning our jean waist measurement will be in line with most jean brands. We recommend starting with your normal jean waist size.
We recommend your jean waistband be comfortably snug at first because your jean waistband will stretch with wear, however it will revert to its original measurement after washing. Example: your waistband could stretch 1/2″ the first day and up to 1″ after a few days. Starting comfortably snug, will prevent the jean from getting too loose as you wear it.
How to measure mens jeans: waist
To gauge your Todd Shelton waist size, you can measure a jean you already own.
Start with your best-fitting jean, preferably washed (not stretched from wear). Lay your jean on a rigid table (not a bed or other soft surface) like shown above. Pull the outside edges of the waistband outwards to remove any slack. Measure across in the center of the waistband – the edges of your measurement should not exceed the outside edges of the waistband.
Measure again to make sure your measurements are consistent. Match your measurement to our sizing chart.
To be thorough, you can put the jean on (the one you just measured) and think about how you would change the fit to make it better.
Fit (seat and thigh)
Fit is the area below the waistband down to the lower thigh (above the knee). We offer 7 fits for this area, each separated by 1″ around the seat and 1/2″ around the thighs for fine tuning.
How to measure mens jeans: seat
To gauge your Todd Shelton fit, you can measure a jean you already own.
Start with your best-fitting jean through the seat and thigh, preferably washed (not stretched from wear). Lay your jean on a rigid table like shown above. Smooth the jean flat, pulling out any excess fabric that may be folded underneath the jean.
We measure the seat 3″ above the crotch seam, across the jean. Starting at 3″ above the crotch seam, measure across the jean. Write that number down, then double it (for example, if you measure 20″ across, double it to 40″), for your total seat circumference. Measure again to make sure your measurements are consistent.
Compare your total seat circumference measurement to the sizing chart.
We recommend you choose fit based on the size of your upper legs (do not choose fit by the fit name).
Basic fit is our standard jean fit, similar to a Levi’s 501. Relaxed fit is for guys who have larger than average upper legs. Lean is for guys who find standard fitting jeans too roomy. And Athletic is for guys with very big thighs.
Finally, we offer 3 in-between Fits: Lean/Basic, Basic/Relaxed, and Relaxed/Athletic.
How to measure mens jeans: thigh
We measure the thigh at the crotch point, across the leg.
Compare your thigh measurement to the sizing chart. You can email us your measurements and we’ll help you match your measurements to our sizes.
Seat and thigh areas are stress areas. Pressure is applied to the denim when sitting, causing the seat and thigh to stretch with wear. Just like the waistband, seat and thighs will revert to their original measurements after washing. Account for stretching when evaluating your fit.
Rise affects where a jean sits on your waist. It’s an often overlooked fit point because most menswear brands do not offer rise options. We offer the following rise options.
Standard rise works for the vast majority of our customers, but some customers need rise increases and decreases.
How to measure mens jeans: front rise
Measure rise from the top of the waistband down to the crotch seam.
To understand the rise you need, you can measure a jean you already own. Start with your best-fitting jean. Measure the front rise (as shown above) then think about if more or less rise would be preferable. Compare your measurement to our rise chart.
Knee to Ankle
Generally (for most customers), knee and ankle options go together. But some customers need to separate them. Example: customers with bigger thighs above the knee, bigger knees, or bigger calves may choose a Straight Knee and a Standard Ankle – or a Standard Knee and a Slim Ankle. The wider knee provides extra room through the lower thigh and calf.
Ankle measurements are static for all inseam lengths. Example: when our Measurement Guide shows a 7″ Ankle – it will be 7″ regardless of whether the jean is made at 26″ Length or 36″ Length.
How to measure mens jeans: knee and ankle
To gauge your Todd Shelton Knee to Ankle fit, you can measure a jean you already own.
Start with your best-fitting jean around your knee and ankle. Measure both Knee and Ankle (as shown above). The knee measures 14″ below the crotch seam, across knee. Ankle measures just above the bottom hem because measuring on the hem may add bulk that skews your measurement.
Consider adjustments you’d like to make to make the fit better. Then compare your target measurement to our sizing chart.
Customers have different preferences for lengths. We generally advise the jean stops at the top of your shoe. Or top of the shoe plus 1/2″.
New customers can choose lengths in 1″ increments from 28 to 36. We ask new customers who need lengths below 28 or greater than 36 to start with Fit Kit Home Try-On. Existing customers can choose lengths in 1/2″ increments in any length (upon request).
How to measure mens jeans: inseam length
Inseam length measures from the crotch seam to the bottom hem. To gauge your Todd Shelton Inseam Length, you can measure a jean you already own. Start with a jean with the best-fitting length. Lay your jean on a rigid table, keep the outseam (not inseam) straight and measure (as shown above) – then consider adjustments you’d like to make.
We can help you find your fit. We recommend starting a conversation with us about your fit using our Find Your Fit questionnaire.