Buying a great costume takes a little more preparation and planning than just walking around a store and grabbing the first one you see on the rack. One of the important things to do first, before shopping, is to take your jacket and pants measurements. If you have these measurements in advance, it can save you a lot of time when selecting costume fits and sizes.
In order to take your measurements, you will need a soft plastic or fabric tape measure, and maybe help from a friend or loved one. You can also take measurements yourself, but because you have to stand up straight, it helps to have someone else’s help. (Also, when it comes to fashion, it often helps to have someone you trust so that he or she can give you a second opinion on shirt designs, tie knots, the color of the belt …)
Here are the 7 steps to measuring yourself for a costume:
1) Height – Start by measuring your total height from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. Measure without shoes and try to stand naturally without sagging or contracting.
2) Chest – Working from top to bottom, then measure your chest width. This should be taken from the fullest part of your chest, just under your armpits. Raise your arms so that the tape measure can be placed all the way around your upper torso, then lower your arms again and stand up naturally. Ask your friend not to tighten the tape measure around you too much; you should be able to slide a finger under the tape measure. This measurement, in inches, is your base jacket size. The jacket itself will be 2 inches taller than your waist. For example, if your chest is 44 inches, this is your jacket size. The jacket itself will measure 46 inches.
3) Shoulder – Hold the end of the tape measure at the top of your shoulder, where you will feel a bone and where the shoulder seam of your shirt is. Then pass it directly over the other shoulder seam. This is your shoulder measurement.
4) Torso – To determine the length of jacket you need, hold the end of the tape measure at the seam of your shoulders, in the same place where you just started for the shoulder measurement, and slide the tape measure slightly diagonally across your chest. Measure the length from this shoulder point to the bottom of your pants zipper. If it is between 29 and 30 inches, you will need a short jacket; between 30 and 32 inches is regular; between 33 and 34 inches is long.
5) Waist – Due to the popularity of low rise pants, we often think of the waist to be around 3 inches below the belly button. However, this is actually a measurement of the hip, which comes next. Your natural waistline is about 2 inches above your belly button. Again, have your friend wrap the tape measure around your torso and don’t pull it too hard. Stand relaxed (don’t tuck your stomach in) to get an accurate waistline.
6) Hips – The hip measurement should be taken around the widest part of the buttocks. Again, you should be able to slip a finger under the tape measure if it is held at the correct tension.
7) Inseam – To accurately measure a crotch, wear well-fitting pants (not too baggy). Stand naturally with your legs slightly apart. Hold the end of the tape measure at your crotch, where all the seams meet on your pants. Have your friend take the other end of the tape measure and pull it all the way down your leg, where you want your pants to end. This is the measurement of the crotch or crotch.
With these 7 quick and easy steps, you have the basic information you need to start buying a costume. Remember, however, that when it comes to a good fit, you’ll always want to defer to the professionals and find a good tailor.