Guide to taking chest measurements

It's easier to have someone else take your measurements. But if you can't find someone to help, it can be done yourself.

Measure all the way around your torso, holding the tape measure flat and snug against your body, but don't pull tight. You will need to measure the circumference of your body in four places.

If taking your own measurements, it's best done in front of a mirror, so you can make sure the measuring tape is straight.

Make sure you note down each measurement as soon as you take it - don't rely on your memory.

For best results measure either without clothes on, or through a thin t-shirt with nothing underneath.

Measuring while wearing tight undergarments such as a tight sports crop, bra or binder, or thick layers such as a jumper or sweater, will give incorrect results.

Use a dressmaker's measuring tape and measure all the way around your torso in four places: your upper chest; full chest; under chest; and your waist.

Because the body is made of soft tissue, it can be a bit difficult to know exactly how tight to pull the tape around your body. The measuring tape does not need to be pulled tight, but it does need to be snug and flat against your body.

Make sure that the tape measure is not loose or hanging, and is placed in a straight horizontal line around your torso, paying attention to the back as well as the front.

The measuring tape shouldn't dig in or be so tight that it creates an indentation in your body. You should be able to put a finger behind the tape, but no more than that.

Wrap the tape around the area of your body being measured and hold it in place.

When taking note of your measurements, hold the end of the tape measure - that starts at number 1 - at the front of your chest, over the tape that's been pulled around your body, and take note of the number on the measuring tape that is closest to the end you're holding.

On most measuring tapes the large sized number is inches, and the small sized number is centimetres. Make sure you note down which one you have taken - inches or centimetres.

Upper Chest

Your upper chest measurement should be taken above the chest tissue, with the tape measure touching just below your armpit, in the crease of your arm.

It's best to have your arms to your side when measuring, and to breathe as usual.

Full Chest

Your full chest measurement should be taken from the fullest part of your chest, usually where your nipples are.

Pay particular attention when taking this measurement to make sure the tape measure is sitting flat and straight at both the front and back, and that it is not pulled too tight.

Under Chest

Your under chest measurement should be taken directly underneath your chest tissue. You may need to lift your chest slightly to get the tape underneath.

The measurement needs to be taken around where the elastic would usually sit if you were wearing a sports crop or something similar.


The waist measurement needs to be taken at your natural waist.

Measure the circumference of your waist at your natural waistline, which is located above your belly button and below your rib cage. (If you bend to the side, the crease that forms is your natural waistline.) Don’t suck in your stomach, or you’ll get a false measurement.

The tape measure should be just loose enough for you to be able to slip a finger inside the tape.