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The Three Measurements You Need to Buy Better-Fitting Menswear Online

Learn how to measure your sleeve length, chest and inseam

It takes less than 30 minutes to make yourself a snack. No, not in the domestic goddess Rachael Ray way. With just a few small measurements, you can upgrade your online-shopping game when you know how to measure sleeve length, chest and inseam — and learn what looks best on you. Get ready to serve, because you’re what’s on the menu tonight. 

Of course, it’s not as simple as it should be. A small T-shirt at Topman is notably tighter than a small at J.Crew. The best way to avoid accidentally ordering a size too small and feeling bad about your body is to get those measurements correct from the start. 

Even better, knowing your perfect fit means you can pass on that knowledge to family and save everyone the embarrassment of having to ask for a receipt so you can return the Express shirt they copped for you. Plus, who wants to deal with packaging and shipping during a pandemic? Unless you’re investing in a printer (and maybe you should), do yourself a favor and learn your proportions.

All you’ll need is a measuring tape, string, your best-fitting clothing items… and your masculinity detoxed. Luckily for you, I’ve modeled this process. 

How to Measure Inseam

Step 1: Lay out your favorite shorts with your desired inseam length.

How to measure inseam, step 1

Step 2: Using the measuring tape, start at the crotch and follow along the seam, going down the leg of the short. The length between the crotch and the hem is your inseam.

How to measure inseam, step 2

Step 3: Write down that length.

How to measure inseam, step 3

There ya go. It’s that simple, and I don’t want to hear any more questions. As for determining how long you want your shorts, it’s all about proportions, baby. Yes, the 5-inch inseam is hot right now. But if you’re tall, you might find that a 7-inch hits you where a 5-inch hits a short king. 

Look at Brockhampton’s Kevin Abstract giving all kinds of hot in a short red short: 

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Contrary to what white gays might tell you, short isn’t always better. A 15-inch basketball short with an oversized bowling shirt is a king fit. Thank Billie Eilish and her 2020s take on Sopranos style for that one. 

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How to Measure Sleeve Length

It’s the same process for determining sleeve length. Measure from the center of your neck over your shoulder and down to the hem. Okay, fine, I’ll model this too and even show you my favorite shirt. If you don’t have one of those bendy, fabric measuring tapes (who does?), you’ll have an extra step here. For a more precise measurement, use a piece of string and measure the length of the string. 

Step 1: Lay out your favorite shirt with your desired sleeve length.

How to measure sleeve length, step 1

Step 2: Using the measuring tape, start at the center of your back over your shoulder. Measure the seam connecting the sleeve to the body of the shirt.

How to measure sleeve length, step 2

Step 3: Measure the length of the sleeve seam to the hem.

How to measure sleeve length, step 3

Step 4: Combine the two lengths.

How to Measure Chest Size

The final touch for perfectly fitting shirts is measuring your chest. Don’t sweat. It’s easy. Take that piece of string and wrap it around your chest and under your armpits. Boom. You’re down. Measure that length, and you have your chest size. 

All done. Can’t wait to see all you men in your perfectly proportioned clothes.