Savvy Shopper: How to Measure Yourself Properly for Successful Online Shopping

Most days of the week my schedule is completely packed. Between blogging, designing, and everything else in between, let’s just say I am a busy girl. My jam-packed agenda leaves a few precious hours in the week for luxuries like browsing my favorite boutiques. Although I’ve found that when I’m in need of a little retail therapy but can’t find the time to pop into my favorite stores, I turn to online shopping.

Determining your perfect size by looking at an image on a computer screen can make online shopping intimidating and tricky. Lucky for you, I have a few tips that can help you master this shopping skill. Read on for my foolproof guide for taking your proper measurements so you can shop online like a pro, without hesitation and with confidence …

Savvy Shopper: How to Measure Yourself Properly for Successful Online Shopping

To get started, all you need is a soft tape measure to take your measurements along with a paper and pencil to write them down. I recommend saving your measurements in your phone or emailing them to yourself so you can have them readily available when you’re making an on-the-go purchase. Now it’s time to measure.

If you’re buying a top…

1. First, measure your bust, which is the fullest part of your chest. It should be somewhere between 31 and 42 inches.
2. Then measure your natural waist, keeping the tape a bit loose. The term “natural waist” refers to the smallest part of your midsection (not your hips).
3. Next, refer to the sizing chart below. Match up the closest combination of your bust and your natural waist to find your size and numeric size. (Some websites have petite, tall, and plus sizing charts, so be sure to apply your measurements to the correct chart.)

Savvy Shopper: How to Measure Yourself Properly for Successful Online Shopping

If you’re buying pants…

1. Measure your natural waist. Just remember to keep the tape loose.
2. Measure your hips, which are the fullest part of your body at the top of your leg. If you can’t figure out where your hips hit, try measuring about 7 inches below your waist.
3. Then, measure your inseam, starting at the crotch seam and ending at the bottom of your leg. Your inseam will help you buy pants that fit well and let you decide if you need to opt for a size that specifies a “tall” or “regular” inseam. If you are petite, you might be able to tell if you will need your pants hemmed.
4. Match up your waist and hip measurements with the chart below to find the best fit.

Savvy Shopper: How to Measure Yourself Properly for Successful Online Shopping

If you’re buying a dress…(You know the drill!)

1. Measure your bust.
2. Measure your natural waist.
3. Measure your hips.
4. Match them up according to the sizing chart below.

Savvy Shopper: How to Measure Yourself Properly for Successful Online Shopping

It’s important to take note of the fabrics and materials of the item you are considering purchasing before deciding on a size. If your measurements say you’re a small but you like your t-shirts to be a bit roomy, don’t buy a size small cotton t-shirt…cotton shrinks! Similarly, if you’re looking at a pair of pants that have spandex in them, be aware that they give a little (check out my denim guide here). Jeans and bathing suits are two items I avoid buying online. It is always better to see how they fit before making one of these purchases, unless you are buying a style that you know has worked for you in the past.

Some websites will even tell you what size the product model is wearing. This can be helpful if you want to see how the clothes hang on a body as opposed to a hanger. But just be aware that stylists will usually clip and pin the clothes in the back so that they fit the model perfectly.

Ready to shop? Head on over to Paper Crown to shop our new online store!

What’s your favorite online purchase? Also, where you like do to do your online shopping? Share your favorite finds and online shopping destinations below!

XO Lauren

Photos: J Crew,  Christopher Patey for Paper Crown, Sizing charts courtesy of J.Crew

Categories: Lauren Conrad, Wear
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  • Sarah Heckle

    I’m tall, so length is another measurement I pay close attention to. I like shopping on Modcloth, but a lot of their dresses run very short!

  • Charlene Huttner

    These are great tips. When buying somewhere I always like to read the reviews, sometimes people will give tips about fit, sizing, and lengths. I also make sure they have a gracious return policy, just in case what I bought doesn’t fit or I don’t like it.

  • Lililes

    It’s an helpful post !

    If you’re looking for the best fashion online shopping website, I invite you to discover the Fashionable E-shopping Guide gathering in a unique place the best fashion online spots to shop >> + 800 e-boutiques in 32 countries.

    Don’t hesitate to join me on the facebook page if you need some online shopping advice :)

  • salha jemaiel

    Thank you for this great post! :)

  • NidLid

    These are great tips! I’ve found that buying online are much harder than buying tops.
    I would love it if you guys took a look at my fashion/beauty blog! :)

  • Camille

    Now if only we could find a way to get a perfect fit with shoes!
    I have more trouble when ordering shoes than anything else. They’re usually either a little small or a little big. Idk about anyone else, but my shoe size varies depending of the type of shoe!

  • Diamenrose

    thank you this is really helpful :) especially for sewing :o)

  • Mali Erak

    This is so useful, thank you LC!

  • Danielle Stradford

    Wow Wow! That is all I can say! That was amazing. I am very petite. 5’2″”, 112 lbs so buying clothes for myself is always hard, although I love fashion so much! This is such a helpful tool. Thanks LC!

  • Donna Hale

    Great advice! I’m a petite so its hard to find certain things, online especially. Thanks!

  • Amanda Kretchmer

    Great post! My favorite destination is

  • megan magers

    thanks so much for sharing this, im not a huge online shopper for that very reason but it would be nice to start! francescas is my go to store and nasty gal has great things and so does just fab if your looking for shoes. but, now the sky is the limit xo

  • Rachel

    Great post! Here are my favorite finds for March fashion to put this information to good use:

  • Marie Fournier

    Thank you very much for this help ! :)

  • fashioNY

    great tips! i do almost all of my shopping online. i use the fashion girl problems app for designer shoe sizes… it gives your recommendations on what sizes to order by designer and style. super helpful.

  • fashioNY

    cc- check out the fashion girl problems app that tells you your shoe size based on brand…

  • Kelby Peachey

    If you have a short torso, 7 inches below your natural waist is probably closer to your knees than it is to your hip. Like me. :)


  • Susie

    Finally!! Thank you, I’m horrible with online shopping.

    • Samantha Brown

      Me too! The thing I find hardest is when the model has a totally different body shape but I convince myself that the piece would like just as good on me…

      Sam xx – how to make the most of your twenties

  • Josie

    My favorite site to shop is The clothes are fashionable & affordable.

  • Kamile Ko

    From my experience I can say, that the list of measures given in clothes store is often inaccurate, believe me. So it is always important to consult with someone from that store. For example I always buy my clothes here- Kleidung
    stock online
    and they always consult me, and even measure certain model of clothes. So you ahould do the same, in case you don’t want to pay twice.

  • yujialin

    It’s important for us to give the accurate dimensions to the seller, especially the handmade shop.



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