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How to Measure for a Tux

Four Parts:Basic MeasurementsMeasuring for PantsMeasuring for CoatsGetting the Right Fit

If you're in the market for a new tux, or you're just providing measurements for a rental, taking the proper measurements can make your time at the tailor go a whole lot quicker. Learning to provide the basic information and getting a bit of background about the way those measurements are used will help you make sure you get the right cut and the most comfortable tuxedo possible for your big day.

Part 1
Basic Measurements

  1. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 1
    Measure your height. For tailoring and rental purposes, or even if you're planning on buying your own suit, it's important to provide basic height and weight measurements before taking more specific measurements. Take off your shoes and stand with your back against the wall, and measure yourself with a tape measure to get an accurate number for your height. Place the tape measure at the bottom of your feet and measure to the highest point on your head.
  2. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 2
    Weigh yourself. While not the most important number for having a suit made or measured, your weight can help a tailor better match pants to jacket, determining your "drop" number. If you're sending numbers off to a store to have a tuxedo rented for you, your weight can make the process a whole lot easier.
    • No cheating. It'll be more slimming to have a suit that fits than a suit that fits like you wish it would.
  3. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 3
    Provide your shoe-size. If shoes are to be provided, provide your size to match you with a pair of nice-fittin shoes. Other than your shoe size, it’s also good at most places if you have some sense of the narrowness of your foot and how to tell them what kind of shoe you’d like. Many places will use the following terminology to match width:
    • B: Narrow
    • D: Regular, or medium-width
    • E: Extra wide
    • EEE: Extra-extra wide

Part 2
Measuring for Pants

  1. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 4
    Measure your waist. Because tuxedo pants fit higher up around your waist than jeans or dress pants, which sit around your hips, you need to take different measurements instead of providing your pant size as you normally might. Using a tape measure, measure around the top of your hip bones and across your navel to determine an accurate waist size for a tuxedo.
  2. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 5
    Measure your hips. To make sure that the pants fit comfortably, take care to do this step properly. This can be done over your pants. Place the tape measure around your hips, where the hip bone juts out at its biggest point. Then, continue wrapping down around the biggest part of your backside. This will help to make sure that your trousers are roomy and comfortable.
  3. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 6
    Measure your outseam. The outseam refers to the seam the runs along the outside edge of your leg. This measurement needs to be taken while you're wearing shoes. Measure from the outside arch of your shoe, pulling the tape measure up your leg, past your hip bone and to the height of your navel. This measurement helps determine the length of pants you will need.
    • Make sure the shoes are similar to what you'll be wearing with the tuxedo, in terms of height. You wouldn’t want to do this barefoot, or wearing bit-soled cowboy boots.
  4. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 7
    Measure your inseam. The is usually most easily measured on a pair of pants that you already own, rather than while you've got them on. Fold a pair of pants that fits you well flat on its side, so the seams are even. Fold one leg up and out of the way, then measure a straight line from the crotch seam to the bottom cuff of the pants.[1]
    • Depending on the tailor or the rental place, some shops will ask you for both in and out-seam measurements, while others will only ask for one or the other. Make sure you find out what they're looking for, so you don't provide the wrong measurements.

Part 3
Measuring for Coats

  1. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 8
    Measure your chest. Raise your arms out to the side and run the tape measure around your shoulder blades, under each arm and around the fullest part of your chest. Lower your arms and assess the measurement. Make the measurement snug, but not tight.
  2. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 9
    Take your overarm measurement. Put both arms at your side and place the tape measure around your chest and both shoulders, just below where your collar bone ends. Feel with your finger to find the nub of your collarbone and make the measurement just below that point.
  3. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 10
    Measure your neck. Circle the tape measure around your neck and record the measurement. You want the tape measure down as close as possible near your collar line, just above your clavicle, not up around your throat. This will ensure that you receive an accurate shirt size.
  4. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 11
    Measure your sleeve. Allow one of your arms to hang straight at your side. Place the tape measure near the bottom of the back of your neck. Run the tape measure over the top of your shoulder and then down your straight arm to a point approximately one inch before you get to your wrist.
    • You also may need to provide your coat in-sleeve measurement. Put the tape measure on the inside of your arm, slightly below your wrist. Pull the tape up into your underarm for the complete measurement.

Part 4
Getting the Right Fit

  1. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 12
    Determine the “drop” of your measurements. Learning the terminology used at the tux rental place will help to better fit the right kind of suit to your body type. It’ll also make the whole process less confusing. The “drop” refers to the difference between your coat and pants size, and there are different ranges of that difference, and you’ll probably fit a range of sizes within your “drop.”
    • Regular drop is a 6 in. difference
    • Athletic drop is an 8+ in. difference
    • Portly drop is a 2 in. difference
  2. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 13
    Learn how coat length is determined. Coat length is based on height, so you should be able to know what size coat you’ll need if you know size of the dress shirts you get and your height.
    • A short is typically used on people under 5’7, with sleeves up to 32 in.
    • A regular is for people between 5’8 and 5’11, with sleeves of 32-33 in.
    • A long is for people between 6’0 and 6’2, with sleeves of 34-36 in.
    • An extra-long is for people taller than 6’2 with sleeves longer than 36 in.
  3. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 14
    Make sure the armholes aren’t snug. When you try a jacket on, you need to make sure the armholes are loose enough to allow you full range of motion and that you won't risk ripping the interior lining of the jacket if you move incorrectly. If you feel a pinch in your arm-pit, the jacket needs to be altered, or you'll need a different one.
  4. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 15
    Make sure the coat drapes across your back smoothly. Coats shouldn't look bunchy or ranched at any point across your shoulders and down your back. A jacket cut properly should work in clean lines and lay perfectly flat down your back. If not, it might be too small, or poorly stitched.[2]
  5. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 16
    Make sure the sleeves are the appropriate length. Let your arms hang loosely at your sides. On a coat that fits properly, the hem of the sleeve should reach down to your knuckles when your arms are hanging in this way.
    • You'll also want to do this with your shirt on to check that the sleeves of your dress shirt underneath are long enough. The coat sleeves should reveal about a 12 inch (1.3 cm) of the shirt cuff.
  6. Image titled Measure for a Tux Step 17
    Make sure the pants are the correct length. Put on your shoes and check the length of the trousers. They should be hemmed evenly with the heel of your shoe in the back, resting just gently on the top of your shoes in the front. They shouldn't drape too much and hang over the shoes, but just come into line with the bottom and top.


  • When measuring your waist, chest and neck, put one or two fingers between your body and the tape measure. This extra bit of space will make your tuxedo comfortable instead of too tight.
  • To get more accurate measurements when measuring for a tux, ask someone to help you.


  • Don't flex your chest when measuring it, or you will get an inaccurate tux measurement.
  • When calculating measurements, don't pull the tape measure tight. Instead, make sure it fits snug around the body part(s) you're measuring. Pulling the tape measure too tight will result in a tux that is too tight.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Scale
  • A helper

Article Info

Categories: Fashion | Shopping for Clothes