How to Figure Out What Size Pants You Wear!

Updated on March 8, 2016

1, 3, 5, ... 27??

Has anyone ever walked into a clothing store and seen a pair of pants with sizing like this: 28 x 33? What does that mean?

Or let us say that a lady is a size nine and about 5' 6" in height. What size pants does she look for?

Let's solve this problem with a few easy steps. The first easy step is to take that size nine and add the number 20 to it. So that leaves you with a 29. This will be the first number, which is the waist size that you are looking for.

Here is a little cheat sheet if you do not want to attempt the math.

Waist Size in Pants Corresponding to Different Dress Sizes

Dress Size
Approximate Waist Size for Pants

The Second Number: Pant Length

The harder part is figuring out the length, the second number of the pair. An easy way to look at it is that a person who is about 5'2" wears a 31 length—the "31" is the second number. Try on the pants and see what length you like.

Example: Pant Length Choices for a Size 9 Woman (29-Inch Waist)

29 x 29
Under five feet
29 x 31
5'2" or slightly taller
29 x 33
Average height; 5'4" to 5'6"
29 x 35
Taller than 5'6
29 x 37
Much taller than average; the longest length typically available

Options That Affect the Fit

Now ladies! Before you buy, remember to also take into account the cut of the jeans!

Popular cuts include "Junior Fit," "Regular Fit," "Boyfriend Fit," and "Curvy Fit."

A Junior Fit runs pretty small. This cut fits the kind of body that has very little curve anywhere, like a Cameron Diaz body frame. It fits fairly snug all the way down to the calves, and so gives the illusion of a butt to those who need one. Please, ladies, do not be alarmed if you have to go up a size to find a Junior Fit you can wear; it is okay, it's a Junior Fit.

A Regular Fit fits many body types. It is usually low-cut and slightly relaxed in the thighs, and fits the same all the way down. It's relaxed compared to a Junior Fit but tighter than a Boyfriend Fit. A 29 is a 29 in this fit; it's very easy to size!

Boyfriend Fit: Hopefully the name says it all. Men like low-rise jeans that are loose fitting, due to the extra equipment they have, and many women like these pants too. This is a low-waisted cut, VERY relaxed but emphasizing the rear. Good for pear-shaped builds or women with athletic thighs. Ladies, this cut can make us feel like we ran a marathon. You can choose a size two sizes smaller than usual with this fit!

Curvy Fit: This, my friends, is high-waisted, so for all you women with the big booty, don't be afraid, there are pants out there for you! This fit is tighter through the legs, so if you have the thighs I would avoid this fit! But if you like the snug look, then try this cut on! Typically try a size larger with this fit. unless the material stretches.

One more detail: "bootcut" means a little extra room below the knee, and "flare" means more extra room below the knee. Bootcut and flare pants usually fit pretty close above the knee.

And another good tip: The heavier the pants, the better the material! So please do not pay a ton of money for really lightweight pants, even if they have pretty pockets, because if they are 100 bucks, ladies, you have really wasted your money. Check the weight, and then go for the design, and then the price will sell itself. Be smart when shopping, girlfriends!! STAY CLASSY :)



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    • Sarah Mahammad profile image

      Sarah Mahammad 6 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Your ideas about how we should fit skinny jeans, and what kind of sizes of it we should pick whenever shopping at stores was so helpful for me as an athlete girl, having a beautiful and blessed body that's not too skinny, and yet not curvy in places. I've always known how to pick dresses, active outfits, hoodies, and oats perfectly. But when it comes to picking up skinny jeans, feel confused sometimes about sizing with feeling comfortable in skinny jeans, My skinny jeans size is 3-4 But sometimes pick 5 because I sometime dislike being in a too tight pants. And all my choices so far in skinny jeans were perfectly beautiful on me, as long as I'm staying stand by :) but whenever I sit down on a chair get up, I have to tide me up little bit, so I can continue looking great. It was a long journey of wondering "How can I pick skinny jeans & stay feeling comfortable in it?". And You almost answered my questions about the topic. Just wanted to let you know how thankful I'm for reading your previous articles, and wrote down the numbers, and using them at some stores at MOA!! Items I picked up after your article are so perfect for me, and in the same time feel comfortable. I'm so grateful and thankful and happy that I no longer make sure of my look whenever the class is finished, and I get off the chair. So grateful for finding your answers when I came across the web, googling a long term wondering question about what type of skinny jeans is for me?! Also like to thank you for the valuable side tips of paying attn. to the jeans weight first, then the brand name, then the price at the end. May you already have a wonderful life!! Much Love!!!

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      MaryParamoure 8 weeks ago

      Do you have size 18 WP pants because I am short. I have trouble finding pants that I do not have to spend money

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      Michelle 12 months ago

      This is not very accurate... I wear a size 4-6 dress, am 5'7"/5'8", and I wear a 28 x 33. I used to be a seamstress; the first number is the measurement of the circumference of your waist/hips, and the second number is what's known as your inseam--the measurement from the ground to your crotch (on the inside of your leg). You really can't guess your waist by adding 20! Especially with pant sizes nowadays!

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      elizabeth palmer 17 months ago

      I'm 5' and I weigh 86 lbs, my work pants say 29 I was wondering what size I would be? And what style would the name of the jeans that are tight in the butt all the way down to the knee then kinda flares out a little?

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      kadylady520 19 months ago

      I'm sad to see that according to your chart women don't wear pants bigger than size 18! really sad.

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      maria 2 years ago

      Im a 32 waist and 38 hips what size jeans would I wear?

    • Kschmidt profile image

      Kschmidt 6 years ago from Texas

      I hope it works out! If you have anymore questions then just give me a hollar! Was in retail for awhile :) glad to be here!

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 6 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      Hmmm....Can't wait to get into the 218 pair of jeans in my office and see how close this is....sounds accurate! Lots of information and very well thought out! Good job and welcome to HubPages! Voted up, useful and interesting! Good luck!!