There are two body measurements vital to sizing for dresses, skirts and pants: those of your waist and hips. Although correct waist and hip measurements are not difficult to obtain, you can distort them through bad posture, tight clothing or not knowing the exact location of your natural waist. Gauging your correct waist and hip size will help you to take some of the guesswork out of buying well-fitting garments.
Remove any items of clothing that may be constricting your waist, hips and stomach. Stand up straight with your shoulders back. Take a deep breath in and out to relax your abdomen.
Measure your natural waist. As your natural waist can be a little tricky to find, Marticia Heaner, in her article for MSN Health, recommends first locating your iliac crest, or the top portion of your pelvic bone. To do so, press your fingers into your right side, just above your hips and below your ribcage. Push along to the left until you feel a curve. This indicates your natural waist. Starting from this area, wrap your tape measure around the circumference of your waist.
Measure your hips. Your hips will be the fullest part of your body just before it narrows to your legs, or at least 7 inches below your natural waistline. As you measured your natural waist, wrap the tape measure around the circumference of your hips.
Keep your tape measure snug, but not tight.
Sophie Levant is a freelance writer based in Michigan. Having attended Michigan State University, her interests include history classical music, travel, and the German language. Her work has been published at eHow and Travels.