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How to Find Your Natural Waist

Most people think their natural waist is the mid-point of their torso, which isn’t true. If you have a high waist, your “natural waist” will be closer to your breast. If you have a low waist your “natural” waist will be closer to your hip.

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My grandma Doonie has been a seamstress for over 70 years. Every time I go home to Minneapolis, she drops little pearls of fashion/garment/shopping related wisdom. On a recent trip home, Doonie gave me these simple instructions on finding your natural waist.

Steps to Finding Your Natural Waist

how to find your natural waist in four steps

Finding your natural waist isn’t hard (if you know where to look). Grab a fabric tape measure and follow these steps:

  1. Place a tape measure around your middle torso.
  2. Bend your body to the side (either left or right — it doesn’t matter)
  3. Feel for a crease/indentation/fold below your breast, but above the top of your hips. For those of us with love handles, you’re looking for the fold closest to the the top of your hips.
  4. Move to the tape measure to where this fold occurs.
  5. You’ve found it! This is your natural waist. While you’re there, take a look at the number on your tape measure. It might come in handy to know your waist size.

Here’s a video that gives you a bit more detail on how to measure your natural waist.

And a Word on Finding  Your Lower Waist

Thanks to the wonderful (or not so wonderful) invention of low-waist jeans, you might wonder how to find your “lower waist.”  Don’t fret, your lower waist is simply the point 2 or inches below your natural waist. The easiest way to find your lower waist is to put your pointer finger on your natural waist, then add your middle finger and index finger. The point where your index finger lands is your lower waist. Most jeans (sad, I know) hit at your lower waist, which is problematic if you have a love pouch.

About Jeans…

99% of waist questions are in regards to jeans. For the most part, if you’ve got a pouchy middle, a larger backside, etc., stick with the higher rise jeans. If you have a smaller backside, flatter stomach, stick with the lower rise. We found this awesome infographic on jean rises from the site joy of clothes.

Different jean rises

Looking for more great tips? Check these out…
How to Wear Skinny Jeans: If You Have Large Thighs
How to Wear Skinny Jeans: If You’re Petite

Goddess On Knees

Friday 29th of November 2013

Really helpful guide. Thanks! Buying a David Meister gown from SAKS online and this really helped.


Wednesday 16th of February 2011

I agree! Now all we need to do is get the fashion designers, especially those who design jeans and pants to learn this fact. Our "natural waist" is NOT across the navel!!! Waistbands that sit across the hipbones promote "muffin tops" and look AWFUL on anyone who has feminine curves below the waist and woe to those like me who are just plain middle-aged fluffy!


Saturday 4th of September 2010

Super helpful! Thanks =)

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