For years I have used the same method to size my belts, and while I've always had explicit instructions on every belt listing, there has still been the odd customer who is so eager to order that they skip over the instructions and just put in their usual belt size, waist size, or jean size.
I hope that this post will help clear up how my method works and why I use it.
My method for sizing involves measuring one of your existing belts from the end of the inside of the buckle buckle prong to the hole that fits you best.
One of the most common questions I have regarding this is "what if the buckle is a different length than yours?". This is exactly why I use the method that I do, which you will begin to understand in the below images.
By measuring from the end of the buckle, you are factoring in the length of the buckle into your measurement and negating any variance that there may be from buckles of a different length.
See how these belts were lined up at the end of the buckle, and the holes are lining up perfectly? I sized these two belts for the same customer, at the exact same measurement. Both belts will fit correctly.
Now look at this method. Most leatherworkers out there use this method, where the measurement is taken from where the leather folds over the buckle.
The sizes are skewed by exactly the difference in buckle length. This isn't good, because as you can see, buckles can vary quite a bit in length.
The reason for this is as demonstrated above. When you are wearing a belt, the tension is held at the end of the belt buckle; this is where the hole meets the prong.
The tension is not held here, where the leather folds over the buckle.
Between vanity sizing*, your actual waist measurement, and whatever the tagged size is on your belt, there is truly no consistency in sizing. My sizing method does a really great job at getting rid of any guesswork, but it is 100% crucial that you follow my instructions.
You can expect your belt measurement to be somewhere in the vicinity of 3" above what you think your waist measurement is. For example, I wear anywhere between a tagged size 32 to 34" jean, this is dependent on the brand and just how much vanity sizing they use. My true waist is approximately in the 34" range, but my best fitting jeans when measured flat, end up being around 35". That said, my belt measurement is 37.5"
If you ever have any doubts about your belt measurement, I encourage you to contact me. I am always happy to help ensure that you end up with a great fitting bespoke belt.
*Vanity sizing is the term used for brands that have a markedly smaller tag size than their actual measurement. Not all brands use vanity sizing, but many do. I once had a pair of jeans in tagged size 31 that actually measured 35". This tactic was developed to make shoppers feel skinnier than they are, and for some reason, it's stuck around.