Understanding Clothing Sizes (Get Your Size Right)

Last Updated on March 28, 2022

Many women find it overwhelming when it comes to a clothing size. But what they don’t realize is that body measurements are straightforward and easier than you might think. All you need is a cloth tape measure.

Just keep the tape level and firm. Measure your body over bare skin or tight clothing and avoid measuring over loose clothing.

Body sizes are divided and categorized based on height. 


Contemporary Size Guide
Size Size Bust
XS/S 2 31.5”-32”
S 4 32.5”-33”
M 6 33.5”-34”
M/L 8 34.5”-35”
L 10 35.5”-36”
XL 12 36.5”-37.5”


Even numbers like 2,4,6 are typically for women who are about around 5’4 who have average bust size and hourglass shaped body. The measurement will be based on your bust size in inches.

Juniors on the other hand are the odd numbered sizes. Clothes are cut at or below the waist for bottoms and shorter to fall at or above the waist for tops. Women buying Jr. sizes should buy a size larger than usual.

Size Size Chest Waist Hips
Small 3-5 32-33″ 24-25″ 34-35″
Medium 7-9 34-35″ 26-27″ 36-37″
Large 11-13 36-37″ 28-29″ 38-39″



How to Measure for Clothing Size?

Waist: You should measure your waist where the body bends and you can normally find this 2 inches above your belly button. Avoid sucking in your stomach, relax and bend side to side to figure out where the body creases.

Inseam: Measure the distance from bottom of your ankle to the uppermost inner part of your groin. If no one is around to help you measure, you can measure the inseam of your pants. 

Bust: Measure around the body to fully measure the bust. Not too tight, measure your armpits and shoulder blades back to the front. While measuring, avoid wearing a padded bra to get accurate measurements.

Shoulder Width: With your back straight, measure from shoulder to shoulder. 

Hip: Keep your back and pelvis straight while making sure you stand straight with feet together. Measure at the fullest part of your hips, roughly 8 inches below your natural waist. If you are aiming for a slim-fitting dress or pants, measure three or so inches below the waist area.

Sleeve length: Measure from the top of your shoulder to your wrist.

Neck: To make sure the collar won’t be too tight, stand straight, relaxed and look forward then place a finger between your throat and tape.

Sizing Differences for Women and Men

Men’s clothing measurements emphasize waist, chest and hip circumference while for women requires bust, waist, and hip circumference. In addition, for jackets and dress shirts shoulder width, arm length and neck size are emphasized.

If shopping for a tailored suit rather than a typical blouse, some of these measurements can be applied.

Unisex on the other hand, has broader size scale than typical size for men and women. This measurement refers to clothes that can be worn both by men and women. Rather than just ranging from S to L size, the size of unisex typically includes XXS-XXL.

If your choose a unisex, here are some things to remember. Men choose clothing in higher ranger while lower ranger for women.

How Do Jeans Sizes Work?

Expressed in inches, a combination of waist width (W) and leg length (L) is the most common method of sizing. For example, 32×30 inches W = waist width = waist circumference; L = leg length = length of inner leg.

Also known as Alpha or SML sizing, international sizing usually runs from extra small to extra large.

US standard sizing for women is rendered as one single number like size size 6.

What Does the Abbreviation W/L for Jeans Mean?

You see this figure in the pants that are labeled in inches. For instance, jeans with label 36/32, the pants are ideal for a woman with waist width of 36 inches and leg length of 32 inches.

How to Measure Jeans Size?

Hold a measuring tape, level around your waist while making sure the tape is snugly loose. But if you prefer a pair of low-rise pants, you need to measure at the widest part of the lower body.

Then measure your inner leg length from crotch to the lower part of your legs or wherever you want your jeans to fall. Adjust the measurement accordingly.

Another way to measure your perfectly fitting jeans is to measure your own pair of jeans you already own. Lay your jeans flat on a horizontal surface. Using the inches in measurement, measure the width at the pants’ waistband.

After measuring, double the number to get the waist width.

What size 28 inch jeans is equivalent to?

A waist size 28 is equivalent to size 6 or international size M. It still depends on some brands though, cuts or fits. 28 inches could also be size 4 or 8.

What size 24 inch jeans is equivalent to?

Size 24 inches is equivalent to 0 in US jeans size while this is 32 inch Euro.

What size 25.5 inch jeans is equivalent to?

Size 25.5 inches jeans is equivalent to 4 in US jeans size while this is 34 inch Euro.

What size 27.5 inch jeans is equivalent to?

Size 27.5 inches jeans is equivalent to 8 in US jeans size and this is referred to as 36 inch Euro.

Check out our guide 27 Inch Waist Size

What size 30.5 inch jeans is equivalent to?

Size 30.5 inches jeans is equivalent to 12 in US jeans size and 40 inch Euro size.

What size 33 inch jeans is equivalent to?

Size 33 inches jeans is equivalent to 16 inch US jeans size while this is equivalent to 42 inch Euro size.

What size 34 inch jeans is equivalent to?

Size 34 inches jeans is equivalent to 18 inch US jeans size and this is referred to as 44 inch Euro size.

Jackie Palmer is a Houston-based coin journalist and fashion enthusiast. She joined Jewels Advisor’s content team after years of experience as a content strategist, managing blogs and social channels for local stores. Jackie mostly collects and studies US coins produced during the 20th century and over the years, published hundreds of articles for multiple coin publications.