What Are Men’s Clothing Sizes?

We all know what 2,4,6,8,10 and 12 mean in terms of women’s sizes. But what sizes do men run, from “disgustingly skinny” to “walking blimp”?

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18 thoughts on “What Are Men’s Clothing Sizes?

  1. Just like women’s clothing, it’s a bit stupid to judge based on a size, for the same reasons: Different manufacturers use different sizes (this applies even to the sizes that aren’t generalized, i.e. a 16 shirt is meant to be 16 inches at the collar), different cuts within sizes, different builds, heights, etc.

  2. Harryer, unlike women’s clothing, men’s clothing also has additional sizing. Pants can come in short, average or long/tall/extra long. I’ve also seen full and extra full designations on some of those pants, as well as “relaxed fit.” Suits are sized the same way. Shirts may go by neck size but they also go by sleeve length. It’s easier for a man to get the size he needs to fit his body or get very close to it than it is for a woman. Average for a man can cover a huge range.

  3. Reassuring numbers to hear on a guy of any height is a waist between 31″ – 34″ and a chest between 37″ – 42″, with the lower numbers matching a guy about 5′ 6″ and the higher numbers matching a strapping 6-footer.

    Anything outside that range is going to get your an oddly proportioned man.

    I imagine that’s sort of like the equivalent range on a woman of between a size 2 and size 8 (?).

    For “shidduch purposes,” all other measurements are meaningless. Hand length and neck size is something only a tailor would care about. Height is more meaningful and easier to obtain than inseam (pants length).

  4. Didn’t you once mention in a post that you have a brother?

    …I don’t really know sizes either, but from having two brothers, what Harry says sounds familiar. And Prof K.

  5. 6 ‘: 38 chest and 31 waist = toothpick
    5′ 6″: 42 chest and 36 waist = plump
    5′ 9″: 39 chest and 33 waist = fit

  6. Too hard to simplify, since it realllly varies by height. When I was very skinny, I wore a 43 long suit since I’m very broad across; now I’m a 46 regular. My brother, meanwhile, is a 34 short and has been for the last 15 years.

  7. I can write based on my dimensions, as well as those of my brothers.

    Me: 6′ 230 lbs. Waist of 38 Chest of 46 neck of 17 – Slightly above where I should be
    Brother 1: 5′ 11″ 155 lbs. Waist of 30 Chest of 41 neck of 16 – Disgustingly Skinny
    Brother 2: 5′ 10″ 157 lbs. Waist of 32 Chest of 41 neck of 16 – Not as bad but still makes everyone look fat.

    Does this help?

  8. Essentially men’s shirts go by the inch’s around the neck. Their pants go by inches around the waiste(unless you live in Europe). Now to decide skinny or blimp off of this is quite hard. To figure out fit or not is a bit easier, though you need to know the height. Punch the numbers in here http://www.linear-software.com/online.html and it will give you a pretty good overview. Just make up a weight if you don’t know it… it won’t matter trust me. For instance I am 6ft(72in)have a 18in neck and 37in waist and weigh 240Lb. Punch it in and you find that I have a healthy 14%body fat… play with the weight and you will get the same results, even if you put as little as 2lbs in.

  9. It’s funny that you say “we all know” about women’s dress sizes. I never knew anything about such things (my brothers and I are closer in age to each other; I have one sister and she is a bunch of years younger than me, and I have no idea what size her clothes are) until I was an adult. I had always assumed, based on my observations and perceptions that women cared about clothes more than men do, that women’s clothing sizes would be wa-a-ay more complicated than men’s are. I mean, are women’s clothing sizes based on absolute width (or some other dimension), how much surface area they cover, or based on proportion – ie is the dress numbered low because it is for a slender figure regardless of height, or is a 6′ woman simply unable to find a size 2 because it violates the definition. I still do not know. (I don’t actually care, as I do not buy clothes for my wife, and currently my daughter wears clothes labelled for toddlers.)

    Men’s sizes, therefore, to my mathematical mind, simply make sense. They independently take into account how tall the guy is (inseam size on a pair of pants), how “fat” (waist size) and how “broad” (chest or coat size). I agree that other sizes like neck and arm length is more specific and doesn’t really convey much information about the man’s general appearance (unless he has a bull neck and gorilla-length arms, I suppose).

  10. Mens clothing is sized for three different things: Jackets, trousers (pants in the U.S.) and shirts. I shall cover each one in turn. They DO NOT change by manufacturer, since they are all related to a man’s dimensions, although a pair of skinny jeans from one manufacturer may not fit a muscular man, even if they are the correct size.

    A man’s jacket size is his chest measurement. The average in the U.S. is 42-44 inches (and strangely, it’s measured in inches in the U.K. too). A male model must have 40″ or 42″ chest size. Jackets come in short, regular or long sizes. Men around 5’10″ are regular sized, with the other two sizes having a little more or less length in the arms and body as appropriate. Jackets come in two-inch intervals: 42L, 38S, 44R, etc. Sometimes the full word is used: 42-Long, 38-Short, 44-Regular, or similar. Odd-sized jackets (41R, for example) are carried by some stores, but this is quite rare.

    Trousers/pants are sized by waist dimensions: 32-34″ is average. Trousers also come in short, regular and long cuts. Most men are regular, but men 6′ tall need a long cut. Men will look for that size on the rack: 34R, 30S, 36L, and so on. Some stores/brands (like M&S in the U.K.) do specify the inside leg length instead of using a letter, for example, 34/34 is a 34/Long. This isn’t common, but it’s not unknown. Most men know their waist and inside leg length for buying trousers, and they come in two-inch intervals like jackets (odd-numbers like 33R are almost unheard of).

    Shirts are sized by neck size: 14-16inches or so. They are a universal size and shape, since any extra length is tucked into the pants, and if the neck is a little large is can be hidden by wearing it open, or by careful tying of a tie. A man usually shops for a single size shirt, and they come in half-inch intervals: 14.5, 15, 15.5, etc.

    That’s pretty much it for all good shirts and suits. However, it’s quite common for mens clothes to be simply given a size: Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL. This is usually used for informal wear or clothes that don’t have to fit perfectly like t-shirts, polo shirts, sweaters, outdoor jackets and coats.

    I hope this helps!

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  12. I’m 56,5’9”,212 lb.,and possess a 46” Chest Normal(48” Chest Expanded),401/2” Waist
    and 18” Biceps.(What’s my suit size and and am I a big boy or a chubbo?)

  13. I’m 52, 5’11″ 190 lbs chest-42, waist-35, hips-40. I’m considered overweight by the normal BMI calculation. There is a site that has a different BMI scale based on age. Sometimes men’s sizes too are all over the place. For shirts I like loose necks, I like 17″ or more, cuz they shrink afer the wash too.

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