Boys and Menswear Sizing

Many of our readers want to know what the tag sizes mean on “boys” and “menswear” clothing (in other words, size conversions.)  This is a bit tricky to answer, because brands differ in their fit. The Art of Manliness fashion blog states, “Remember that every brand has a different set of models they use to design their clothing’s sizes, so a medium in one brand does not mean you’ll have the same fit in another.” Esquire Magazine’s article “Are Your Pants Lying to You: An Investigation” reveals the size disparities between popular brands. I’ve had personal experience with this when trying on clothing from various “womenswear” departments. I’m a size 4 in one brand and a size 6 in others. I even own a few pair of size 2 pants from brands that engage in “vanity sizing.” The same holds true for shoes.

To give you a ballpark idea of standard boys and menswear sizes, I compiled information from size charts provided by some of the top selling menswear brands.

Menswear Tops (in inches)
*Click here for video instructions on how to measure for men’s shirts.
**Blazer and suit jacket sizes generally correspond with chest size
(i.e., if your chest measures 36, then your jacket size will be approximately 36.)

XS

Small

Medium

Large

XL

XXL

3XL

4XL

5XL

Neckband

13-13.5

14-14.5

15-15.5

16-16.5

17-17.5

18-18.5

19-19.5

20-20.5

21-21.5

Chest

33-34

34-36

38-40

42-44

46-48

50-52

54-56

58-60

62-64

Arm

31.5-32

32.5-33

33.5-34

34.5-35

35.5-36

36-36.5

36.5-37

37.5-38

38.5-39

 

Men’s Bottoms (in inches)

XS

Small

Medium

Large

XL

XXL

3XL

4XL

Waist

27-28

29-31

32-34

36-38

40-42

44-48

50-52

53-56

Inseam

29-30

30-31

31

32-33

33-34

33-34

33-34

33-34

 

Boys Dress Shirts (in inches – Brooks Brothers averages)

Size

XS

(4-6)

Small

(8)

Medium

(10-12)

Large

(14-16)

XL

(18)

XL

(20)

Height

40.5-45.5

47-50

53-57

60-63

65.5

67.5

Waist

21-22

23-24

24.5-25.5

26.5-27.5

28.5

29.5

Neck

10.5-11.5

11.5-12

12-13

13-14

14

15

Chest

22-24

26-27

29-31

33-35

36.5

38

Sleeve Length

18.75-21.25

22.75-23.75

25.25-27.25

28.75-30.25

31.25

32.25

 

Boys Bottoms (in inches – Old Navy averages)

 Size

XS

(5)

Small

(6-7)

Medium

(8)

Large

(10-12)

XL

(14-16)

XXL

(18)

Height

42-45

45-51

51-54

54-60

60-65

65-67

Waist

22.5

23-23.5

24

25-26

27-28

29

Inseam

19.5

21-22.5

24

25.5-27

28.5-30

31

U.S. Shoe Size Conversions
(General rule of thumb: subtract two from the women’s size to get the men’s size;
add two to the boy’s size to get the women’s size.)

Men’s

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Women’s

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

Boys

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

 

 

Anita Dolce Vita

Fashion and culture blogger featured in Newsweek's Daily Beast, Huffington Post, Curve, Autostraddle, MTV/LOGO's AfterEllen, SF Weekly, Globe & Mail, DIVA, GO Mag, Beijing Review, and Bosnia's Manjine.BA. Education/Credentials: University of New Mexico (B.A., magna cum laude); New York University (MPA, top marks); SUNY Downstate Medical Center (BSN, cum laude); NYS RN.

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4 Comments

  • helen says:

    This is great. A question about pants–since often female bodies are hippier than men’s, is there a good rule of thumb about where men’s pants will actually hit and how to account for that? For example, if I went by my actual waist measurement I’d be a men’s small in trousers on this chart, but I don’t think they’d fit over my ass and hips.

  • Harlan Miles says:

    Hey Helen,

    In my experience, there’s no real rule of thumb for pants since it all depends on how you want them to fit and how the pants are cut. Pants that a “classic” cut will have a higher rise and might not accentuate hips nearly as much. You might want this for suit/dress pants. The same size in low-rise pants could be tighter around hips. You might want this for jeans. I personally think that pants are one area where folks especially need to try them on until they find the brand, size, and style that works best in each situation.

  • Inika says:

    Cheers for doing all the work!

  • Rachel says:

    I just happened to stumble upon this from autostraddle (I know it’s a little old), and must say it was a very helpful article! However, I just wanted to help out all the other dapperQs out there with the shoe sizes. Your chart is a little bit inaccurate (I work in shoes); boys and mens sizes have no conversion- which is totally less confusing when buying shoes! Anyways. There is a 2 size difference between boys/mens and womens, but that’s it! Boys 3- Womens 5- Mens 3 or Boys 7-Mens 7-Womens 9.

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