For Men: How To Use Measurements To Find Your Clothing Sizes

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What You'll Need To Find Your Measurements

Tailor Anthony Sinclair fitting Scottish actor Sean Connery for one of the suits he will wear in the film 'From Russia With Love', Mayfair, London, 1963.
Tailor Anthony Sinclair fitting Scottish actor Sean Connery for one of the suits he will wear in the film 'From Russia With Love', Mayfair, London, 1963. Getty Images / United Artists

As a general rule, a man's measurement is the same as his size. Where small, medium, large, etc. are concerned, the best way to ensure proper fit is to know your measurements. If you're ordering online and not able to try something on first, we suggest consulting the website's size charts and tips first.

Measurements are most handy for when you're ordering or shopping for custom and made-to-measure pieces, like a suit or tuxedo. However, you will find that dress shirts most often require your neck size, so start there and work your way down (as they say!).

What You'll Need To Find Your Measurements

To take your own measurements, you'll need a cloth tape measure and a full-length mirror. To get the best results, take your body measurements while undressed or in lightweight clothing. Keep your arms at your sides and if possible, have a someone else (like a friend or relative) take the measurements. When measuring, keep the tape measure snug, but not too tight and remember to stand up straight. Below we have outlined the eight steps for taking your measurements.

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1. How To Measure Your Neck Size

George Clooney. Getty Images / Gareth Cattermole / Staff

You'll want to take your measurement around the base of the neck (or about an inch below your Adam's Apple) with the soft cloth measuring tape. However, there's an easier method! Choose a shirt you already own that fits the way you like and measure from the center of the button to the far end of the button hole. Note that in this instance, inches equals size so for example, if the measurement is 17 1/2 inches, you're a size 17 1/2 neck. For the best fit if you are between sizes, round up.

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2. How to Find Your Sleeve Measurement

Getty Images / Francois Durand / Stringer

Bend your elbow and put your hand on your hip, and have someone measure from the middle of the back of your neck, around your shoulder and elbow to the wrist bone.

*Easier method: Take a shirt that fits well and fold at the elbow 90 degrees and measure from middle back of the collar to the cuff of the shirt.

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3. How To Measure Your Chest Size

James Marsden. Getty Image / Chelsea Lauren

To measure your chest size, wrap the cloth tape measure under your armpits around the fullest part of your chest and shoulder blades. If you're between inches, round up.

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4. How To Measure Your Waist Size

Getty /Joe Scarnici / Stringer

To find your waist size, measure around the part of your waist where your pants normally sit. Keep the tape measure a bit loose, or put a finger between your body and the tape measure (to avoid buying pants that are far too tight.)

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5. How To Measure Your Hip Size

John Cho, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto. Getty Images: Gareth Cattermole

To measure your hip size, stand with your legs about six inches apart and use the cloth measuring tape to measure around the fullest part of your hips.

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6. How To Measure Your Inseam

Getty Images / Christian Vierig

You'll need a friend to measure from your crotch to where you want your pants to end, breaking at the top of the shoe in the front and just above the heel in the back. You'll also need to be wearing shoes for this one)

*Easier method: Find a pair of good fitting pants, and measure from crotch seam to bottom of pants while you're not wearing them.

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7. Accessory Sizing Tips

Getty Images / Matthew Sperzel

How To Find Your Belt Size

You can do this one off the body. Just wrap tape measure around the waistband of a well-fitting pair of pants.

*Easier method: Order the belt one size up from your waist size.

How To Find Your Hat Size

Use the same cloth measuring tape to measure above the ears about 1/2" around the forehead.

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A Few Tips To Keep In Mind When Shopping

Getty Images / Xurxo Lobato
  • Cotton tends to shrink. Add anywhere from 1/3" to 3/4" to compensate for items being washed and dried. Some makers may have already accounted for shrinkage in the sizing, so ask customer service for a recommendation.
  • Some manufacturers and stores may have their own special fit and size tips. It's a good idea to consult any additional information they might provide to avoid having to make returns and exchanges.
  • There's simply no substitute for a great tailor, because no matter how closely you order your size, it's still not custom made.
  • European sizes are 10 higher than U.S. sizes in jackets and suits. For example a 56 Euro is a size 46 US.
  • Use this cool tool to convert inches to centimeters to find your measurements around the world
  • Short men's sizes are usually sized to fit men who are 5'7" and under.
  • Regular men's sizes work best for men who are 5'8" to 5'11" in height.
  • If you are over 6' tall, you should seek out "tall" specialty sizing.

For More Tips On Finding Your Sizes and Measurements...

The Art Of Manliness
The Tailor Store