If your brother or good friend asks you to be the best man at his wedding, you don’t want to leave finding the right tux at the last minute. Unless you already have a nice tuxedo tucked away in your closet, you will need to figure out your size and head to a rental or menswear shop to make sure you can find the perfect outfit in time! Fortunately, learning how to measure for tuxedos is pretty easy.
Tuxedos have a two-part size that includes an even-numbered chest size for the jacket and a letter indicating the length of the jacket. But several other key measurements, including neck size and sleeve length, will help with the perfect fit. It is also important to take accurate waist, inseam, and outseam measurements for the matching tuxedo pants.
In this article, you will learn how tuxedo sizes work. You will discover the ten most important measurements to take when renting or buying a tux. Finally, you will find tips on how to get the right size in tuxedo accessories like a vest.
How Do Tux Sizes Work?
Tuxedos have a size label that includes an even number and a letter, such as 36R. The number tells you the chest size of the jacket and the letter means the length of the jacket.
The official tux size does not tell you anything about the pants, though all tuxedos include pants and a jacket! This means that you have to do a bit of research and make sure you look at the size chart before making a purchase or committing to a rental. The size chart provided in most online product descriptions or rental websites will give you more pant measurements.
Tuxes in a size range equivalent to small through large usually have a chest size ranging from 34 to 52, though many places also offer extra large sizes, which can reach as high as a chest size of 70. The chest size is not the same as the actual chest measurement of the jacket, though!
The letter portion of the size label tells you the length of the jacket. Most tux brands offer short, regular, or long jackets. As you might expect, the letters in the size label indicate these varying lengths–S for short, R for regular, and L for long. If you have bought a suit jacket before, you will find this sizing system quite familiar.
The jacket size often serves as the official size of the whole tux, and rentals will estimate that pants should fit you based on the average weights and heights of most people who fit that size of a jacket. But you can also check out the size of the pants, especially if you want to buy a tux.
In some cases, you will find information on just the waist size of the pants. In other cases, you may find this number followed by a second number, which tells you the inner leg length of the pants as well.
Most of the time, if you plan to buy a tux, the pants will arrive unhemmed so that you can get them tailored to precisely fit your height. Because of this, the seller may not include a leg length.
A properly fitted tuxedo jacket will outline your shoulders without straining or wrinkling across your back. The lapels will lie flat down the front of your torso. And the sleeves will end just at your wrist bone, allowing a bit of the shirt sleeve to peek out.
One last thing to remember while you shop for a tux in the perfect size is that tuxedos, just like suits, can come in various fits. For instance, a modern or tailored fit will contour to the shape of your body more visibly, while a classic or regular cut will often have a looser shape that can hide a belly or provide easier movement.
How to Measure for Tuxedo: 10 Key Measurements
The best way to find the right tuxedo size is to measure yourself and compare those measurements to a size chart. Because a tux includes both jacket and pants, you need to take several key measurements like chest and waist as well as sleeve length and leg length.
If you’re in a hurry and only have time to take one quick measurement, you should always start with your chest width. This key measurement is used as the size for most tuxedoes and will help you quickly pinpoint the right tux for you.
- Stand with your arms loose at your sides, shoulders relaxed but straight. Try not to tense or flex your chest.
- Wrap a flexible tape measure around your chest right beneath your armpits or the widest part of the chest.
- Keep the tape level as it circles around your body.
- Pull the tape in a snug circle around you, but don’t let it pinch into your skin.
- Write down the measurement where the two ends of the tape meet up. You may need to round up to the nearest even number in inches to find a chest size in tux jackets.
In some cases, especially if you want to order a custom tux online, the tailor may also request an overarm chest measurement.
- You want to start at the same point on your torso, at the widest section of the chest–usually right at the armpit level. But this time, start on the outside of your arm.
- Hold the tape on your arm and wrap the other end around your back.
- This measurement works more easily if you ask someone else to help you. If you can’t, make sure you keep the level around your back.
- Stretch the tape over your second arm at the same point and then across your chest, back to the starting point.
- Write down the overarm measurement.
The key thing to remember when measuring your neck is that you don’t want to pull the tape too tight for this one, as the measurement simulates the way a shirt collar should fit your neck.
- Locate the widest part of your neck. Usually, this is right above where your neck meets your shoulders or below your Adam’s apple.
- Starting at this point, wrap the tape around your neck and pull it lightly into a circle.
- Next, place two fingers between your skin and the tape.
- Pull the tape more snuggly now that you have your fingers under it.
- Write down the measurement.
The best length for a tux jacket will cover most of your seat and have a hem that hits you halfway down your hand if you stand with your arms at your sides.
Many brands and rental places just ask for your height to determine jacket length, but this does not always work because some men have different proportions between the upper and lower body. If you have a longer torso and shorter legs, you may need a different jacket length than a man with long legs but a shorter torso, even if you both have the same height!
To find this perfect length, take this measurement and then compare it to the length listed in the sizing chart for the jacket.
- Place the short end of the tape measure at the top of your shoulder, right beside your neck.
- Smooth the tape in a straight line down your torso.
- Stop at the end of the zipper on your pants.
- Write down that measurement.
Ideally, you want the hem of your tuxedo sleeve to hit your hand right at or right above your wrist bone. If you can find a friend to help, you can take this precise measurement to make sure you get the perfect sleeve length!
- Give your friend a flexible tape measure.
- Stand with your hand on your hip and your elbow bent at a 90° angle.
- Have your friend place the short end of the tape at the back of your neck at shoulder height.
- Next, your friend will run the tape down your shoulder all the way to your elbow.
- They will need to stop there to hold the tape at your elbow and then measure down your forearm to your wrist.
- Write down the sleeve length measurement!
Knowing your height can help you find the perfect jacket length. On top of this, some tuxedo rental places use just your height and weight to estimate your size. While this method does not offer the precision of checking all your measurements, it does help you find an off-the-rack rental that will more or less fit the shape of your body.
To get an accurate height measurement:
- Stand against a wall with your back, shoulders, and heels touching the wall.
- Ask a friend to place a ruler or large book on top of your head, and then place a piece of tape on the wall where the ruler touches the wall.
- Measure from the tape down to the floor.
- This way, you get a straight height measurement without accidentally curving in along the contour of your body as you measure.
While you will find some variation in jacket length based on brand, in general, you can use this metric to help you pick a jacket length based on your height:
- Men with a height between 5’4” and 5’7” often fit best in an “S” or short jacket.
- Men with a height between 5’7” and 5’11” do best with a jacket in an “R” or regular length.
- Men with a height between 5’11” and 6’2” often need an “L” or long jacket length.
- Men over 6’3” usually need a custom or extra-long length in the tux jacket.
The most important measurement for tuxedo pants is the waist measurement. You will notice that many companies selling or renting tuxedos only list this measurement for the pants because you do not need to know the length if you plan to get the pants hemmed to fit you.
- Take this measurement in your underwear. Stand with your feet flat on the floor and use a mirror to help you locate your natural waist. You want to find the point where dress pants normally sit on your waist, above your hips.
- Breathe out lightly and don’t flex your stomach.
- Wrap the tape firmly around your torso at this point.
- Write down the number.
You may want to verify the outseam measurement of the tuxedo pants to make sure the overall length will fit the length of your legs. You do not often need this measurement if you plan to buy a tux, but it matters more with rental tuxes that come pre-hemmed.
The outseam on a pair of pants means the distance down the outside edge of the pants from the waistband all the way down the outer leg to the hem.
If you have a pair of dress pants that fits you well, one easy way to get this measurement is to measure the pants!
- Fold the pants in half longways and smooth them on a flat surface like a table. Make sure they do not have any big wrinkles.
- Locate the outer side seam on the pants.
- Place the short end of the tape at the hem of the pants on top of this seam. Use a paperweight or similar object to hold the tape here.
- Smooth the tape up the length of the side seam to the top of the waistband.
- Write down that measurement.
If you don’t have pants to measure, no worries! You can take this measurement on yourself easily. Just hold the short end of the tape at your waist and let the other end drop to the floor. Then subtract two inches from that waist-to-floor measurement to find your outseam.
The inseam measurement tells you the official length of the tuxedo pants. This measurement tells you the distance between the crotch seam of the pants and the hem at the inner leg. The best way to take this measurement is to put on a pair of dress pants so you can see the seams as you take your own measurements.
If you plan to rent or buy an off-the-rack tux, the pant size will list the waist measurement first, followed by a second number. This second number will tell you the inseam, like this: 30 X 32. This is the pant sizing system used for men’s dress pants and jeans.
- While wearing a pair of dress pants that fit snuggly without extra fabric pooling around you, locate the crotch seam or the place where the pant legs connect together.
- Measure from here all the down to the inner seam of the pant leg to the hem.
- Write down the measurement.
To measure your weight, all you need to do is step on a scale! Some tux rental places and even some off-the-rack tuxedo brands you can buy use your height and weight to estimate your size.
This is not the best way to find a tux that fits you perfectly, especially if you want a more fitted style that outlines the shape of your chest and waist. But if you have no option except the one-size-fits-all approach, submit your height and weight and hope for the best!
Tux Accessories Measurements
Whether you plan to rent or buy a tuxedo, you will need key accessories like a tuxedo shirt to go with it. You may also need a vest or cummerbund, especially for a prom outfit or as part of a wedding party.
Finding a tuxedo vest is a cinch if you already measured yourself for a tux jacket because the vest uses the same chest measurement as its size! For example, if you know that you have a 42-inch chest size for your jacket, you will also get a size 42 vest.
In some cases, the brand may use chest measurements instead to determine small, medium, and large sizes. This could vary slightly from brand to brand, but the measurements usually align like this:
Tuxedo shirts use a neck measurement to determine size. Of course, you can also find key measurements like the chest width and sleeve length listed in a sizing chart, and you should also check those to make sure the whole garment will fit you!
Tuxedo shirts often look fancier than regular dress shirts. They may have black buttons on a white shirt or elegant details like tiny pleats or ruffles across the chest.
- Neck measurements between 14 and 14 ½” mean a size Small tux shirt.
- Neck measurements of 15 o 15 ½” will have a medium size.
- Neck measurements of 16 to 16 ½” will indicate a Large size tux shirt.
Your cummerbund size is based on your waist measurement, but most cummerbunds will have an adjustable buckle or elastic at the center of the back to help you find the perfect fit.
A cummerbund is like an extra-wide fabric belt or a waist sash. This black-tie accessory became popular as part of a British military uniform when Britain colonized India. Still, it quickly seeped into popular culture as a way to cover the waistband of dress pants when wearing a smoking jacket or tuxedo jacket.
You can wear a cummerbund to pretty much any black-tie event. If your tux shirt has ruffles, you should always select a cummerbund rather than a waistcoat or vest.
Specific sizes can vary from brand to brand. Usually, a waist measurement of 31-35” will mean a small and a waist measurement of 39-43” will mean a large size in a cummerbund.
Where to Get Measured for a Tux for Free
You can get measured for a tux for free at many stores that sell suits and at some tux rental places.
- Men’s Wearhouse locations will provide free professional measurements at any of their physical locations. They make this promise on their website!
- In the past, every department store that sold suits would offer fittings for free. This is not always the case today, as some big-name stores don’t even train associates in the art of measuring anymore. But you can call your local store and ask if they offer this service.
- Bridal clothing stores like David’s Bridal will often provide complimentary measurements, but you will need to try on garments and at least pretend you want to buy something.
- If you live near a college, check if they have a fashion program. Sometimes students or a teacher will take your measurements for free as part of a class.
- Dry cleaners that provide alterations know how to take measurements. They may offer this service free if you regularly get your dry cleaning done there.
- If you have an older person in your life who sews or who likes to buy bespoke clothing, they will probably know how to take precise measurements, too!
Tuxedo Size Chart
Once you know your measurements, you can compare them to a tuxedo size chart to find the right size of jacket and pants. The specific measurements used to determine size can vary from one brand to another. But this chart will give you an idea of the average measurements used.
|Up to 5’8”
|Up to 5’8”
|14 ½ – 15 ½”
|Up to 5’8”
|5’8” – 6’
Tuxedo Size Calculator
Another option for quickly finding your tuxedo size is to use a free online tuxedo size calculator. These calculators often determine estimated sizes based on your height and weight, though sometimes they ask for more specific measurements. This method is not as accurate as carefully taking measurements and comparing them to a sizing chart, but it can give you a quick idea of what size range to shop in.
- National Tuxedo Rentals offers an easy calculator for your height, weight, and age.
- The Black Tie Blog offers an easy multiple-choice calculator where you click on items like your height.
- Clothing Connections offers a little more precision by allowing you to input your build, weight, and height to estimate your tux size.
Nothing looks as suave as a perfectly fitted tuxedo worn to a special event. If you want to look like James Bond in your tux, take a few minutes to master your measurements and then compare them to a size chart before renting or buying your tuxedo. Tux rentals may only ask for your weight and height, but this one-size-fits-all approach will not work as well as taking your own individual measurement.
Tuxedo sizes use the chest measurement followed by a letter to indicate the jacket length, such as 32R for a regular-length jacket with a 32” chest size. Key measurements for finding a tuxedo size include the chest, neck, sleeve length, waist, and height measurements.