Have you often found that women’s clothing features the colors and styles you like better than men’s clothing? Comparing men’s and women’s clothing sizes seems like comparing apples and oranges at first glance. The good news is that you can figure out how to find your size in women’s clothing by looking at this women’s to men’s clothing size conversion guide!
One popular way to convert women’s pant sizes to men’s pant sizes is to add 21 to the numeric US women’s size. Women’s small, medium, and large sizes usually equate to one size smaller than men’s, so a women’s medium measures roughly the same as a men’s small. Many brands also offer a variety of unisex or gender-neutral sizes intended to fit both men and women with a less distinct body shape.
In this article, you will get an overview of how different men’s and women’s clothing size systems work. You will find out how men’s and women’s clothing sizes convert for shirts, pants, and jackets. Finally, you will find tips on how to pick a gender-neutral clothing size for you.
How Do Men’s and Women’s Clothing Sizes Work?
Understanding how clothing sizes work will help you when you try to compare men’s and women’s clothing sizes because one of the comparison challenges is that they use different sizing systems.
In the United States, men’s clothing uses several formulas, mostly based on measurements in inches.
- Button-down shirts use a sizing formula listing the neck circumference and sleeve length, like 15 30/31. This means the shirt should fit someone with a neck measurement of 15 inches and a shoulder-to-wrist length between 30 and 31 inches.
- Men’s pants use the waist and inseam measurement as the sizing formula, like this: 32/30. This means the pants should fit someone with a natural waist of 32 inches and an inner leg length of 30 inches.
- Men’s jackets include a chest measurement and a jacket length indicator, like this: 40L, which means a jacket that should fit someone with a 40-inch chest measurement and a long torso.
Fashion historians think that the standardization of men’s clothing sizes may have occurred because of the need to mass-produce uniforms for men in multiple large-scale wars leading up to the 20th century.
That said, even though this system seems obvious at face value, you will still find a lot of variation in measurement between one brand and another in men’s clothing today.
Women’s clothing does not use such simple sizing formulas. In the United States, women’s clothes use a numbered sizing system where the number represents a whole group of measurements like the bust, waist, and hips.
This sizing system starts with size 0 and usually ranges up to 16 but ,sometimes reaches much higher numbers for extra-large or plus sizes.
You will find three big challenges in understanding this sizing system.
- No two brands use the same body measurements to determine what comprises a numbered size, such as a 4 or a 6.
- Most brands use vanity sizes to make consumers feel better, meaning that a garment with measurements that seem to indicate a size 12 could actually get marked a size 10, and so on.
- In today’s fashion industry, Asian designers and clothing have a strong presence in the US fashion industry, which is great! But sometimes you may find it difficult to figure out if women’s clothing uses Asian or US sizes, as they often use the same numbered sizing system but are based on totally different body measurements.
On top of these completely different sizing systems, you will also find men’s and women’s clothing that uses a more generic small, medium, and large sizing system. Brands can also use different measurements to determine what comprises a small or large shirt within that metric!
With these systems in place, can you convert men’s and women’s clothing sizes?
Women’s to Men’s Clothing Size Conversion
The best way to convert women’s to men’s clothing sizes is to use a case-specific process based on individual types of garments, like pants vs shirts. This is because men’s and women’s clothing usually has quite different shapes as well as different measurements, so you need to use a different conversion process for each kind of garment.
Women’s clothes almost always use measurements based on the concept that the bust and hips form the widest part of the female body. Men’s clothing assumes that the chest measurement is the widest part of the body. Men’s clothes typically have a slightly more rectangular shape than women’s, while women’s clothes display more curves.
The only way to convert women’s to men’s shirt sizes is to look at the sizing charts for both the women’s and the men’s shirts and align them to find out what size uses similar measurements. The good news is that this process only takes a minute and is not as complex as it sounds!
Men’s shirts use a size that lists the neck measurement and the sleeve length. Women’s shirts use an even number as a size, representing specific bust and waist measurements. You can see that, in this case, the sizes depend on different body parts, which makes it hard to form a direct comparison.
Instead, you can compare the dimensions of the shirts using a sizing chart.
- Start by finding the brands you like for both shirts (women’s and men’s).
- Find the sizing chart provided by both brands, pull them up in separate tabs if you can, or even copy and paste them side by side in a blank document for easy comparison.
- Start with the chest or bust measurement column in both charts. Find the measurement that fits you in both charts.
- Trace across this row and find the waist measurement. Make sure this fits you in both charts, as well.
- Check the sleeve length. This gets tricky because men’s shirts often have longer sleeves than women’s shirts.
- If all three measurements match up in both charts, note down the sizes for each shirt and you will know what size of women’s shirts converts to a size in men’s shirts that fits you.
- For example, trace across the row with the correct measurements in the women’s chart and note down the even-numbered size, like a 4 or a 6. Then note down the men’s shirt size, such as a 15 33/34.
You can translate women’s pants sizes into men’s pants sizes by adding 21 to the numeric women’s pants size. So a size 8 pair of women’s pants would convert to a size 29 pair of men’s pants.
If you need to convert an even-numbered men’s pants size into a woman’s pants size, subtract 20 instead because you need to end up with an even-numbered size for the women’s pants.
This conversion process uses the typical waist measurement used to determine women’s numeric sizing codes and converts them to the actual waist measurement used as the size of men’s pants.
This method is not foolproof, though. It gives you a good overall idea of how men’s and women’s pants compare to each other, but it may not actually help you find a pair of women’s pants that fits your body.
Here’s the thing: you can easily figure out how to find a waist size in women’s pants comparable to the waist size in men’s pants that you wear. But women’s pants also use one more essential measurement: the hip circumference. Women’s pants almost always curve out from the waistband to expand around the hips.
This means that while you will fit into the women’s pants you pick using this method, the shape of the pants may not fit your body shape.
The best way to convert women’s to men’s jacket sizes is to look at the bust measurement in the sizing chart for the women’s jacket. Converting women’s and men’s jacket sizes is not difficult because you simply need to compare two chest measurements!
- Start by finding a size chart in the product description for the women’s jacket.
- Pick the size row that lists your chest measurement in the chest or bust column.
- Now, check to see if the waist measurement in that row is similar to or larger than your waist measurement.
- Trace across the row to determine what numerical size uses these measurements, such as a 2, 4, 6, and so on.
- Once you find the size that matches your chest measurement, you can anticipate that that size is equivalent to the men’s jacket size that uses the same chest measurement.
- For example, if the size 6 women’s jacket has a bust measurement of 34, this will equate (roughly) to a size 34 men’s jacket.
Of course, you will want to keep in mind that women’s jackets often have different shaping elements than men’s jackets, such as darts, tucks, and pleats, to highlight the curve of the bust and minimize the waist.
Every style of women’s jacket, like blazers and suit jackets, will fit differently, so always check the sizing chart to see which size uses chest measurements comparable to your chest measurements size in men’s clothing!
You can almost always easily convert women’s to men’s hoodie sizes by going down one size for the women’s hoodie. This works at least 90% of the time because hoodies often use a small, medium, and large sizing system and have a generic, unisex cut.
The only difference between men’s and women’s hoodie sizes, most of the time, is that men’s sizes use larger measurements. This means that a medium men’s hoodie will often have the same measurements and shape as a large woman’s hoodie.
So, if you wear a medium men’s hoodie, you can easily guess that you will fit a large women’s hoodie!
You should still check the sizing chart before buying a hoodie, though, because specific measurements can vary from one brand to another.
The rule for converting women’s to men’s shoe sizes is to subtract 1 ½ sizes from the women’s size to find the equivalent men’s shoe size. So a women’s shoe size of 9 would equal a men’s shoe size of 7.5.
This conversion works based on the lengths used to determine US shoe sizes. In most parts of the world, shoe sizes use a logical system based on centimeters. The size is just the length of your foot in centimeters!
The US uses numbers representing measurements instead in a much more confusing sizing system. Believe it or not, the modern US shoe size system is based on an ancient measurement unit called a “barleycorn.” Your shoe size equals the length of your foot in barleycorns!
But the good news is that you can easily convert your numerical shoe size from a women’s to a men’s size or vice versa.
The exception to this rule is in the width and arch of certain shoe styles. If you look at high heels, for example, they often have a narrower width and a higher arch than a woman’s sneaker. You may want to check a shoe chart for a specific brand and style of the shoe if you want to make sure that the width will also accommodate your foot.
Small, Medium, and Large Sizes for Men and Women
The rule of thumb when converting women’s small, medium, ad large sizes to men’s small, medium, and large sizes is that women’s clothes generally shift about one size smaller than men’s sizes. This means that the measurements used for a women’s small would roughly equate to the measurements used to determine a men’s medium.
You can make a pretty clear conversion for garments that have a unisex cut, like some styles of t-shirts and hoodies. In this case, you can often expect that a men’s medium and a women’s large will fit the same!
But the conversion grows more difficult on garments like a woman’s dress or blouse, which uses many measurements to determine the small, medium, or large size.
- A women’s large would use many of the same measurements as a man’s medium. This does depend on the type of garment, though–for example, women’s pants would still have a distinctly different shape from men’s pants because of the hip measurement.
- That said, you can anticipate that a women’s large and a men’s large will not use the same measurements. Men’s clothing almost always uses larger measurements to determine sizes than women’s clothing.
- If you look at a women’s 3XL in t-shirt, it will usually measure about the same as a men’s 2XL in t-shirt, depending on the cut of the shirt.
Women’s to Men’s Pants Size Converter
You can pretty easily convert women’s pant sizes to men’s pant sizes by adding 21 to the numeric women’s pants size. Conversely, you can also translate a men’s pant size to a women’s pants size by subtracting 21 from the men’s pants size.
But there is one big exception to this rule, which is that some brands of women’s jeans use the same sizing system as men’s jeans, meaning that the size lists a waist measurement and an inseam measurement instead of an even number like most women’s clothing.
This means that size 32 women’s jeans fit someone with a 32” waist, just like men’s jeans! Likewise, a size 36 or 38 in women’s jeans just means jeans that fit a woman with a 36 or 38-inch waist.
Now that you get the key differences between women’s and men’s clothing sizes, look at some common conversion questions.
What is a Women’s Size 7 in Men’s?
A women’s size 7 usually refers to a woman’s shoe, and by subtracting 1.5 from the size, you can figure out that the shoe would equal a 5.5 in men’s shoe sizes.
Women’s clothes use an even-numbered sizing system, so a size 7 probably does not refer to a piece of clothing. The only exception here is that junior women’s clothes do use odd-numbered clothing sizes instead of even-numbers. In this case, a size 7 could mean a teen-size pair of pants, a shirt, a dress, or a skirt!
What is a Men’s 34 Waist in Women’s Sizes?
Men’s pants with a 34-inch waist will translate to size 14 in women’s pants most of the time. You can easily convert men’s to women’s pants sizes by subtracting 21 from odd-numbered men’s pant sizes or 20 from even-numbered men’s pant sizes.
That said, this conversion only tells you how the waistband of the pants will fit. It does not include the curve of the hips or the length of the pants. You will need to look at a sizing chart to make sure those measurements work as well.
Size 10 Women to Men
Converting a women’s size 10 to a men’s size depends on the type of clothing article you want to convert. For example, a women’s size 10 shoe will easily convert to a men’s size 8.5 shoe. You have to subtract 1 ½ from the women’s shoe size to figure out the men’s shoe size.
In most cases, women’s size 10 pants would convert to men’s size 31 pants. In this case, you add 21 to the women’s even-numbered size to get the waist measurement used to determine men’s pants sizes.
But for shirts, jackets, and dresses, converting women’s to men’s sizes is more complex. For these items, you will need to look at the measurements in a sizing chart for the women’s size 10 and then compare those measurements to a similar men’s garment and see what size correlates to the measurements.
What is a Size 14 Men’s Size in Women’s Sizes?
A men’s size 14 shoe will convert to a woman’s size 15.5 shoe. Many women’s shoe brands only carry up to shoe size 12 for women, though, so finding a women’s size 15.5 could prove challenging.
Men’s clothes do not use an even-numbered sizing system, so you can deduce that a “men’s size 14” must refer to men’s shoes.
What is a Women’s Size 12 in Men’s Pants?
A woman’s size 12 will usually convert to a men’s size 34 in pants. Men’s pant measurements use a waist circumference to determine the size, so you can easily convert from women’s to men’s pant sizes or vice versa.
Women’s to Men’s Clothing Size Conversion Chart
In many cases, you will need to consult sizing charts for specific brands to convert women’s to men’s clothing sizes, but this chart will give you an idea of the average conversions for many types of clothing.
You can also look at this chart to get a general idea of the measurements that go with these sizes for many types of men’s and women’s clothing.
|35” – 37”
|37” – 41”
|41” – 44”
|35” – 37”
|37” – 41”
|41” – 44”
What are Gender-Neutral Sizes?
Gender-neutral sizes apply non-gendered size labels to unisex clothing. This way, you do not have to identify as a man or woman to pick your sizing metric. Several big-name brands like Nike offer gender-neutral sizes for unisex clothing items.
So, what are unisex clothes? These items do not conform specifically to either a male or female body shape. They use sizing based on male measurements, so a small unisex shirt will usually equate to a traditional medium in women’s clothing.
Tops will have a more rectangular cut that does not highlight the shoulders for men or the bust for women. Pants will fit at the waist but have a looser shape in the leg, like sweatpants, rather than curving around the hips and tapering through the legs.
Right now, you most commonly see loungewear items in a unisex cut. T-shirts, hoodies, and sweats all easily accommodate this ungendered cut. But this could change soon as more clothing brands step up to provide clothes suitable for many different lifestyles.
You can convert women’s to men’s clothing sizes, but you need to use a different process for every type of clothing. Converting women’s to men’s pant sizes is quite easy; you just have to add 21 to the women’s pant size to find the equivalent men’s pant size. Translating women’s to men’s shoe sizes also has a simple formula: just add 1.5 to the women’s shoe size to find the men’s shoe size.
For small, medium, and large sizes, add a size to the women’s size to find the men’s size, meaning that a small women’s shirt will have the same size as an extra-small men’s shirt. Converting women’s to men’s clothing sizes for shirts, jackets, and dresses gets more challenging. For these garments, you need to compare measurements using both the women’s and men’s sizing charts for the products.