Determining the right size when choosing clothing is no easy task. Do I wear an M? Or is it a size 48? What does a size 102 in trousers mean? How to measure correctly? Our size charts with conversions make it easy.

The long and the short of it

  • Clothing sizes have no internationally accepted standard. (More on this…)
  • Size charts make it easier to convert or compare international size systems and provide better orientation. (More on this…)
  • Each individual manufacturer tailors and styles differently and caters to and adapts its size charts to the mean average of the population within its own country of origin. If available, a manufacturer will usually link a size chart to the product description. (More on this…)

In detail

Clothing size, jeans size, American size English size, trouser size, inch size, unisex size – a variety of numbers and letters, all of which end up meaning the same thing: Clothing size. To understand the jumble of information, one must realise that there is no internationally accepted standard for clothes sizes. Each individual manufacturer tailors and styles differently and caters to and adapts its sizes to the mean average of the population within its own country of origin.

What size are you? Our size guide sheds light on the international jungle of numbers and letters. | Photo: Bela Elbich
What size are you? Our size guide sheds light on the international jungle of numbers and letters. | Photo: Bela Elbich

Brands base their sizes on their national data base. Scandinavian brand sizes usually run towards long and slender, southern European labels tend to have smaller and more delicate fits, whereby North America manufacturers prefer larger and shorter fits. In addition, many manufactures often take into consideration a particular fit for targeted customer groups. This explains why some brands have sleeves that are perhaps longer than others and other brands a regular fitted sleeve.

    • Our tip: Individual manufacturer size charts provide the best information about the basic measurements used. At Bergzeit we have them linked to the products (see below).

Clothing sizes: how to take correct measurements

Measuring your clothing size correctly, will depend on the following:

  • Chest circumference: Under the armpits and across the widest part of the chest. Arms loose at the sides.
  • Waist circumference: Measure over the navel, making sure that the tape measure is sitting loosely and not too tight.
  • Hip circumference: Across the widest part of the buttocks.
  • Arm length: Place one end of the measuring tape at the base of the center of the back of the neck. Run the measuring tape over your shoulder, and let it hang down to your hand. Measure to the center of the meaty part of your palm.(Note: Some manufacturers also specify the arm length “from shoulder tip to wrist”.) Most size charts use this method.
  • Inseam: Measure along the inside of the leg from crotch to ankle.
  • Leg length: Start at your waist and lay the measuring tape along the side of your leg, down your thigh, until the tape ends where you would like your pant leg to end. For a traditional length, measure until near the heel of your foot.

With this information, you’ll find out exactly which size fits you in the size charts.

 

Understanding size charts and clothing size systems

As a basis for European clothing the chest size is always taken. In Germany, for example, men’s sizes are halved for the measured size specification and women’s sizes are halved and a further six centimeters deducted. For example, a men’s chest circumference of 96 centimeters gives a size 48 and a women’s size 42. Height design is only taken into account for men. For women, the mean average height of 164-170 cm is assumed for all sizes. Women who fall out of this norm grid, will more than likely find something in the long or short size versions.

Standard size specifications – 32 to 54 in women and 40 to 62, for men – applies for Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland.

International unisex and sport sizes

International and especially for sporting apparel, unisex sizes with the designation S for “small” (small), M for “medium” (medium) and L for “large” (large) have been implemented. The additional X describes an “extra” – whether for “extra-large” or especially small (XS). Rule of thumb is generally, a size 48 corresponds to a men’s size M and in turn is a women’s size XL True dimensions however, can turn out extremely variable. For example an Asian size M is often much smaller than what we would consider an M to be in Europe!

And yet another deviation are the letter coding of the European Standard 13402, a previously non-binding attempt to bring the confusion of European sizes and dimensions together under one common basis: In this instance, men and women in a combined unisex size are almost identical. A women’s chest circumference of 96 centimeters converts to an EN 13402 apparel size M.

American and British sizes

When it comes to sports, the American size specifications are relevant, as they are often found in sporting brands such as Arc’teryx. The standard women’s sizes start at 2 (equivalent to 32) up to a size 16 (corresponding to 46). Not to be confused with British measurements, ranging in women sizes from a Standard 6 (32) to 14 (42).

For men, there is no size disparity between England and the United States.

Just to make the confusion complete: You may find yourself holding a French brand in the hand – say it’s the French brand Millet and it’s a ladies size M. In case you start to wonder about the size 40 shown on the label – France also use, along with Italy and Spain, their own system for showing sizes. To make things easier, we’ve excluded these from the charts, each manufacturer has their own national size charts that you can use as reference.

 Trousers: Diverse leg lengths for different heights

Pants sizes can often be a particular problem for many customers, since the ratio of leg length to hip size does not always fit to the standard size. Therefore, some manufacturers offer their pants in various lengths. The most common indication of this is found in jeans. Here the width of the waistband and the inner leg length are usually expressed in inches, one speaks of inch size. A men’s size 32/34 is a 32 inch waist (~ 81 cm) with a leg length of 34 inches (~ 86 cm). To calculate its inch-size, divide the total centimeter value by 2.54.

Size charts provide an overview

If you stumble onto other measurements, size tables offer solid assistance in converting your own measurements to other size systems.
Please Note: The following charts indicate standard dimensions.  Wherever there is a manufacturer chart available, Bergzeit will have it attached to the relevant product.

 Size chart Men

 

European Size International Size Size in inch French Size
44 29 42
46 S 30 44
48 M 32 46
50 L 34 48
52 XL 36 50
54 XXL 38 52
56 3XL 40 54
58 4XL
60 5XL
62 6XL

 

Size chart Women

 

European
Size
International
Size
Inch-
Size
UK-
Size
US-
Size
French
Size
32 XXS 2 34
34 XS 26, 27 8 4 36
36 S 28, 29 10 6 38
38 M 30, 31 12 8 40
40 L 32 14 10 42
42 XL 33 14 10 44
44 XXL 34 14
46 3XL 16
48 4XL
50 5XL
52 6XL

Size charts for shorter and longer sizes

Many manufacturers use the European system of measurements, for shorter and longer sizes, which are already based on the existing clothing size. The existing clothing size is simply halved (to give a short size) or double the size (for longer sizes). An example would be; a standard women’s size 38 is shown as a women’s short size 19, a longer version size 76.

Especially in regard to trousers a short or long leg length also measures as R (regular), S (short) or L (long). At Bergzeit, you will find our assortment of various leg lengths also labeled with “short” or “long”.

Bergzeit size Short size
Women
Short size
Men
Bergzeit size Longer size
Women
Longer size
Men
XXS, short 16 22       XXS, long  64
XS, short 17 23 XS, long 68
S, short 18 24 S, long 72 90
M, short 19 25 M, long 76 94
L, short 20 26 L, long 80 98
XL, short 21 27 XL, long 84 102
XXL, short 22 28 XXL, long 88 106
3XL, short 23 29 3XL, long 92 110
4XL short 24 30 4XL, long 96 114
5XL, short 25 31 5XL, long 100 118
6XL, short 26  32 6XL, long 104 122

 

Size chart Children

However, even with children’s clothing, there are different systems that are easier to understand. The sizes 50 to 176 are determined by the height ranging from newborns to teenagers. Alternatively, some manufacturers calculate with ages, for example, “6-9 months” or “ages 3 years & up”. A rule of thumb is to use the actual size along with the approximate age of the child for the basic clothing size. Variations in individual designs of the individual brands, however, are also found in children’s sizes.

Height in cm Approximate age Size
bis 50 1 months 50
51 – 56 1 – 2 months 56
57 – 62 2 – 3 months 62
63 – 68 apporox. 6 months 68
69 – 74 approx. 9 months 74
75 – 80 approx. 12 months 80
81 – 86 approx. 18 months 86
87 – 92 2 Yrs 92
93 – 98 3 Yrs 98
99 – 104 4 Yrs 104
105 – 110 5 Yrs 110
111 – 116 6 Yrs 116
117 – 122 7 Yrs 122
123 – 128 8 Yrs 128
129 – 134 9 Yrs 134
135 – 140 10 Yrs 140
141 – 146 11 Yrs 146
147 – 152 12 Yrs 152
153 – 158 13 Yrs 158
159 – 164 14 Yrs 164
165 – 170 15 Yrs 170
171 – 176 16 Yrs 176

 

Bergzeit's online shops have the size charts attached to the respective manufacture
Bergzeit’s online shops have the size charts attached to the respective manufacturer

When in doubt try it on

As you can see, choosing the right apparel size is a small science in itself. Variations to the basic dimensions are more common than rare, so it’s particularly beneficial when shopping online to look at the manufacturer’s own size tables. A link can usually be found in the description of the product features. Our customer reviews often provide information about the fit and any special features. Very happy to help further of course are our online consultants via live chat, phone or email.

  • Our tip: Before ordering as an online customer, it’s worthwhile to grab a tape measure and measure your chest, hip, waist circumference and leg length at home. With these measurements, you can orient to the size tables of the manufacturer and their sizing (in doubt, too big, too small) and then add to cart with more ease. To measure correctly, follow the steps in our photo gallery guide.

Clothing sizes: how to take correct measurements

How should functional clothing sit?

Despite the theory: Clothing is meant to be comfortable. In this respect the classic way of actually trying it on, is still the best way to determine the fit. Your own physique and personal preferences – slim fit or baggy – naturally play a large role in the size selection. In general: athletic clothing works best if it’s a contoured fit. Meaning, if you’re between two sizes, the smaller is often the better choice. Special body characteristics such as pronounced hips or particularly long arms often require a compromise in which the larger variant usually creates more wellbeing.