This article is not intended for purchasing suiting (including dress shirts.) I would advise that you get professional sized by a tailor (and not a JCPenny/Macy’s store associate) for purchasing suiting.

This article contains Amazon affiliate links where I get paid a commission if you click and purchase something.

A lot of men have trouble with sizing. My goal with this article is to make sizing your clothes a LOT easier for you.

I believe the reason most men have trouble with sizing is that they have no idea what their measurements are.

Really you only need a few measurements (unless you’re buying used clothing):

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  1. The circumference of your chest at it’s widest point
  2. The circumference of your natural waist (your waist at it’s narrowest point, not your hip)
  3. The length of your inseam (the distance from your crotch to the ball of your ankle)

The good thing is as long as you have a flexible tape measure these are all easy measurements you can do without help. If you don’t have one a cheapo from Amazon is fine:

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When taking these measurements I’d make sure to take each of them multiple times to make sure they’re precise. Also make sure the tape is snug against your body without being tight when taking these measurements.

Once you have your chest measurement you can start consulting the sizing guides on websites before making purchases. They’re there for a reason and are usually spot on.

Do take note that just because you are a medium in one brand does not mean that you will be a medium in ALL brands. For example, I wear a large in Kent Wang because their garments run very slim.

Pants are a little more difficult because a lot of brands introduce vanity sizing.

Your natural waist SHOULD be the width of your pants but as a rule of thumb for width I usually round down to the nearest inch (and that’s how I usually style my clients as well.)

So for example my waist is 33″ and my inseam is 32″ but I generally wear a 32×32 (and sometimes even a 31×32.)

If you can afford to purchase multiple sizes and return everything but the best fitting pair that is usually the best option. With brands that don’t have excellent QC (quality control), this is doubly better.

In terms of cut, for pants, unless you’re literally anorexic I would avoid anything “skinny.” It’s played out. Slim is usually the best option but if you’re overweight/muscular straight and tapered/athletic fits (if you have thicc thighs) are also good options.

Another measurement that isn’t necessary but you may want to consider taking is a pit-to-pit measurement. If you have a particularly well-fitting shirt you can lay it flat and measure the distance from pit-to-pit (hench the name.) On secondhand sites like Grailed and even some higher-end clothiers (Asket, Ledbury, etc.) you can use this measurement to really hone in your fit.

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For your trousers, if you have a particularly well-fitting pair, you can also measure the leg opening. This is also done by laying the garment flat and measuring the… leg opening. The good thing about this measurement is a LOT of retailers include this in the sizing information. Depending on the retailer you may have to double this number.

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One thing you’ll also find as you move to nicer brands is that belts will no longer be in size S, M, L, etc. but will be sized by number. The general rule of thumb is to take your pants size and add 2 (some places even say 4 but I think that’s too much, always.) Instead of doing that the best way is to take the belt you wear right now and measure from where the leather folds in on itself near the buckle to the hole you use most. This measurement, in inches, will generally be your belt size in most brands.

Do note that this isn’t always the case and you should ALWAYS consult a retailer’s sizing guide before pulling the trigger on a purchase.

Another interesting thing I noticed from styling clients is that more men than you would think have trouble with shoe sizing (to be fair I had my shoe size wrong a few years ago as well.)

This one is important to get right because getting it wrong can mess you up physically.

You have two real options to verify your shoe size:

  1. Going to a shoe store in person and getting sized with their Brannock Device.
  2. Buying a cheap device on Amazon to get your size like this:

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The whole tracing your foot on a piece of paper crap and measuring crap doesn’t work.

Another thing to take note of is that a LOT of sneakers and even a lot of non-sneaker shoes can run big or small instead of TTS (true to size.) Before purchasing shoes always do some research on google to see if they’re TTS or not (literally just google “are [insert shoe here] TTS?”)

You can also use stockists like SSENSE or Mr. Porter to purchase shoes from because these sites will typically say if a particular shoe runs big or small.

Thank you for reading.

 

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