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Additional Resources about clothing and style for short men

Measurements, Clothing Size,
and Fit

Taking your measurements | Fitting a shirt |
Fitting pants and jeans | Fitting a jacket or coat |
Fitting a suit | Finding a tailor

Taking your measurements
Men's clothing tends to be sized according to your physical measurements, including waist size and inseam length for pants or chest size, sleeve length, and neck size for dress shirts.

The obvious exception to this rule is casual shirts, which are often marked with simple "small," "medium," or "large" labels-- but even these sometimes list a neck size measurement on the tag as well. Other men's items like pajama pants or bathing suits might also be labeled with small, medium, large, etc.

Many stores, especially online stores, will include a sizing chart that indicates how their "S," "M," "L," and "XL" shirt sizes relate to physical measurements. For example, a small shirt might equal a 14-14.5" neck, a 34-36" chest, and a 32-33" sleeve. Ask your salesperson or consult online fitting guides when choosing sizes.

Bearing this in mind, it pays to know your measurements before you begin shopping for clothing. You can have your measurements taken at a tailor, a menswear store or finer department store, or you can measure yourself at home with a cloth tape measure and the help of a friend.

Take your measurements while undressed or in lightweight clothing. If you are doing this at home, have a friend take the measurements. Stand up straight when measuring, and keep the tape measure snug but not tight. For clothing sold in the U.S., measurements should be taken in inches; convert to centimeters outside the U.S.

Sleeve length measurement: Relax your arm, and place your hand on your hip with your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Start at the middle of the back of your neck, measure over your shoulder and elbow, and down your arm to your wrist bone. Or, take a shirt that fits you very well, fold at the elbow to 90 degrees, and measure from the middle back of the collar to the cuff.

Neck measurement: Measure just above the base of the neck, placing two fingers between your neck and the tape measure. Or, take a shirt that fits your neck very well and measure from the center of the button to the far end of the buttonhole. Neck measurements are recorded in half-inch increments; if you are between measurements, round up to the nearest half-inch (example: of your neck measures 16.25", round up to 16.5"). Remember that when you are wearing a dress shirt, you should always be able to slip an index finger comfortably into your collar when the shirt is buttoned all the way to the top. This ensures that the collar will not be too tight.

Chest measurement: Measure around your chest just under your arms, around the fullest part of your chest and shoulder blades. Stand normally; don't over-inflate your chest. Make sure the tape is level and parallel to the ground, and have the person measuring you place one finger between your chest and the tape.

Waist measurement: Measure around where you normally wear the waist of your pants, keeping the tape measure a bit loose or putting one finger between your body and the tape measure. For suit pants, the waist is measured higher up than you would measure for a pair or jeans or chinos, as suit pants usually worn higher.

Inseam measurement: Measure from your crotch to your ankle, or to the place on your leg or foot that you want your pants to rest while you are standing. It helps to wear shoes for this measurement, so you can get an idea of where you want the pants to fall over your shoes. You can also take a pair of good fitting pants, and measure from the crotch seam to the bottom of the pants.

These five variables are the basic measurements needed for purchasing most men's clothing. When being measured for a suit, especially a custom suit, you may be asked by some tailors for additional measurements, such as shoulder width, overarm, torso length/jacket length, seat, hips, outside leg, thigh and knee measures. In general, more measurements cannot hurt when getting a garment fitted, especially if you are hard to fit.

Once you have your measurements in hand, you may want to read specific advice on fitting shirts, fitting jeans or other pants, fitting jackets or coats, or fitting a suit.

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