Buying a jacket used to be fairly straightforward. You would go to the store and try on a few till you found the right fit. Today, many people prefer to shop online. This means you’ll have to know your jacket size before you place an order.
Of course, trying on jackets in the store isn’t full proof either. Have you ever got home and discovered the jacket you bought didn’t fit well? Maybe the sleeves were too short or too long, or the shoulders were too tight.
It can leave you wondering how you ever overlooked what become obvious problems. Then you are left with three options. You can take it back and exchange it for another jacket. You can wear the ill-fitting one. In most cases, the jacket just ends up taking up space in your closet.
You can avoid these issues by knowing your jacket size and using a jacket size chart.
Using a Jacket Size Chart
The jacket size chart will vary based on your age and gender. Regardless, you’ll need a tape measure. The process is much easier if you have someone else to take the measurements for you, but you can manage on your own in a pinch.
You’ll also want to take the measurements close to your own body. This means you’ll want as little clothing as possible. Avoid wearing bulky trousers or sweaters.
Men’s and Women’s Jacket Size Chart
Measuring for a men’s or women’s jacket is very similar. The basic process is the same with only a few differences.
Men’s and Unisex Measurements
The chest measurement is the most important. Wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of your chest. Ideally, you should raise your arms and have someone else take the measurement. If the jacket is casual, add an extra inch to the measurement.
Most companies add three to four inches to the chest size to get the chest measurement. In the jacket size chart, you’ll find chest size listed first, and then the chest measurement of the jacket.
To measure your sleeve length, you’ll need to start at your collarbone at the base of your neck. Measure down to your wrist, with your arm relaxed.
Next is the shoulder measurement. You’ll need help with this one. Have someone measure your shoulders, while you stand with a relaxed neutral posture.
To measure the length, you’ll start at the top of your shoulder. Measure down until you reach where you want the jacket to hit on your body. Keep the style of jacket in mind. A cropped jacket will be shorter than a blazer, for example. You should pay close attention to this measurement if you are on the tall side.
Next, you’ll need to measure your hip/bottom. This is only important if the jacket falls to your hips or below. To take the measurement, run the tape measure around your hips at the widest part to get your hip circumference.
You may also want to measure your waist size. Find your natural waist by bending to one side. Your natural waist is where the crease occurs. Most casual jackets don’t provide a waist size measurement. Formal jackets that are form-fitting typically do.
Women’s measurements follow the same process. However, instead of measuring the chest, a woman will measure her bust at the largest area. The bust measurement is typically the largest number in the bust size range. For example, if the bust size is 35-36, the bust measurement will be 36.
Kids Jacket Sizes
There are several ways to determine a kid’s jacket size. The simplest but least accurate is to rely on size. However, kids grow at different rates. If your child is smaller or taller than average, you’ll need to determine the size another way.
This kids’ jacket size chart relies on height and weight. This is more accurate than using age. However, it’s not as accurate as using a full set of measurements.
Girls Jacket Size
Girl’s jacket sizes begin at age 2, with 2xs. To measure height, you’ll measure their entire height. It helps to have them stand against a wall without shoes to get the correct measurement.
Next, you’ll measure the bust or chest measurement. The measuring tape should go across the widest part of the chest. It’s easier if the child’s arms are up.
To find the natural waist, have your child bend to one side. Then wrap the tape around the area to get the waist circumference.
Last, you’ll want to measure the hips. Wrap the tape around the hips at the widest part.
If all the measurements don’t line up, choose the one that is most important based on the item. For a jacket, this will likely be the chest size or height.
Boys Size Chart
The boy’s size chart is similar to the girl’s chart. The first measurement is height. Measure from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet, without shoes.
The next measurement is the chest. Wrap the tailor’s tape around the chest with the child holding their arms up.
The waist is the next measurement. Have them bend to one side to find their natural waist. Measure the natural waist.
The last measurement is the bottom/hips. For this measurement, you’ll need to measure the widest part of their hips.
Just as with girls sizes, height and chest are the most important measurements.
Jacket Size Chart FAQs
How do I know my jacket size?
The most accurate way to know your jacket size is to use the chart provided and take your measurements. If you want to skip the measuring, grab a jacket that fits you well. See what size it is, and go with that size.
The issue with this is there are no standard clothing sizes. A medium from one clothing company might be large from another company. You can also use your t-shirt size as your jacket size. Again, you aren’t guaranteed to get the proper fit but it gives you a starting point.
Should you size up for jackets?
This depends on the situation and the fit you want. If you want a loose, casual fit, sizing up is a good idea. If you are using your t-shirt size, some people recommend sizing up.
The logic is that your jacket will need to accommodate bulky clothing underneath it. However, this is already built into jacket size, so it’s not a reason to size up.
If you take your measurements and find yourself at the end of the range on the size, you may want to size up. Particularly if your chest measurement is larger than the jacket measurement, if you have longer arms, or a longer waist.
Are shirt and jacket sizes the same?
In a perfect world, the size you wear in a shirt would be the same size you wear in a jacket. Since sizes aren’t standardized, this isn’t always the case. Jackets also leave room for bulky clothing, so they will be bigger than the same size t-shirt.
Should you buy a leather jacket a size smaller?
Again, the best way is to take your measurements and use the provided chart. Leather jackets are an investment, and you’ll want a proper fit. Leather does stretch over time, so you will want it to be form-fitting. Like a good pair of shoes, it will conform to your body as you wear it. You should be able to zip or button the jacket comfortably, but it shouldn’t be roomy.
How do I know my hoodie size?
Hoodies are a bit more forgiving than most types of jacket, because they are designed to be loose. You can probably get away with buying a hoodie based on your t-shirt size. If you are in doubt, take your measurements. You can also measure your favorite hoodie and purchase one based on those measurements.