Differences in USA/UK and Italian/Continental Trouser Sizes

Pimpernel Smith

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3,816
Whilst we all know the score on conversions: 32 USA/UK waist size is 50 in continental Europe, but I have generally found that any Italian made trouser or chino size is actually a size down i.e. if you are a 36 in USA/UK sizes you should be able to fit into a 52 in European sizes, but I find you need to go up to a 54 which corresponds to a 38. I think the reason for this is that USA/UK sizes are true to your actual waist measured on flesh, whereas those dastardly continentals measure the size with pants and belt on.

Anyone a position on this, other than I'm a fat bastard trying to hide their true waist size?
 

Pimpernel Smith

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That's what it is in reality, but check out size comparison charts on the web and in webshops.

And it's often true when you buy pants that have been made in Italy e.g. Turnbull & Asser chinos and Madison pants are 2'' tighter in the waist so if you're 34 you need to get a 36.

I ask as I'm thinking of getting some Cordings chinos which are also made in Italy. Do I trust the Brit sizes or go up a size?
 
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aristoi bcn

Spanish Rookie
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371
I don't know. It also depends on a number of factors, the rise being one of them. I have bespoke trousers with a difference of 1cm when measuring the waistband, one pair is ok/tight and the other too loose.

In addition, it depends on where you measure, if you take as reference the upper part of the waistband or the base of it. It can give you a difference of up to 1cm.
 

fxh

OG Party Suit Wearer
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Its complicated. You can't always trust given sizes but need actual measurements.

I've handled thousands of suits, jackets, shirts, trousers from different brands and countries of manufacture. Some of these things vary so much, from brand to brand, its hard to make a rule. Many of the fast fashion places, like Zara etc, have such a fast turn around of styles - e.g. 2 weeks that there isn't time to ensure QC consistency of sizes between runs. Which is why they have to have free returns etc on online orders.

To an extent a lot of the "slow fashion" quality manufacturers have the same problem but to a lesser extent. Runs of RTW will go out even if they differ from original specs.

In general stuff for retail in USA is made to "catalogue sizes" where trousers for sale in USA marked size 34 will have a waist of 35" or 35.5". 35" will = 36". Stuff for sale in EU seems usually to be a bit more TTS where a 87cm will be 87cm (34.25"). This is irrespective of where its actually made.

And then you have the translation from USA/UK sizing in inches to the rest of the world in metric. Often in OZ you have both. Translating to metric usually goes to the nearest .cm which in the case of a 34" trouser is actually 86.5cm but will usually go to 87cm which is really 34.25" so in effect suggesting a trouser marked 87cm is a 1/4 of an inch larger than it is.

Now to make it even more complicated: If its a trouser for a USA retail marked 34" size but actual measurements are 35.5" it will be converted to .cm from 34" - so it will me marked as a 86cm or 87cm. When in reality it actually measures 90cm- 91cm.

The same thing to various degrees occurs with shirts and suits. Shirts - 16" = 40.75cm, 16.5" = 42cm, 17 = 43.20cm. But you will only see 41, 42, 43 in shirts.

Its a jungle out there
in ready to wear
makes me wonder
how I keep from going under.
 
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A

ariachris56

Guest
I am also got stuck in between UK and USA sizes, its too complicated for me to buy the exact size in the UK and the USA, we can say we can't trust the given size.
 

Pimpernel Smith

Well-Known Member
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3,816
I am also got stuck in between UK and USA sizes, its too complicated for me to buy the exact size in the UK and the USA, we can say we can't trust the given size.
US and UK sizes tend to be near spot on, or at least use to. You can still rely on Italian owned Brooks Brothers to be true to size.

One of my kids does a fashion design course and one thing they learn is that the stated clothing size is invariably smaller than actual. Factor in shrinkage for washable stuff and you need to be wary.
 
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