Understanding Men’s to Women’s Size Conversions: And Vice Versa

Have you ever gone shopping, only to find out that the size you have in one store is different in another? Or, you end up shopping in another section (i.e., the men’s section if you’re a woman and vice versa), just to find that converting sizes to find your own isn’t as easy as you had hoped? What about hitting the thrift store, searching for shoes that are made for all genders, or shopping in another country, etc.?

Reading the tag should give you an idea if you have more or less the right size, but it’s not that simple. The reality is, converting men’s sizes to women’s sizes — and, the other way around — can be rather complicated. And, this is amplified if you’re making these conversions while shopping abroad.

The good news is there are some tricks you can use to figure it out these conversions or how it all works. But, if you’re not a math-whiz, a conversion shortcut like our shoe size converter can help you figure it out in an instant.

Why Would You Need to Convert Men’s to Women’s Sizes?

The reality is, there’s a lot to say about the clothing industry and, it’s not always positive, especially in relation to sizing. Clothing sizes can be hard to wrap your head around, especially when you’re trying to convert sizes from men’s to women’s or vice versa. How can the average person do this before truly understanding sizing in their own section?

Additionally, this can get even more complicated if clothes are technically sized to be unisex, or you’re shopping in another country and you first have to convert to sizes you understand before converting from one gender’s size to another. Whether you’re buying clothes for yourself or for someone else, it’s important to know how to convert sizes to ensure the perfect fit.

There are several reasons why you might need to convert sizes. Most of us have been in a situation be before where we’ve had to make these conversions, but maybe did not realize it at the time. This may have led you to buy a size that was too big or too small, or just skip out on what may have been a good buying option. for example:

  • There’s a discount on a men’s shirt but you want to know what the equivalent size in women’s or vice versa.
  • The clearance section at a store has clothes or shoes that are normally priced higher, but now there is percentage taken off. Is it worth it, maybe, to go a size smaller or bigger to save money?
  • You’re shopping at a thrift store and want to see if something would fit.
  • Your for clothes for a friend or family member.
  • Your shoe size is bigger or smaller than average, so you may have to look for shoes in the men’s or women’s section.
  • You’re shopping for someone while in another country – or, for someone who lives in another country – and you need to convert their sizes to your own country’s sizes before deciding if it’s the right fit for the person you’re shopping for.
  • You’re lending clothes to someone.
  • You’re ordering clothing online and want to get as close to the right size as possible, no matter what section the clothing is being sold in.

What Are Standard Men’s and Women’s Sizes in the United States?

When converting sizes between men and women, most of us know that men’s sizes are typically larger than women’s sizes. But, before you start converting men’s sizes to women’s and vice versa, it’s helpful to know how clothing and shoes are sized to begin with. This can help you have some general knowledge about sizes so that you’re not too far off when you begin shopping.

In the United States:

  • Both men’s and women’s shirt, hoodie, and jacket sizes typically range from XS to XXL, with additional sizes for big and tall individuals, but not always. Most stores will carry a “3XL” for example.
  • Men’s and women’s pants — not jeans or dress pants, but maybe sweatpants, pajamas, gym shorts, etc. — are sized like the above, usually between XS and XXL. When shopping for items like this, you might find that a lot of options are unisex, too.
  • Men’s jeans are sized by using two numbers – the waist number and the inseam. The waist number usually spans from 28″ to 48″, while the inseam (the length of from the seam of the crotch to the bottom of the pants) ranges from 30″ to 36″. For example, a common jean size for a man could be 34″ x 32″. There are also men’s “long” or “slim” sizes to account for other body shapes.
  • Women’s jeans on the other hand are generally a mystery, but supposedly, they are sized using the ratio of the measurements between the waist and hips. These can range from a size 0 to 34 or so, with plus sizes available. They also skip odd numbers, which is usually reserved for juniors sizes. Of course, their are also petite sizes, and long , regular, and short like men’s.
  • Men’s shoe sizes generally range from 6 to 16 and women’s sizes ranging from 5 to 12. But, when shopping for slippers, flip flops, or socks, they may be sold in a range. For example, US W 9-12.

All this considered, every store and every brand may have their own approach to sizing and labeling, which means what fits in one store may not fit in another, or you may find clothes in the opposite section fit better than in your own, where the sizing seems to just make more sense. Then, when it comes to shoes, women with larger feet may have trouble finding their size in their section, and may have to venture over to men’s.

Unfortunately, due to all of these factors, confusion with sizing has historically impacted body image issues around the US and the globe. Don’t let it get you down — wear what fits comfortably and try to think of size as just being a number!

Men’s and Women’s Size Conversions Between Different Countries

When shopping for clothes in a different country, it can be hard to know the right size just by looking at the label. Even if the sizing goes by small, medium, large, you may be surprised to see that what’s a large in one place would be the same size as a small in another place.

This is because for a variety of reasons, different countries have different sizing systems, which can make it difficult to know which size to choose — especially when converting from one gender to another. Before you can convert sizes from men’s to women’s and vice versa in other countries or regions of the world, you’ll have to understand how their sizing system works, first.

Here are some examples to get a basic foundation:

United Kingdom (UK):

  • In the United Kingdom, clothing sizes for men and women are generally the same as the US, although there may be slight variations in measurements. And, UK shoe sizes are different from US sizes, with men’s sizes ranging from 5 to 14 and women’s sizes ranging from 3 to 9.

European Union (EU):

  • In the European Union (EU), clothing sizes are based on measurements in centimeters and will vary depending where you are in the EU. For example, “French” sizes cover France, Spain, Portugal, and Belgium, while “German” or “European” sizes cover Germany, Austria, Netherlands, and Scandinavia. Italy stays in its own category, and are easier to convert to once you have the French or German size (more on that in a bit).
  • Generally, French pants sizes range from 32 to 60 for women and from 44 to 64 for men with “German” or “European” sizes ranging from 30 to 58, of 42 to 62 for men.
  • EU shoe sizes also differ from US sizes, with men’s sizes ranging from 38 to 50 and women’s sizes ranging from 34 to 44.


  • In Mexico, clothing sizes are based on measurements in centimeters as well, with sizes ranging from 26 to 40 for women and for the men, around the same as the US. Note that the sizes may just fit a bit different than you’re used to, or run smaller.
  • Mexican shoe sizes are more or less the same as US sizes, with men’s sizes ranging from 9 to 16 and women’s sizes ranging from 8 to 14, give or take.

How To Do Men’s and Women’s Clothing Size Conversions (US)

To start, it’s important to note that there is no exact formula for converting sizes between men’s and women’s, as sizes can vary depending on the brand and style of clothing. To be absolutely sure, a size converter calculator can tell you what size you need to be searching for when you go shopping.

Converting Men’s to Women’s Clothes and Vice Versa

  • To easily convert men’s shirt sizes to women’s shirt sizes or vice versa, go up or down one size. For example, a men’s size small shirt would be equivalent to a women’s size medium shirt, while a women’s large may be a men’s medium.
  • To convert men’s pants sizes to women’s pants sizes, subtract 21 from the men’s size. For example, a men’s size 32 pants would be equivalent to a women’s size 11 pants. But, since women pant sizes in the US run at even sizes, you may have to round down to a 10 or a 12.

Converting Men’s to Women’s Shoes and Vice Versa

  • To convert men’s sizes to women’s sizes, subtract 1.5 from the men’s size to get the women’s size, or add 1.5 to a women’s size to get the men’s size. For example, if a men’s size 8 shoe is needed, the equivalent women’s size would be 9.5.

How to Do Men’s and Women’s Size Conversions Between Different Countries

Converting sizes from men’s to women’s while shopping in some other countries around the world may only involve some simple arithmetic. But, because sizes can run so drastically from the US to other regions around the world – and then taking those sizes and understanding how they convert from men’s to women’s – may be beyond mental math.

US to UK and Vice Versa

  • UK sizes to US sizes are fairly close, but some experts recommend subtracting 2.5 sizes from the UK size to get the US size, or adding 2.5 to the US size to get the UK size. For example, a US size 6 shoe would be equivalent to a UK size 8.5 shoe, while a UK clothing size 16 would be a US size 12.

US to EU and Vice Versa

  • To convert “French” sizes (Spain, Portugal France, and Belgium) to US sizes, subtract 32 from the EU size, or add 32 to the US size to get the EU size.
  • Once you have that number, you can then make conversions with the Italian size by adding two sizes to the French size. For example, a women’s size 6 in the US would be a 38 in the French size, and a 42 in the Italian size. This works best with women’s clothing. For men’s, add 16 to the US size to get the Italian size.
  • For U.S. to German sizes (the true “European” size, as it’s called) which will also give you sizes in the Netherlands and Scandinavia, you need to add 28 to the US size. For example, a US size 4 in women’s would be a 32 here. Germany/EU also uses W/L for all pant sizes like men’s in the US.
  • Generally, you can add 31 to your US shoe size to get your European shoe size.

US to Mexico and Vice Versa

  • To convert Mexican clothing sizes to US, note that a small in Mexico is more like an XS in the US. Men’s pants size will be about the same as the US, while women’s sizes can ideally be memorized. So, a 26 being the lowest size in Mexico for women would be a 2 in the US, while a 28 in Mexico would be size 4, and 30 size 6, and so on and so forth.
  • To convert men’s shoe sizes from Mexico to US, the trick is to take the US shoe size and add two to get to the Mexican shoe size. For example, if someone wore a US size 11, they would wear a size 13 in Mexican shoes. For women, the trick is to take the US size shoe worn and add three to get the Mexican size. So, a woman who wore a size 8 would wear a size 11 in a Mexican shoe. You can also use the shoe size conversion calculator.

Ultimately, this would be a lot to remember for someone who travels a lot, and if you want to buy clothing or shoes while you’re on the go, why not use a simple calculator to help you solve the problem faster?

This is also important because what may look like “men’s” clothing in one country could actually be unisex or women’s, or vice versa. Styles always differ, so, having a quick way to make that conversion no matter where you are in the world will make it easy.

Tips for Converting Men’s to Women’s Sizes

If your head is already spinning by trying to remember how to do all these conversions, we don’t blame you. Here are some tips to help:

  • Commit some size ranges to memory: You won’t remember everything, but try to remember size ranges/conversions for the type of shopping you do most often. For example, if you go to Europe a lot and like buying t-shirts for your male cousin, you’d want to know their size in the U.S., how sizes run in the countries you’re traveling to, and then how to make those basic conversions.
  • Check the size chart: Most clothing brands provide a size chart that lists the measurements for each size. Look for a size chart that includes both the country you’re shopping in and the country you’re from.
  • Use a conversion chart: There are many conversion charts available online that can help you convert sizes between different countries. Simply find the country you’re shopping in and the country you’re from, and the chart will give you the equivalent size.
  • Measure yourself: Knowing your own body’s size dimensions helps to take the guessing game out of sizing and converting. Having that information can help you ensure hose size and conversion charts mentioned above that much more accurate.
  • Understand inches to centimeters conversion and vice versa: For instance, if you know the inches of your waist in US sizes and convert those inches to centimeters to get an idea of the European size, but this depends on what that ratio is that’s used.

If you can, try on clothing or shoes before you purchase it. And, if you’re buying for someone else, see if you can find someone shopping in the store who looks similar to the person you’re shopping for. Not everyone would be open to this, though, so be respectful.

Whenever you pay for clothing or shoes online or in a physical store, make sure you check the store’s return policy. In case it doesn’t fit, then you can exchange or return the item.

Converting sizes can be time-consuming and confusing, especially when trying to convert between different countries or genders. However, Gigacalculator offers a size conversion calculator that can make the process quick and easy. Simply input the size you need to convert and the calculator will give you the equivalent size in the other gender or country. This can save you time and eliminate the guesswork when shopping for clothing or shoes.

This entry was posted in Lifestyle, Travel, Wellness and tagged , , , . By Hana LaRock