What are Men’s Pants Sizes?

Sizes of men’s pants are often puzzling. Unlike shirts with small, medium, and large shirts, men’s pants are sold with two numbers and fit labels such as “slim fit” or “regular fit.” Furthermore, pant sizes are not standardized. You’ll see that the waistband measurements of the same size in two different brands may differ. Confusing. Isn’t it?

No wonder why many men can’t get their pant sizes right at times. But you should not worry anymore, because we are here to help you! Let’s find the right size for your next pants.

Men’s Pants Sizes in Waist and Length

The most common size system is the W/L. W indicates waist width (Waist = W), and L indicates leg length (L = Length). Each pants size is labeled in inches and has two figures.

This size system employs two numbers separated by an x or a forward slash, such as 34×32 or 34/32. The number 34 indicates that you have a 34-inch waist. On the other hand, the number 32 then refers to a 32-inch leg length.

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You’ll notice that most pants, dress pants, and jeans all use this sizing system.

How to Read Pant Size

As previously stated, trying to read pants sizes can be confusing. Thankfully, now that you know your waist and length measurement, they’re relatively simple to find. You can check the label for information that will help you interpret the sizing of the pants.

In the United States, brands consistently label men’s pant sizes. Men’s pant sizes are denoted by two numbers, as we already mentioned. Typically, the numbers are separated by an x or slash as in 36×32 or 36/32. Apparently, each number in men’s pants sizes indicates how large the pants are. The waist size is the first number on a pair of men’s pants. For example, if a pair of pants is labeled 36×32, the waist size is 36.

Understanding the W/L

The waist size is an informed guess at the natural waist measurement for which the pants are designed. As a result, a waist size 36 pant is intended for men with a natural waist measurement of 36″. The waist size does not indicate the width of the waistband. Because pants sit underneath your natural waist, the waistband measurement is usually more significant than the labeled waist size.

The second number represents the length size. For instance, if a pant is labeled size 36×32, the length is 32. The length size is also an informed guess as to how long your leg is inches from the top of your thigh to the top of your ankle. The length size is proportional to the inseam length of a pair of pants. The inseam measurement for most pants equals the length size in inches.

On the other hand, the inseam measurement may differ by an inch or two from the tagged length size. Tapered pants have an inseam that is one inch shorter than the length size. Besides that, bootcut pants typically have an extra inch or two inseams to allow the leg opening to fit around the top of your shoes.

You can use the charts below to convert the measurements to the appropriate sizing.

Men’s Pants Sizes (Waist)

It is straightforward to know what your waist size is. All you need to do is measure around your natural waistline in inches or centimeters. Then you can refer to the table below to find your perfect pant size.

SizeWaist in InchesWaist in Centimeters
XS28-3071-76
S30-3276-81
M32-3481-86
L34-3686-91
XL36-3891-96
XXL40-44101-111
3XL46-50117-127
4XL52-54132-137
5XL56-60142-152
6XL60-64157-162

Men’s Pants Size (Length)

Now for the leg size, all you need to do is take the length of the inseam or the inner leg/inside leg measurement.

Size LengthLength in InchesLength in Centimeters
Extra Short2769
Short2974
Regular3179
Long3384
Extra Long3589

How to Measure your Size for Pants

To determine your size, begin by measuring your waist. To accomplish this, place a tape measure at the body’s narrowest middle point. If you measure 33.5 inches, round up to the nearest whole number – W34. On the other hand, the stride length or inseam is calculated by running a measuring tape down the inside of the leg. To get the size, measure from the end of your stride to your foot. So, if you are 31.5 inches tall, round up to the following number as in L32.

Also, keep the cut of the pant you want to buy in mind at all times. A petite amount requires a larger size than a loose-fit cut because it has more room at the ankle.

For instance, if you want to buy suit pants, make sure the measurement stops before the floor. You will need to make sure that they fall neatly on top of your shoes.

However, this is not the case with casual pants because you only need to measure half the heel height. This also prevents your clothes from becoming soiled too quickly, for instance, throughout outdoor tours.

Types of Pant Fits

The fit of our pants also plays a significant role in finding your pant size. You need to identify the fit so that you’ll know which pants to buy. And there are several types of pant fit, and some are listed below.

Relaxed Fit

This is a generous-fitting pant style with extra ease around the hips and thighs for easy movement. For example, suit pants are typically loose-fitting.

Classic Fit

This is the most common fitting style, with an average fit across the entire body – waist, thighs, hips, and legs. It’s the most comfortable fit for any size. Typically, your dress pants will be identified in a classic fit.

Slim Fit

A slim-fit pant style has a snug fit. This is the most flattering style for almost any body type.

Straight Fit

Straight fit pants have knees that are the same size as or slightly larger than the leg opening. The average gap in between the knee and the leg opening is 1.1″.

The Bottom Line

Finding the right fit has always been a struggle for guys. Sometimes pants are too long and baggy. Other times pants are too short and too tight. But knowing how to read the sizes of pants and learning how to measure your waist and leg length will surely help you. It will save you from the dreadful challenge of finding your perfect pant size.

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Jonathan B. Delfs

I love to write about men's lifestyle and fashion. Unique tips and inspiration for daily outfits and other occasions are what we like to give you at MensVenture.com. Do you have any notes or feedback, please write to me directly: [email protected]

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