[Complete Guide] How to Measure Chest Size? Update 06/2022

Do you ever get overwhelmed by all the different sizes and measurements when you go shopping for clothing?? Getting shirts, underwear, and coats to fit snugly in the chest is one of the most difficult sizing challenges. The good news is that you can learn how to estimate your chest size in advance of your next shopping trip!

The best technique to measure chest size is to have a second person wrap a cloth tape measure around the widest part of the chest. The best way to get an accurate measurement is to keep the tape measure parallel to the ground. An accurate chest measurement can also be obtained by measuring a well-fitting garment, such as a dress shirt or sweatshirt.

There are four simple ways you may measure your chest size in this post. Your knowledge of sizing charts will be enhanced. If you’re looking to buy a suit, bra, or shirt, you’ll learn how to measure your chest correctly.

How To Measure Chest Size

Why Do You Need to Know Chest Size?

In order to shop for clothing that fits, you must know your chest size. This is especially true if you shop online, where you don’t have the opportunity to try on a blouse, jacket, or bra before you buy it.

As a matter of fact, most clothing brands do not offer dimensions in inches or millimeters in the descriptions of their products. Instead, a variety of sizing systems are employed. This is due to the fact that most ready-made garment producers utilize generic one-size-fits-all forms.

Men’s and women’s apparel use a variety of sizing schemes, including the small, medium, and large measurements. When shopping for men’s dress shirts, you may come across measurements for both the shirt’s chest size and length. The chest size and bra cup size are two more commonly used measurement systems.

For example, how do you determine the correct size for yourself if there are so many different sizing systems?

The answer is as simple as pie. Find the brand’s or manufacturer’s sizing chart. For online purchases, you’ll typically find this information in the product description. To see which size corresponds to your measurement, simply locate it in the table.

The sizing chart might also assist you assess if a garment is going to fit you in the long run. It’s possible that despite the chart’s description, you’ll find that your chest size falls in in the middle of the sizes, but the sleeves don’t fit. In other words, unless you don’t mind spending money on adjustments, you can safely conclude that this particular line of clothing is not suitable for your body type.

The ideal sewing pattern size for your body type can be determined by knowing your dimensions. For those who prefer to buy pre-made clothing and then adjust it to fit their own body measurements, this can be a great tool to use.

Knowing your chest size can also help you figure out how certain sorts of apparel should suit your physique, as we’ll see later on in this article. If you’re going to wear a dress shirt, do you want it to be loose or tight?

Take your own chest measurement first before learning the answers to these essential fashion questions!

How To Measure Chest Size: 4 Methods

How to measure your chest

To achieve an exact chest measurement, it’s preferable to enlist the assistance of a third party; nevertheless, the “half chest method” section of this guide includes instructions for doing it yourself. Just a few minutes of your time can make a huge difference in your shopping experience!

1. For Men

For guys, the easiest approach to achieve an accurate chest measurement is with the help of a friend or family member. The tape measure will be difficult to keep level if you try to use this approach on your own. You won’t get an accurate reading if it sags in any way.

As long as you’re getting your clothing adjusted at a tailor, you’ll be able to ask for help! Making a list of all your measurements in this manner is a time-saving convenience that you can take use of every time you go shopping.

With the help of a friend, you may measure your chest size.

  1. Remove your shirt and stand with your arms outstretched in front of you, palms towards the ground. Keep your body in a relaxed position and avoid flexing your muscles.
  2. Wrap a flexible fabric tape measure around the widest section of your torso and ask your friend to do the same for you. Taping under your armpits is typically done this way. Ask a buddy to check sure the tape measure is level around the back and front of your chest, and that the line is parallel to the floor.
  3. Take a measurement around your chest at its widest point.
  4. For customized button-down shirts, you’ll want to use this measurement as your chest measurement. T-shirts, for example, can be made looser by adding up to two inches to the measurement.

2. For Women

The term “bust size” is commonly used to refer to a woman’s chest measurement. Depending on what type of clothing you’re looking to purchase, you’ll find a variety of sizing and measuring systems. But still, you’ll need a precise measurement to help you select items that fit!

  1. To begin, put on your regular bra or wrap or whatever other undergarments you normally wear. Over the top of these underwear, you’ll want to take measurements for your apparel, as well.
  2. Next, use a tape measure that may be molded to your body shape. No good can come of using a strong piece of tape.
  3. Try to get the support of a trusted friend or relative when taking this measurement. Using a mirror is OK, but it’s difficult to maintain the tape measure in place by yourself!
  4. Stand in a slouched position. Keep your shoulders and hips in a relaxed position, but don’t exaggerate your cleavage or arch your back.
  5. Wrap the tape over the widest area of your bust with a friend’s help, keeping it parallel to the floor across your back and fitting it under your arms at your armpits.
  6. Write down the number at the spot where the two ends of the tape meet.

Most women’s clothing, such as dresses, shirts, and jackets, uses either the S-M-L measuring system or the numeric sizing system, such as size 2, size 4, etc. You will simply need to match your bust measurement to the correct size using the sizing chart provided by the brand or manufacturer. The exception to this rule is bra sizes, which you can read more about later in this article!

3. Half-Chest Method

Measurement of your chest size can be taken using the half-chest method rather than measuring yourself. Using this method, you can accurately measure your own torso even if you don’t have a helper nearby.

Keeping in mind that most clothing doesn’t fit like a skin-tight t-shirt or button-down, this measurement will give you an accurate fit for such garments. However, you won’t get an exact reading of your own chest from this.

  1. The clothing should be laid out on a flat surface, such as a rug or a table.
  2. Stretch a tape measure from one side seam to the other, right below the sleeve. Alignment is important.
  3. This number should be noted. Because it only measured one side of the garment, this is known as a “half measurement.” Simply increase that result by two to obtain the entire chest measurement!

4. Without Measuring Tape

If you don’t have a flexible fabric measuring tape, you can still get an accurate chest measurement!

  1. Wrap your torso in a piece of ribbon string or twine that is long enough.
  2. Replace your tape measure with this string, following the directions in the preceding paragraphs.
  3. Mark the string or twine at the point where the two ends meet with a sharpie.
  4. Lay the ribbon, twine, or string down flat.
  5. Measure the distance between the sharpie mark and the end of the twin using a ruler or metal tape measure.
  6. Make a note of that number!

What Do Chest Sizes Mean?

Chest size chart

It’s natural to ask yourself what chest sizes represent after taking your measurements. Is a 36-inch chest circumference appropriate for a medium-weight tee shirt?

An overview of the most common chest sizes for both men and women will be provided in this section. Keep take mind that sizing criteria used by various brands and manufacturers may differ. It’s possible to have a 36-inch chest in one brand and a 36-inch chest in another!

What Dress Size is 21 Inch Chest?

Clothing with a chest measurement of 21″ is uncommon in the ready-to-wear market. The normal chest measurement for a US clothes size 0 is 30 inches.

As an example, there are some dress sizes that fall into the XL category even if they only have a half-chest measurement of 21 inches.

What is a Size 34 Inch Chest?

In terms of men’s apparel, a 34″ chest usually corresponds to a small shirt or jacket. To get a Size 4 or Small piece of clothing like a shirt or dress, you’ll need a 34″ chest measurement.

What Size is a 36 Inch Chest?

Men’s clothing with a 36″ chest is considered medium-sized. Medium or size 8-10 women’s apparel is typically paired with a 36″ bust measurement.

Is a 38 Inch Chest Large?

If your chest measures 38 inches, you may be a medium or large depending on the manufacturer. For females, a 38″ bust usually corresponds to a size Large or a 12-to-14-inch shoe size.

No, a 38″ chest measurement does not qualify as “large” in the sense of being larger than typical. According to the American apparel industry, the typical size of American women’s clothing is a 14.

What is a 42 Chest Size?

A 42″ chest measurement indicates a Large in most men’s clothes, such as button-down shirts and t-shirts. The bust measurement of 42″ in women’s clothing often implies an XL in clothing such as shirts and skirts.

What Size is a 52 Inch Chest?

Size 3XL, with a chest measurement of 52 inches, is available from many men’s apparel manufacturers. Depending on the manufacturer, a woman with a 52″ bust can wear a 2XL or 3XL size.

Chest Sizing Chart

An online chest size chart will help you determine which brand of clothing you should purchase by matching your chest measurement to that of that particular clothing manufacturer’s standard sizing. Always compare your dimensions to a sizing chart before purchasing online if you’re a frequent buyer.

Using the charts below, you may get a decent sense of what size you typically wear based on your chest size.

For Men

Using this sizing chart, you can see where your chest falls within the various sizing ranges. These average measurements can give you a decent idea of what size to purchase for. Of course, this can vary from brand to brand.

Small33” to 35”83-89 cm
Medium36” to 38”91-97 cm
Large38” to 41”97-104 cm
X Large41”-42”104-107 cm

For Women

S/M/L sizing or a numeric sizing scheme for women’s apparel should be used to match your chest measurement.

Small/Size 4-634” to 35”86-89 cm
Medium/Size 8-1036” to 37”91-94 cm
Large/Size 12-1438” to 39”96-99 cm
X Large/Size 16-1840” to 42”101-106 cm

How To Measure Chest Size for:

It’s time to apply what you’ve learned about taking a chest measurement and comparing it to a sizing chart to specific types of apparel.


The two-person method of wrapping a flexible tape measure around the broadest area of the torso or breast is the best way to achieve an accurate chest measurement for a vest.

It is a type of sleeveless garment that is typically worn over a shirt or undergarment and fastens at the front. Many of these tops feature a deep V neckline that dips down the front before fastening in the midsection.

For a garment that has a deep dip in its structure and does not cover the entire torso, a chest measurement may look a little weird. The chest size you would use for a shirt actually provides the perfect amount of shoulder-to-shoulder space in your vest!

Waistcoats and corsets are two other options that look like vests.

For a vest that fits exactly, you will need to take additional measures, such as your waist and length.


Bust measurement

For the majority of brands, you’ll have to take two separate torso measures in order to acquire an accurate bra size. There are two components to measuring bras: the band size and the cup size.

The band size is mentioned first, with the length of the band in inches, and the width is listed second. Letters like as A, B, and C are used to designate the cup size.

A chest measurement and the purchase of an appropriate bra necessitate the collection of two independent measures.

  1. In order to get the most accurate measurements possible, begin by measuring just below your bust or around your rib cage with a flexible tape measure. This measurement should be rounded up to the nearest whole number and recorded. Inches, this will tell you your bra band size.
  2. In order to get an accurate bust measurement, you should first measure your largest part of your chest. Round up to the nearest whole number once more, please
  3. A little math is in order now. Make a subtraction between breast and band measurements. As an example, complete this equation: 38 – 34 = 4 if you have a bust measurement of 38″.
  4. Cup sizes are based on the difference between the band and bust size. A is one inch, B is two inches, C is three inches, and D is four inches!
  5. Because your band measurement is 34″ and your bust and band measures are 4″ apart, you’ll require a D cup bra in this case.


Get a second person to help you wrap a flexible tape around your torso’s widest point to determine your shirt’s chest size. Earlier in this post, you’ll learn how to perform this type of measurement!

Keep in mind, though, that not every garment should fit the same way. As a rule of thumb, the chest of a tailored or athletic-fit button-down should fit tightly over your torso. To get the best fit, you may need to add an inch or two to your measurement when it comes to your polo, henley or t-shirt.

The half-chest measuring method, mentioned previously in this article, can be used on several shirts that fit you quite well to get an idea of the chest measurement you prefer for certain types of shirts. You’ll be able to keep track of the measurements of polo shirts, tees, and the like. You may discover that you prefer clothes with different chest measurements.


Sizes for suits, jackets, and blazers are usually divided into two categories: chest and length. Short or Regular lengths are available in sizes 36S (36 inches in circumference) and 40R (40.25 inches in circumference). You can use these two criteria to discover a suit or jacket that fits you perfectly.

According to most manufacturers, length can be expressed in terms of sizes S through XL. Short, regular, long, and extremely long are all represented by the same set of letters.

Use any of the methods provided in this article to determine your chest size.

If you’re between 5′ 7″ and 6′, you should be fine with the Regular length. Look for a jacket with a Short sleeve if you are shorter than that.

If you’re between 6’1″ and 6’3″, a Long jacket will work best for you. Consider an XL or extra long length in a jacket if you’re taller than that.


If you’re looking for a good hoodie chest measurement, measure a hoodie that you already own.

Many people want their hoodies to be looser-fitting than shirts, vests, or jackets because of their bulky look and because hoodies are typically worn over other items. For example, it’s best to avoid purchasing an exact match to your chest measurement because it would be overly tight and uncomfortable.

What is the Ideal Chest Size?

A perfect waist-to-chest ratio can be found, according to some experts, but there is no such thing as an optimum chest size for men or women. Remember that each person’s body is unique in shape and size, thus there is no “ideal” chest size!


Although the notions of women’s beauty are always changing because to things like advertising and pop culture, certain women’s bodies still have the perfect ratio hypothesis. Women’s breast, waist, and hip dimensions are said to be optimal when they fall within the parameters of a 36-26-36 ratio.

The average American woman wears a bra size 36C, which makes this an unachievable goal. In addition, a growing number of big-name businesses are marketing products for women of various shapes and sizes, which shows a shift away from this outdated ideal!


For athletes and models, several fashion experts indicate that your chest should measure at least 10 inches larger than your waist in order for you to achieve the ideal body proportions. For example, if your chest is 40 inches, your waist should measure 30 inches in order to create a well-defined figure.

You shouldn’t worry too much about this, because the average American male has a chest measurement of 40″ and a waist measurement of 34″.

What is Chest Width?

You can think of your bust or chest as your “widest point,” and your chest width is the measurement of that point. Wrap a flexible tape measure around your torso, just below your armpits, to get an accurate reading.

When it comes to clothing, chest width is often used instead of the actual chest measurement. There is a distinct difference between hoodies and other clothes, such as shirts and jackets, when it comes to chest width.

Bust vs Chest Measurement

Typically, a bust measurement for women’s clothes is the distance around the bust’s broadest section. In comparison, the distance around the point slightly below the bust can be referred to as a “chest or rib case measurement.”

For shirts, skirts and other outerwear, measure around your bust. Getting the correct bra size will require you to measure both your bust and your chest!


Getting a friend to assist you wrap a flexible tape measure around the broadest part of your chest or bust is the best approach to achieve an accurate chest measurement. You can also take a half-measurement by measuring across a shirt or jacket that fits you well, from one side seam to the other at the widest portion of the chest. Using a piece of twine and a ruler is an alternative if you don’t have a tape measure.

Getting a friend to assist you wrap a flexible tape measure around the widest part of your chest or bust is the best method to achieve an accurate measurement. Additionally, you can also measure across the widest part of your chest, from one side seam to the other, using a shirt or jacket that fits well. With no tape measure on hand, you may simply use some twine to measure the twin and then use a ruler!

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