How Are Men's and Women's Clothing Cut Differently, and How to Tell Your Size in Both

How Are Men's and Women's Clothing Cut Differently, and How to Tell Your Size in Both

When choosing outfits for your closet, it can feel hard to be limited by society-defined gender limitations. If you like a men’s cardigan sweater, you should buy it — and be confident doing so. If a man is struck by a pair of fitted women’s pants, he should feel confident to buy them, too!

But, when it comes to men’s and women’s clothes, they’re cut differently to satisfy the shapes and needs of traditional men’s and women’s bodies. So, it’s important to know what kind of size discrepancies and cut differences exist in both collections of clothes. That way, you’ll be all set to buy yourself new clothes, whether they’re categorized as men’s or women’s clothes.

Here are the key differences between men’s and women’s clothing and how to find the best size for you in both.

The Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Shirts

When it comes to men’s and women’s shirts, the cuts are vastly different, which is an important thing to remember if you’re looking to purchase a new top. Yay Print notes that men's shirts are "mainly straight up and down. The shoulder area has a sloping effect down from the collar, and the sleeves also slope down from an angle."

On the other hand, Yay Print states that women's shirts have a slimmer waist to account for women's curvy body shape. The article also states that men's and women's shirt sleeves are very different, too. Women's t-shirt sleeves are often short, while men's T-shirt sleeves end near the elbow.

When deciding on a shirt to purchase, keep in mind the differences in cut. If you’re a woman looking to buy a men’s shirt, size down. If you’re a man looking to buy some women’s shirts, size up!

The Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Pants

In an article for Her Campus, author Kirby Mealer gives a detailed rundown of the differences between men’s and women’s pants, particularly jeans. She stresses that men’s jeans have larger pockets than women’s pants (which is a common complaint by many women who are forced to bring a bag on errands, even when they don’t want to!) and also notes that the buttocks area of men’s jeans is flatter than that of women’s jeans.

Denim Manufacturer states that “men’s jeans are generally designed with straight cuts extending across the leg, wide net, wide cuts dominated by the hip, while ladies’ jeans come with narrow hip, narrow waist, vertical hip, long leg length.” So, similar to cuts of men’s and women’s shirts, men’s pants, overall, have a wider fit while women’s pants are more narrow. When shopping for these items, keep this in mind. If you’re a woman, size down to rock that boyfriend-style jean look. If you’re a man, size up a bit to make sure the tight-fitting pants aren’t too tight.

It’s Important to Know About the Difference in Men’s and Women’s Pants Sizing

If you’re looking to buy yourself a pair of women’s pants or men’s pants, it’s super important that you understand the differences in sizing—the two kinds of pants are sized completely differently.

According to, “men’s pants are labeled with the waist size and length (inseam), while women’s pants sizes are usually indicated by numbers — 0, 4, 6, 8, 12, etc. Generally, if you only know the numerical size of your pants in women’s, you can add 21 to that number to get the closest waist measurement in men’s pants. For a size 8 in women’s, your size in men’s pants will be around 29. Still, this rule could vary from brand to brand.”

Remember, It’s Important to Try On Multiple Sizes

To find the best size for you in both men’s and women’s clothing, it’s important to try on your new clothes and try on multiple sizes at that. It can be harder to find the right size for you when you’re wearing a style that wasn’t originally made for your body shape.

Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know your size in those pair of women’s capris or are unsure of your size in a men’s fleece jacket. Instead, shop with an open mind and be ready to try on all different sizes and styles.


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