EN 13402 European Clothing Size Standards  Definition for the Clothing Industry presented by Apparel Search

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EN 13402
is a European standard for labeling clothes sizes. It is based on body dimensions, measured in centimeters. It aims to replace many older national dress-size systems, most likely after the year 2007.

There are three approaches for size-labeling of clothes:

  • body dimensions: The product label states for which range of body dimensions the product was designed. (Example: bike helmet labelled "head girth: 56
    60 cm", shoe labelled "foot length: 28 cm")
  • product dimensions: The label states characteristic measures of the product. (Example: jeans labelled with their inner-leg length in centimetres or inches, i.e. not the
    several centimetres longer
    inner leg length of the intended wearer)
  • ad-hoc size: The label provides a size number or code with no obvious relationship to any measurement. (Example: Size 12, XL)

Traditionally, clothes have been labelled using many different ad-hoc size systems. This approach has led to a number of problems:

  • Country-specific or even vendor-specific labels create additional costs.
  • Ad-hoc sizes have changed with time, often due to "vanity labelling", an inflation in body dimensions associated with a size, to avoid confronting aging customers with uncomfortable anthropometric truths.
  • Mail-order purchasing requires accurate methods for predicting the best-fitting size.
  • Many garments need to be selected based on two or three body dimensions to fit adequately, and not a single scalar.
  • Scalar ad-hoc sizes based on 1950s anthropometric studies are no longer adequate, as changes in nutrition and life styles have shifted the distribution of body dimensions.

Therefore, the European standards committee CEN/tC 248/wG 10 started in 1996 the process of designing a new modern system of labelling clothes sizes, resulting in the standard EN 13402 "Size designation of clothes".

It is based on

  • body-dimensions
  • the metric system (SI)
  • data from new anthropometric studies of the European population performed in the late 1990s
  • similar existing international standards (ISO 3635, etc.)

The EN 13402 standard consists of four parts:

EN 13402-1: Terms, definitions and body measurement procedure

The first part of the standard defines the list of body dimensions to be used for designating clothes sizes, together with an anatomical explanation and measurement guidelines:

head girth 
maximum horizontal girth of the head measured above the ears
neck girth 
girth of the neck measured with the tape measure passed 2 cm below the Adam's apple and at the level of the 7th cervical vertebra
chest girth 
maximum horizontal girth measured during normal breathing with the subject standing erect and the tape-measure passed over the shoulder blades (scapulae), under the armpits (axillae), and across the chest
bust girth 
maximum horizontal girth measured during normal breathing with the subject standing erect and the tape-measure passed horizontally, under the armpits (axillae), and across the bust prominence (preferably measured with moderate tension over a brassiere that shall not deform the breast in an unnatural way and shall not displace its volume)
underbust girth 
horizontal girth of the body measured just below the breasts
waist girth 
girth of the natural waistline between the top of the hip bones (iliac crests) and the lower ribs, measured with the subject breathing normally and standing erect with the abdomen relaxed
hip girth 
horizontal girth measured round the buttocks at the level of maximum circumference
vertical distance between the crown of the head and the soles of the feet, measured with the subject standing erect without shoes and with the feet together (for infants not yet able to stand upright: length of the body measured in a straight line from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet)
inside leg length 
distance between the crotch and the soles of the feet, measured in a straight vertical line with the subject erect, feet slightly apart, and the weight of the body equally distributed on both legs
arm length 
distance, measured using the tape-measure, from the armscye/shoulder line intersection (acromion), over the elbow, to the far end of the prominent wrist bone (ulna), with the subject's right fist clenched and placed on the hip, and with the arm bent at 90
hand girth 
maximum girth measured over the knuckles (metacarpals) of the open right hand, fingers together and thumb excluded
foot length
horizontal distance between perpendiculars in contact with the end of the most prominent toe and the most prominent part of the heel, measured with the subject standing barefoot and the weight of the body equally distributed on both feet
body mass 
measured with a suitable balance in kilograms

These dimensions are meant to be measured preferably without or as few as possible clothes.

All body dimensions are measured in centimetres, except for the body mass.

The standard also defines a pictogram that can be used in language-neutral labels to indicate one or several of the above body dimensions.

EN 13402-2: Primary and secondary dimensions

The second part of the standard defines for each type of garment one "primary dimension". This is the body measure according to which the product must be labelled.

For some types of garment, a single measure may not be sufficient to select the right product. In these cases, one or two "secondary dimensions" can be added to the label.

The following table shows the primary and secondary dimensions listed in the standard. Secondary dimensions are shown in parenthesis.

Garment Men Women Boys Girls
Jackets chest girth
(height, waist girth)
bust girth
(height, hip girth)
(chest girth)
(bust girth)
Suits chest girth, waist girth
(height, inside leg length)
bust girth
(height, hip girth)
(chest girth)
(bust girth)
Overcoats chest girth
bust girth
(chest girth)
(bust girth)
Trousers/shorts waist girth
(height, inside leg length)
waist girth
(height, hip girth, inside leg length)
(waist girth)
(waist girth)
waist girth
(height, hip girth)

(waist girth)
bust girth
(height, hip girth, waist girth)

(bust girth)
Knits: cardigans, sweaters, T-shirts chest girth
bust girth
(chest girth)
(bust girth)
Shirts neck girth
(height, arm length)

(neck girth)

bust girth

(bust girth)
Underpants waist girth
waist girth
(height, hip girth)
(waist girth)
(waist girth)
Vest chest girth
bust girth
(chest girth)
(bust girth)
Ladies' nightdresses
chest girth
(height, waist girth)
bust girth
(height, waist girth, hip girth)
(chest girth)
(bust girth)
Swim-suits/wear and bodies waist girth
(height, chest girth)
bust girth
(height, hip girth, underbust girth)
(chest girth, waist girth)
(underbust girth, bust girth)
underbust girth, bust girth
(cup size)

underbust girth, bust girth
(cup size)
Corsetry/upper and full body
underbust girth, bust girth
(height, hip girth, waist girth)

Corsetry/lower body
waist girth, hip girth

(waist girth, weight)
height height
foot length
Socks foot length
Gloves hand girth
Head wear head girth

EN 13402-3: Measurements and intervals

The third part of the standard defines preferred numbers of primary and secondary body dimensions.

The product should not be labelled with the average body dimension for which the garment was designed (i.e., not "height: 176"). Instead, the label should show the range of body dimensions from half the step size below to half the step size above the design size (e.g., "height: 172-180").

For heights, for example, the standard recommends generally to use the following design dimensions, with a step size of 8 cm:

Height ... 160 168 176 184 192 200 ...
Range ... 156-164 164-172 172-180 180-188 188-196 196-204 ...

For trousers, the recommended step size for height is 4 cm:

Height ... 156 160 164 168 172 176
Range ... 154-158 158-162 162-166 166-170 170-174 174-178
Height 180 184 188 192 196 200 ...
Range 178-182 182-186 186-190 190-194 194-198 198-202 ...

The standard defines similar tables for other dimensions and garments, only some of which are shown here.


The standard sizes and ranges for chest and waist girth are:

Chest girth 84 88 92 96 100 104 108 112
Range 82-86 86-90 90-94 94-98 98-102 102-106 106-110 110-114
Waist girth 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 100
Range 70-74 74-78 78-82 82-86 86-90 90-94 94-98 98-102
Chest girth 116 120 126 132 138 144
Range 114-118 118-123 123-129 129-135 135-141 141-147
Waist girth 104 108 114 120 126 132
Range 102-106 106-111 111-117 117-123 123-129 129-135

The above table is for drop = −12 cm, where

drop = waist girthchest girth.

Example: While manufacturers will typically design clothes for chest girth = 100 cm such that it fits waist girth = 88 cm, they may also want to combine that chest girth with neighbouring waist girth step sizes 84 cm or 92 cm, to cover these drop types (−16 cm and −8 cm) as well.

The standard also suggests that neck girth can be associated with chest girth according to this table:

Neck girth 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44
Range 36.5-37.5 37.5-38.5 38.5-39.5 39.5-40.5 40.5-41.5 41.5-42.5 42.5-43.5 43.5-44.5
Chest girth 88 92 96 100 104 108 112 116
Neck girth 45 46.5 48 49.5 51
Range 44.5-45.8 45.8-47.3 47.3-48.8 48.8-50.3 50.3-51.1
Chest girth 120 126 132 138 144

The standard further suggests that arm length can be associated with height according to this table:

Height 156 160 164 168 172 176 180 184 188 192 196 200
Arm length 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71
Range 59-60 60-61 61-62 62-63 63-64 64-65 65-66 66-67 67-68 68-69 69-70 70-71


Dress sizes

The standard sizes and ranges for bust, waist and hip girth are:

Bust girth 76 80 84 88 92 96 100 104 110
Range 74-78 78-82 82-86 86-90 90-94 94-98 98-102 102-107 107-113
Waist girth 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 94
Range 58-62 62-66 66-70 70-74 74-78 78-82 82-86 86-91 91-97
Hip girth 84 88 92 96 100 104 108 112 117
Range 82-86 86-90 90-94 94-98 98-102 102-106 106-110 110-115 115-120

Bust girth 116 122 128 134 140 146 152
Range 113-119 119-125 125-131 131-137 137-143 143-149 149-155
Waist girth 100 106 112 118 124 130 136
Range 97-103 103-109 109-115 115-121 121-127 127-133 133-139
Hip girth 122 127 132 137 142 147 152
Range 120-125 125-130 130-135 135-140 140-145 145-150 150-155

Bra sizes

See the Bra Glossary

The standard sizes for brassiere are:

Underbust girth 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95
Range 58-62 63-67 68-72 73-77 78-82 83-88 88-92 93-98

Underbust girth 100 105 110 115 120 125
Range 98-102 103-108 108-112 113-118 118-122 123-128

The secondary dimension cup size can be expressed in terms of the difference

cup size = bust girthunderbust girth

and can be labelled compactly using a letter code appended to the underbust girth:

Code AA A B C D E F G
Cup size range 10-12 12-14 14-16 16-18 18-20 20-22 22-24 24-26

Example: Bra size 70B is suitable for women with underbust girth 68-72 cm and bust girth 84-86 cm.

Letter codes

For clothes where a larger step size is sufficient, the standard also defines a letter code. This code represents the bust girth for women and the chest girth for men. The standard does not define such a code for children.

Meaning Code Chest girth (men) Bust girth (women)
extra extra small XXS 70-78 66-74
extra small XS 78-86 74-82
small S 86-94 82-90
medium M 94-102 90-98
large L 102-110 98-106
extra large XL 110-118 107-119
extra extra large XXL 118-129 119-131
extra extra extra large 3XL 129-141 131-143

Each range combines two adjacent size steps. The ranges could be extended below XXS or above 3XL if necessary, for example:

Code Chest girth (men) Bust girth (women)
4XL 141-154 143-155
5XL 154-166 155-167

EN 13402-4: Coding system

The fourth part of the standard is still under review and is expected to be published in late 2007. It will define a compact coding system for clothes sizes. This was originally intended primarily for industry use in databases and as a part of stock-keeping identifiers and catalogue ordering numbers, but later users have also expressed a desire to use compact codes for customer communication. Writing out all the centimetre figures of all the primary and secondary measures from EN 13402-2 can
in some cases
require up to 12 digits. The full list of centimetre figures on the pictogram contains a lot of redundancy and the same information can be squeezed into fewer graphemes with lookup tables. EN 13402-4 will define such tables.

An earlier draft of this part of the standard attempted to list all in-use combinations of EN 13402-3 measures and assigned a short 2- or 3-digit code to each . Some of the industry representatives involved in the standardization process considered this approach too restrictive. Others argued that the primary dimension in centimetres should be a prominent part of the code. Therefore this proposal, originally expected to be adopted in 2005, was rejected.

Since then, several new proposals have been presented to the CEN working group. One of these, tabled by the European Association of National Organisations of Textile Traders (AEDT), proposes a 5-character alphanumeric code, consisting of the 3-digit centimetre figure of the primary body dimension, followed by one or two letters that code a secondary dimension, somewhat like the system already defined for bra sizes. For example, an item designed for

  • bust girth: 100 cm (100)
  • hip girth: 104 cm (B)
  • height: 176 cm (G)

would bear (in addition to the explanatory pictogram) the compact size code "100BG". This proposal was agreed upon in a March 2006 meeting in Florence and a final draft was produced by AEDT on 6 June 2006.

You may also have interested in reading about US Clothing Size Standards: (1976) READER'S DIGEST: COMPLETE GUIDE TO SEWING, 1st ed., Reader's Digest Association. ASIN B000CQ2THY

Vanity sizing

Hemline Definition

Waistline Definition

Neckline Definition

Dress Maker Definition

Color Standards

Tailor Definition

Clothing Definitions

The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/en_13402).  10/8/09  Above article modified by Apparel Search

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