Clothing Sizes In China Vs. US: How To Figure Out Your Size

There's one universal thing about clothing sizes throughout the world: They're all different. Even with brands in the same country, there are countless styles and fits to choose from. Throw in a different measurement system, and you have a whole lot of confused shoppers. Clothing sizes in China and the United States are completely different (via Blitz Results), which makes shopping abroad intricate. Don't worry, though — there are some simple tips and tricks to finding the right size.


Shopping online is a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because there are so many incredible brands available. But, on the other hand, many of those brands are headquartered outside of the United States, which means the fit can get confusing. While China measures, clothing sizes in numbers just like the U.S., they use centimeters instead of inches (via

What does that mean for shopping? Well, it means that a size small by China's standards isn't necessarily the same as what you're used to in the U.S. Here's everything you need to know when you're shopping overseas or online from international retailers.

When in doubt, size up

Clothing sizes as people traditionally know them are a combination of three different measurements: bust, hip, and waist. When you're shopping internationally, that is exactly the same. What's not the same are the units of measurement. 


While you might look at a website and see the small, medium, and large size options like you would with a U.S.-based company, it's important to check the size guide. According to, sizes in China are typically one size smaller than they are in the United States. That means that when you shop a size large, you're actually asking for a medium by U.S. standards. 

To put it simply, always size up your clothing if you're shopping from China. Of course, it's always smart to look into all the different size guides as you shop. Not only does it save you from having to do a return, but it also helps the planet with less waste and transportation. But, of course, sometimes impulse shopping happens. You're only human, after all. Just to be safe, make sure you're sizing up when you're shopping from a China-based clothing brand. 


Online size guides can be misleading

The simple thing to do would just be to check all the online size guides as you shop, but sometimes that can be even more confusing. For example, SHEIN is an extremely popular China-based brand. According to Vox, SHEIN ships to 220 different countries, of which the United States has the highest number of shoppers. The fast-fashion brand offers a size guide on the website, but it's not the easiest to read.


The sizes under the item read "XS (2)", "S (4)", "M (6)", and "L (8/10)", and you can click on the size guide to get more information. When it pops up, SHEIN's size guide shows the measurements in inches with a warning that says the measurements may be off by as much as two centimeters. 

Bottom line: Be safe and size up when you're shopping from China. Oh, and make sure there's a return policy, just in case.