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Sweatshirt Sizing Guide: How to Measure a Sweatshirt

By ShirtSpace | Oct 17, 2023 |  Updated Nov 01, 2023

The cozy and versatile staples in our wardrobes that we all adore: Sweatshirts. From classic pullovers to fashionable hoodies, there's a sweatshirt for every occasion and style. But what's the secret to looking and feeling your best in these comfortable garments? The answer lies in finding the perfect fit. This leads to the next question – how should a sweatshirt fit? In this comprehensive sweatshirt size guide, we'll take you through the steps to measure for purchasing a sweatshirt accurately. Whether you're dealing with deciphering online sizing charts or struggling with shopping for different sweatshirt styles, we've got you covered.

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Sweatshirt Sizing Guide: How to Measure a Sweatshirt

Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of sweatshirt sizing, it's important to understand the challenges you may face when searching for the ideal fit.

The Challenges of Finding the Perfect Sweatshirt Fit

Woman wearing a slightly oversized light blue hooded sweatshirt.
Image credit: Monstera from pexels 

Sweatshirts come in various styles: crewnecks, hoodies, and zip-ups, each with its unique fit and design. These variations can make it a daunting task to choose the right size, particularly when shopping online. The good news is that with the right tools and guidance, you can confidently measure your sweatshirt for a comfortable and stylish fit.

What You'll Need: Tools for Measuring a Sweatshirt

Person holding a fabric measuring tape, woven between their fingers.
Image credit: Jennifer Burk

To measure yourself for a sweatshirt accurately, you'll need a few simple tools:

  • Measuring Tape: This essential tool ensures you get precise measurements.

  • A Flat Surface: Whether it's a table or countertop, having a flat surface to work on will make the process smoother.

  • A Friend: It can be helpful to have a friend assist you with measurements, ensuring greater accuracy.

The Basics: Understanding Sweatshirt Measurements

Now, let's delve into the basics of sweatshirt measurements. When measuring a sweatshirt, focus on the following key areas:

  • Chest Width: Measure from underarm to underarm and double the measurement to determine the chest width.

  • Sleeve Length: Measure from the shoulder seam to the end of the cuff.

  • Body Length: Measure from the top of the shoulder to the bottom hem.

Sweatshirt Sizing 101

With your measurements in hand, it's time to discuss how a sweatshirt should fit. The perfect fit can vary depending on your personal preferences, but there are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Chest, or “Body Width”: A well-fitting sweatshirt should provide enough room for comfortable movement, so aim for a measurement that is 2-4 inches larger than your actual chest size.

A black crewneck sweatshirt, with yellow ruler graphic to show how to measure for proper sweatshirt body width.

  • Sleeve Length: The sleeves should extend to your wrist without being too tight or excessively long.

A black fleece zippered sweatshirt, with yellow ruler graphic to show how to measure for proper sweatshirt sleeve length.

  • Body Length: The body length should ideally cover your waistband, creating a comfortable and stylish look.

Other Sweatshirt Sizing Aspects To Be Mindful Of

  • Neck: A cowl neck will be loose and wider than a standard crewneck or hoodie neckline. A quarter-zip will allow you to control the neckline. Not all neck holes are standard and are not always supplied by the manufacturer on product pages, so pay attention to neck hole style.

  • Hood: Some hoods are more generous than others. You will need to inspect this when you can try the sweatshirt on. 

  • Labels Like “Oversized” or “Long Body”: If you see any of these words in the product name or description, the sweatshirt is likely not a true-to-size fit, but rather intentionally oversized. This means you will likely need a size you do not usually get. 

  • Layering: If you plan on wearing your sweatshirt over other layers of clothing or under outerwear, consider this when selecting your size. 

  • Material: 100% cotton sweatshirts will always shrink, so we recommend sizing up if you select this material makeup. On the other hand, polyester does not shrink at all, so you do not need to size up for this material. 

Comparing Your Measurements to Sweatshirt Size Charts

Next, it's crucial to compare your measurements to the sweatshirt size chart provided by the brand you're considering. Remember that different brands may have slightly different sizing standards, so always check their specific charts. If your measurements fall between two sizes, opting for the larger size's often a good idea, providing a more relaxed fit. Not to mention, the oversized look is trendy right now! 

Woman wearing a dark tan colored matching jogger and hoodie sweatsuit.
Image credit: Lucrecia Laurel from coralens

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When measuring for a sweatshirt, it's important to steer clear of common mistakes that can lead to an ill-fitting garment. Some of these blunders include:

  • Inaccurate Measurements: Always double-check your measurements to ensure they are precise and reliable.

  • Neglecting Brand-Specific Size Charts: Each brand may have its own unique sizing standards, so don't assume your usual size will fit for every brand.

  • Shrinkage Oversight: Be aware that some sweatshirts may shrink after washing, especially if they have a lot of cotton in the mix, so consider this when selecting your size. Polyester does not shrink, so they will stay true to size. 

  • Differentiating Between Women's Vs. Men’s Vs. Unisex Sizing: If you tend to buy from all of these categories, be sure to pay attention to size differences between styles from different categories. 

  • Assuming That Your T-Shirt Size Translates to Your Sweatshirt Size: This can be a great starting point, but it really depends on a few factors, such as the sweatshirt style, cut and desired fit. For example, sometimes someone might prefer a fitted tee but a more oversized sweatshirt. 

Now Go & Find Your Perfect Sweatshirt!

Mastering how to measure a sweatshirt and deciphering sweatshirt sizing is paramount for achieving the perfect fit. Don't let the challenges of online shopping discourage you. Armed with your measurements and a firm understanding of how a sweatshirt should fit, you can confidently choose the right size for your style and comfort. Whether you're in the market for a classic crewneck or a trendy hoodie, you'll be ready to flaunt your sweatshirt in style. Happy sweatshirt shopping! Tell us how you like your sweatshirt to fit in the comments below. 

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