EN 13402

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Clothes-size label with EN 13402-1 pictogram and body dimensions in centimetres (found on a high-visibility jacket sold in the United Kingdom).

EN 13402 is a European standard for labelling clothes sizes. It is based on body dimensions, measured in centimetres. It replaces many older national dress-size systems in popular use before the year 2007. Acceptance of this form of standardisation varies from country to country. For example, the Spanish Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs has commissioned a study[1] to categorise female body types with a view to harmonising Spanish clothing sizes with EN-13402. Few other countries are known to have followed suit.

Background[edit]

There are three approaches for size-labelling of clothes:

Body dimensions
The label states the range of body measurements for which the product was designed. (For example: bike helmet label stating "head girth: 56–60 cm")
Product dimensions
The label states characteristic dimensions of the product. (For example: jeans label stating inner leg length of the jeans in centimetres or inches (not inner leg measurement of the intended wearer))
Ad hoc size
The label states a size number or code with no obvious relationship to any measurement. (For 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:

  • For many types of garments, size cannot be adequately described by a single number because a good fit requires a match between two (or sometimes three) independent body dimensions. This is a common issue in sizing jeans.
  • Ad hoc sizes have changed with time due to changing demographics and increasing rates of obesity. This is often portrayed in media as vanity sizing.
  • Scalar ad hoc sizes based on 1950s anthropometric studies are no longer adequate, as changes in nutrition and life style have shifted the distribution of body dimensions.
  • Mail order requires accurate methods for predicting the best-fitting size.
  • Country-specific and vendor-specific labels incur additional costs.

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:

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

EN 13402-1 pictogram example

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. All body dimensions are measured, preferably without or as few as possible clothes, 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 following body dimensions.

head girth 
maximum horizontal girth (circumference) 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
height 
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

EN 13402-2: Primary and secondary dimensions[edit]

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. Where men’s garments use the chest girth, women’s clothes are designed for a certain bust girth.

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, leaving out the redundant words girth, length and size for better overview. Primary dimensions are shown in bold type.

Garment Men Women Boys Girls
Jackets chest, height, waist bust, height, hip height, chest height, bust
Suits chest, waist, height, inside leg bust, height, hip height, chest height, bust
Overcoats chest, height bust, height height, chest height, bust
Trousers/shorts waist, height, inside leg waist, height, hip, inside leg height, waist height, waist
Skirts waist, height, hip height, waist
Dresses bust, height, hip, waist height, bust
Knits: cardigans, sweaters, T-shirts chest, height bust, height height, chest height, bust
Shirts (m), Blouses (f) neck, height, arm bust, height height, neck height, bust
Underpants waist, height waist, height, hip height, waist height, waist
Vest chest, height bust, height height, chest height, bust
Pyjamas, Ladies' nightdresses chest, height, waist bust, height, waist, hip height, chest height, bust
Swim-suits/wear and bodies waist, height, chest bust, height, hip, underbust height, chest, waist height, underbust, bust
Bras underbust, bust, cup underbust, bust, cup
Corsetry/upper and full body underbust, bust, height, hip, waist
Corsetry/lower body waist, hip, height
Pantyhose height, waist, weight height
Stockings foot
Socks foot
Gloves hand
Headwear head

EN 13402–3: Measurements and intervals[edit]

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 cm."). 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 cm.").

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

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

Men[edit]

The standard sizes and ranges for chest and waist girth are defined in steps of 4 cm:

Men’s standard sizes for drop = −12 cm
Chest girth 84 88 92 96 100 104 108 112 116 120 126 132 138 144
Range 82–86 86–90 90–94 94–98 98–102 102–106 106–110 110–114 114–118 118–123 123–129 129–135 135–141 141–147
Waist girth 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 100 104 108 114 120 126 132
Range 70–74 74–78 78–82 82–86 86–90 90–94 94–98 98–102 102–106 106–111 111–117 117–123 123–129 129–135
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:

Association of neck and chest girth
Neck girth 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46.5 48 49.5 51
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 44.5–45.8 45.8–47.3 47.3–48.8 48.8–50.3 50.3–51.1
Chest girth 88 92 96 100 104 108 112 116 120 126 132 138 144

The standard further suggests that arm length can be associated with height:

Association of arm length and body height
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

Women[edit]

EN 13402–1 pictogram example for dress size 88–72–96

Dress sizes[edit]

The standard sizes and ranges for bust, waist and hip girth are mostly based on a step of 4 cm, for larger sizes 5 cm (hip) or 6 cm (bust and waist):

Women’s standard sizes for drop = −16 cm
Bust girth 76 80 84 88 92 96 100 104 110 116 122 128 134 140 146 152
Range 74–78 78–82 82–86 86–90 90–94 94–98 98–102 102–107 107–113 113–119 119–125 125–131 131–137 137–143 143–149 149–155
Waist girth 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 94 100 106 112 118 124 130 136
Range 58–62 62–66 66–70 70–74 74–78 78–82 82–86 86–91 91–97 97–103 103–109 109–115 115–121 121–127 127–133 133–139
Hip girth 84 88 92 96 100 104 108 112 117 122 127 132 137 142 147 152
Range 82–86 86–90 90–94 94–98 98–102 102–106 106–110 110–115 115–120 120–125 125–130 130–135 135–140 140–145 145–150 150–155

Bra sizes[edit]

EN 13402–1 pictogram for bra size 70B

The European standard EN 13402 also defines bra sizes based on the "bust girth" and the "underbust girth". Bras are labeled with the under bust girth (rounded to the nearest multiple of 5 cm), followed by a letter code that indicates the "cup size" defined below, according to this table defined by the standard.

The standard sizes for brassiere are based on a step of 5 cm:

Underbust girth 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 120 125
Range 58–62 63–67 68–72 73–77 78–82 83–87 88–92 93–97 98–102 103–107 108–112 113–117 118–122 123–127

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 H
Cup size range 10–12 12–14 14–16 16–18 18–20 20–22 22–24 24–26 26–28
Example 1
Bra size 70B is suitable for women with underbust girth 68–72 cm and bust girth from 82–84 cm to 86–88 cm.
Example 2
A woman with an underbust girth of 89 cm and a bust girth of 108 cm has cup size 19 cm (= 108 cm – 89 cm) or "D". Her underbust girth rounded to the nearest multiple of 5 cm is 90 cm. Therefore, her bra size according to the standard is 90D.

Letter codes[edit]

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

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 98–107
extra large XL 110–118 107–119
extra extra large XXL 118–129 119–131
extra extra extra large 3XL 129–141 131–143
4XL 141–154 143–155
5XL 154–166 155–167

EN 13402-4: Coding system[edit]

The fourth part of the standard is still under review. 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 characters with lookup tables. EN 13402-4 will define such tables.

Dismissed 2005 draft: women's clothes, 3-digit codes
Bust 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 100 104 110 116 122 128 134 140 146 152
Waist 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 94 100 106 112 118 124 130 136
Label XXS XS S M L XL XXL 3XL 4XL
Code 0__ 1__ 2__ 3__ 4__ 5__ 6__ 7__ 8__
_0_ 68 76 84 92 100 112 122 132 142
_1_ _5_ 72 80 88 96 106 117 127 137 147
_2_ _6_ 76 84 92 100 112 122 132 142 152
_3_ _7_ 80 88 96 106 117 127 137 147 157
_4_ _8_ 84 92 100 112 122 132 142 152 162
_9_ 88 96 106 117 127 137 147 157 167
Height 152 156 160 164 168 172 176 180 184 188
Code __0 __1 __2 __3 __4 __5 __6 __7 __8 __9

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.

Dismissed 2006 AEDT proposal: women's clothes
Primary Bust 76 80 84 88 92 96 100 104 110 116 122 128 134 140 146 152
Waist 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 94 100 106 112 118 124 130 136
Secondary Code A B C D E F G H I J
Hip-Bust 0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36
Hip-Waist 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 44 48 52
Height 152 156 160 164 168 172 176 180 184 188

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.[2] For example, an item designed for 100 cm bust girth, 104 cm hip girth and 176 cm height could bear the compact size code "100BG". This proposal was agreed upon in 2006, but later disregarded.[3] A paper by Bogusławska-Bączek published in 2010 showed that there were still significant difficulties in identifying clothing sizes.[4]

Related links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The anthropometric study of the female population has revealed the existence of three generalised body types, which should serve as a more accurate basis for sizing". Consumo-inc.es. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  2. ^ CEN/TC 248/WG 10 N 285
  3. ^ "Study on labelling of textile products". AEDT. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  4. ^ Bogusławska-Bączek, Monika (September 2010). "Analysis of the contemporary problem of garment sizing sizes". 7th International Conference - TEXSCI 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2011. 

External links[edit]