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What waist size is a "size 4"?

Is it a 26 inch waist or 27?

Mon. Oct 23, 10:18am

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006, 12:36 PM

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Here's a sizing chart - they probably vary a little from store-to-store, though and clothing manufacturer.


Monday, October 23, 2006, 10:57 AM

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That sizing chart is BS because manufacturers keep nudging the sizes up -- I have a 26.8-27" waist and am wearing new "size 4" of most brands very comfortably. I am also wearing my "size 12" retro clothes from the 1980's very comfortably. Hmmm.

Monday, October 23, 2006, 11:07 AM

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when I worked retail a 4 was a 24" waist, 6 a 26" waist, 8 a 28" waist, 10 a 30" wiast, etc., etc.,

Monday, October 23, 2006, 11:09 AM

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My waist is about 26", and I wear a 4 at many places, and a 2 at some. It mostly depends on where the clothes sit on your hips though; I have bigger hips, so clothes that sit lower, I take a bigger size. Clothes that sit closer to your waist, I take a smaller size. I don't think it's really waist size = pants size anymore.

Monday, October 23, 2006, 12:06 PM

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The link below might be interesting; it's a discussion of the history of women's clothes sizing. The changes in sizing over the years are even bigger than you probably thought. If you dig down to the last NBS voluntary standard (withdrawn in 1983), which is linked to from these pages if you dig hard, the misses' standard size 12 is supposed to fit 35-26-37, 5'4", 125 pounds. And this apparently is now a size 4, at least in some lines.


Monday, October 23, 2006, 12:11 PM

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Re. 12:11

11:07 here... ...Ha! So I _am_ a "standard size 12" -- close to perfectly so.

Bought a bunch of new clothes last week, all in "size 4."

Monday, October 23, 2006, 1:08 PM

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Yeah - I was all excited when I fit into some 4's over the weekend even though another section of the store had 8's that were just right. It really makes it hard to shop unless you have hours to try on every different style in 3 different sizes!

And I know I'm not the only one that has the problem of when the pants fit the hips there's at least a 3 inch gap in the waist.

I was thinking they should size pants like they do bras - you know, have a base measurement of the waist and then add a letter like a, b, c, dd, etc for how big your hips are in comparison!!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006, 1:43 PM

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I agree 1:43!!!

I have the same issues!! I have to pin my pants at the waist or go to the seamstress in order to accomodate my hips - unless I want everyone to see my cottage cheese butt which I'd really rather keep hidden for everyone's sake!!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006, 3:01 PM

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I am the total opposite! I have NO hips and really no waist to speak of! My pants end up baggy in the butt and thighs when they fit well in the waist. Sucks!

Monday, October 23, 2006, 3:19 PM

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12:06 - You have a 26" waist and can fit into a 2??? Don't take this personally, but that disgusts me... No offence but a 26 shouldn't be a 2... but that at least better explains how some stores can come up with 00 sizes... And how with a 32 inch waist I can find the odd size 8 that fits...

Monday, October 23, 2006, 3:39 PM

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1:43 Poster

That would be a great idea. I always have a hard time buying pants that fit both my waist and my hips. There's always a gap!

Monday, October 23, 2006, 4:20 PM

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To 3:39pm - 12:06pm poster here - yes, no offense taken. I have multiple pairs of pants, Express and Limited dress pants and Gap blue jeans, all in size 2. I'm 5'1", and 120 lbs, I have a lot of muscle so maybe that accounts for some of the weight, but yes, 26" waist last time I checked. I'm also "properly" a 32DD, so maybe my shape is somewhat unique...?? Though I think I'm proportionately curvy, with a well-defined waist.

I wear a size 4 pants from Ann Taylor, and a 5/6 in anything Junior's (i.e. LEI).

I wear a size 28 in Seven For All Mankind Jeans.

I never EVER buy pants where they're so tight at the top that I have any "muffin top."

Monday, October 23, 2006, 4:36 PM

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Monday, October 23, 2006, 4:40 PM

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Monday, October 23, 2006, 4:41 PM

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I guess I should shop the higher-end stores....

these sizing charts DO make me feel better than good ole fashioned JCPenney!!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006, 5:05 PM

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i'm never a size 4, but it is deffenately true about different stores (and even the same store) having different sizes fit, i have jeans in sizes 6-14!
also, in terms of the OP question, do you mean the waist on a person who is a size 4 or the waistband on a pair of size 4 pants? modernly pants are worn anywhere from one's natural waist to ones hips so the style of pants would effect the measurement.

Monday, October 23, 2006, 5:23 PM

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Friday, November 17, 2006, 2:38 PM

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Are you sure disgusts is the word you want to use? What's so disgusting? It makes you sound very rude and mean.

Friday, December 15, 2006, 1:54 AM

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What about the models that wear a size 0 or 2? Don't we complain how skinny they are? A size 4 is just 1-2 sizes above that so I would say people that wear a size 4 today are still pretty thin. Not much bigger than models. And were people just REALLY thin in the 80s? Probably

Friday, December 15, 2006, 11:46 AM

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i think models say they wear a size 2 or a 0 and either are wearing really high end stuff which TRUELY is a 0 or 2 OR they are wearing the same stuff we all do and have to have it all altered to fit their gangly gazelle like-frames.

Friday, December 15, 2006, 12:26 PM

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5'4", 115 pounds, 27" waist - I fit into lots of zero pants and XS shirts, but my dress size is 6 which I find is probably most "accurate" and not a vanity size.

Saturday, December 16, 2006, 8:43 AM

Add comment a waist 25'' but they're a bit bit for me, what size am i? i wanted waist 24'' but they dont sell them :S i think im a six because im also very tall

Sunday, June 03, 2007, 9:44 AM

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You have to remember that in todays age a 27 usually is the hips on many pants because that's where the pants lay however in the 80's the pants were more where the true waist is and that is much smaller than a hip measurement. I also am a 27 in jean waists and I wear a size 4 at most places as well.

Monday, August 20, 2007, 10:31 PM

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3.19 - you're built like my sister.

she's had great luck with "Delia's" skinny jeans - they look great on her!

Thought you might want to try them. :]

Monday, August 20, 2007, 10:39 PM

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wait a second....i live in canada, do the sizes differ here?

I was looking at all the size charts and they don't make much sense to me. I wear a size 10 and my waist is 34 inches, However, according to these sites, i should wear a 14 or 16. Huh?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 9:06 AM

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how about this? if it fits.. wear it. size isn't as important as a good fit. they vary from store to store (obviously) and all this stressing over size will give us a complex if we're not careful.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 4:07 PM

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I totally agree with 4:07!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 4:18 PM

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"You have to remember that in todays age a 27 usually is the hips on many pants because that's where the pants lay however in the 80's the pants were more where the true waist is and that is much smaller than a hip measurement."

I always wondered why, if I have 26in waist/32in hips, I usually fit only size 10's? Probably coz the trousers I go for are hipsters!! D'oh. Plus, I've got that annoying gastro-problem of bloating out after eating. So what I measure first thing in the morning before breakfast, is not necessarily what I'll measure later *boo*

Thursday, January 03, 2008, 3:39 AM

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question for all of you size 2's and 4's

Have all you size 2 and 4 beeotchs (LOL kidding I'm jealous) lost alot of weight? Lets hear about how you got there because no matter how you slice and dice it those are fabulous sizes! Good for you!

Thursday, January 03, 2008, 9:49 AM

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Although I find sizing to be completely random (as in there is no true sizing - measurements are true) I keep myself in the smaller sizes by eating one cookie and not four like I used to, I don't eat at night just cuz I feel like having a snack, I don't drink my calories, and I get exercise. Bascially, I eat less than I used to and I move more!

I like the words of the pp - buy what fits and forget the size! Of course, those little (or big) numbers play with the mind so it's easier said than done.

Thursday, January 03, 2008, 10:00 AM

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VANITY sizing ! I hate the the manufacturers do this. When I had a 27 waist back in 1984 I wore a size 5/7. Its a lot different now. Now it depends on the store, who makes the item. A size 12 is never the same size in any one place.

Thursday, January 03, 2008, 10:52 AM

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Very true - I can wear a 6-8 in Next, but not a chance in Hell of getting in those sizes in MK1 or Miss Sixty (a real offender.) New Look, sometimes. But most of the time, I'll just take a 10, wear a belt if it needs it. But it's a pain in the arse, this vanity sizing, making us think we're smaller than we are. What kind of a f**k-up gimmick is that?! It just states what I've said all along - we're getting fatter as a nation, but the experts try to cover it up, make us feel better about ourselves. C'mon, give me a break - we're getting more sedentary and greedier. I know I'm as guilty as the next person.

Friday, January 04, 2008, 1:39 AM

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Completely agree. I am 27", and wear size 2-6, brand pending. It's a pain in the arse to try on 3 pairs of jeans just to find the right size when I go shopping. And, even though I'm no where near my high school wieght, I clearly remembere that I wore size 8 and 7/9 back in the days.

Friday, January 04, 2008, 2:22 AM

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Exactly! It's ridiculous. I went shopping yesterday, tried on several different pairs of jeans in the SAME SIZE, in the same store...all "hung" differently. All were hipsters, so that's one less variable. But it pisses me off so much - I know designers use different models, and have different cuts to their clothes, but I WISH TO GOD that someone would bloody standardize measurements on clothes!!! They do it for bras, why not for everything else?! It would make life so much easier, to KNOW we could go into a store, knowing our vital measurements, knowing nearly 100% that we could pick up SOMETHING straight off the hanger, try it on, and it would fit OK.

Wishful thinking :-(

Sunday, January 06, 2008, 2:07 AM

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Although they don't exactly have standard measuring for bras either.. I'm a 30DD, but that doesn't mean that the cups are the same size as a 36DD. Frustrating as all get out when you're not a standard size combination, cuz I can't just take in the band.
Maybe someday they'll make jeans for us random size combinations. I am a hereditary petite hourglass (23" waist combined with 36" hips, 5'0 tall, around 100 lbs when inactive... 125 when I pack on muscle). Everything I buy has to have two or more areas tailored. So annoying when clothes double in price just making them fit!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009, 10:31 PM

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Given the massive variation in body types and proportions, it's absurd to expect "standardized" fits to all clothes- a vast majority of women would be out of luck for not having "the right shape" (not that too many women already feel this way). A standard waist size would be appropriate, but from the waist down, everyone has different proportions.

And I'm the one who found a 27" waist to be a size 4 disgusting. A 27" waist, while small, should not be a size 4. My disgust lies with the manufacturers, not the owner of the 27" waist, (who I think understood).

And Bras aren't that universal at all. Anyone who fits a 36B in all bra brands doesn't know how a bra should fit.

Thursday, February 05, 2009, 11:18 AM

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I agree with the PP. There is NO way they could standardize sizes! Who cares anyway?
I wear size 2-4 in everything and I don't care what the size says. Nobody can see it but you. Does it really matter if sizes said something different in the 80s? Someone who wears a small size is probably a thin person regardless of what size they would have worn in the 80s right?

Thursday, February 05, 2009, 3:30 PM

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I must be the fattest pig on here. 10's are tight on me and 12's are loose. I don't think I have ever been a size 4.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009, 12:56 PM

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My size

Very good information being passed around here.

I am also confused about my size. I am almost 5'2", and can range from 114 to 120 lbs depending on how motivated I am. I'm small boned with a 26 waist, 34 hips and small bust (32 or 34 'almost' B). Even though my waist does not look small to me, it feels small (I guess my ribcage comes in pretty deeply).

I can wear a 00 Ann Taylor Petite (most of my slacks are in this size or a size 0). I have a couple size 2Ps, and mostly S and XS tops. My dresses are usually XS, S or size 2P at the most. I also hate tight fitting bottoms that result is any bulge (or 'muffin top').

It is such a vanity game in fashion today but yet I still get suckered in. Good luck to those of us still struggling to figure out sizes and congrats to the rest of you who find what fits and walk away happy.

Monday, April 27, 2009, 11:06 PM

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im a size 18 right now. about 60 pounds ago, i was about a size 12/14.

i hate you all. LOL

Saturday, May 02, 2009, 10:50 PM

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Okay, I have read nearly all the posts here and I think one thing is certain; it would be helpful if clothing manufacturers would standardize the women's sizing charts a bit better.

I have been at both ends of the spectrum; in high school (in the 1980's) I was a size 00 or 0 - 5'6" and barely 100 pounds.

Fast forward 20 years and I hit the opposite end of the spectrum, gaining well over 100 pounds to top out at busting out of a modern-day size 18 with a 34 1/2 inch waist. At my heaviest (right after bed rest and birth of my daughter), I was 226 pounds at 5'6".

I have lost 86 pounds. For the last 6 months, I have maintained 140 pounds, 5'6" and measurements are 34D-26-36, and wear a size 4 if it's with Land's End, Coldwater Creek or Ann Taylor. However, I can go up to a size 8 if it's with JCPenney or other places. Walmart stuff, I am in the smallest size there I can find...and sometimes I can't even find that.

Am I truly a size 4? I guess so, but I know I would have been more like a size 10 back in the 80's. YES we are heavier now...look at the 60 percent of overweight or obesity statistics we have to show for it.

However, the biggest thing that stands out to me is how we, as women, are so catty and nasty to one another it is not even funny. It's just awful to me that we can't support each other to not necessarily be skinny, but be HEALTHY whether you rest at a "size 18" or a "size 12" or a size "4".

How did I lose 86 pounds? I had a great motivator -- get fit or die. Seven blood clots due to a previously undiscovered blood clotting disorder, and then 7 months later my own sister died from the same thing. I got up off my butt and started walking...a LOT...and logging every piece of food that goes into my mouth. Crap in-Crap out...good in...good out. I did not have surgery or anything. It was all pure determination to make permanent and healthy changes in my diet and activity level. I don't starve to keep this size, either...I have more muscle now than I ever did. It CAN be done...and if you end up still at a size 12, who gives a poo...seriously? If YOU feel good that's all that should matter.

Just my 2 cents.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 2:23 PM

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...i'm also a 27" true waist and a size 4. i consider myself a true size 4 because at 99% of the shops i go to, a size 4 fits perfectly. random places that we only created for supermodel types (like bcbg) don't fit me because i have boobs (32DD) and a little bit of hips (36.5). All in all, (including the boobs) it ends up being a 35.5-27-36.5, and i'm 5'7" at 135lbs (130lbs if i'm trying and 138 if i'm not). a size 6 is almost always too big - even for tops. i think it ends up depending on your individual body shape, height, and how your body is proportioned. i have friends with my (almost) exact measurements who are 3 or 4 inches taller than me and they wear a 6. it all depends. but my clothes fit me very well at a 4 - no muffin tops, no tightness, just good fit.

Friday, July 24, 2009, 2:53 AM

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what i cant belive you have a 26 inch waist

I'm 52" and 140pounds and have a 25 waist. my bra size is 34C my hips are 36.5inches. I think i am fat at 140pounds, your measurement should be less at 120 pounds. don't you think?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 5:48 AM

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Hi there,
I couldn't help but notice you have a similar figure to mine. I am just wondering where you purchase you bra's (I live in Canada) I wear a 30-32 DD...and well it's near impossible to find them. Thanks!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010, 11:48 AM

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This thread is actually kind of funny because what was a 4 in 2006 is now a 6. Sizes have changed so much in 4 years it's not even funny.

Thursday, March 25, 2010, 1:46 PM

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Hey 11:48. I also live in Canada and have an unusual bra size (34F) and I have found that the only place I can ever find bras that fit is specialty stores, unfortunately. And they're really really expensive. Where in Canada do you live?

Friday, March 26, 2010, 6:37 PM

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Odd weight to size

I stumbled on this discussion and found it really interesting.
I am 5' 3" and weigh 138 lbs, yet, I am wearing a size six regular in Anne taylor, American Eagle... If i go petite I am still a size 8

My measurments are: 38, 30, 38.

I have never weighed this much and yet been in such a small size.
But, at the same time, I have been doing a lot of very intense weight training, I still have some chub on me but don't think I have hit that tipping point where my fat is rolling off me.

So, I don't look fat, I don't have tons of cellulite, i have a defined ab region...etc

I have been so obsessed with size and the weight on the scale that I had to throw my damn scale out. I am stronger and healthier than I was when I weighed 113 lbs in college and felt like crap. I have cardio endurance that allows me to run, bellydance, lift weights, do over a 100 pushups in 10 minutes and do pull ups (which I never thought I could do).

I so tired of obsessing about my size. I look healthy, I'm not super skinny, I feel strong. I got some meat on my bones, but my husband says it is much more attractive then when I was super skinny and I had no booty and no boobs.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 9:22 AM

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I'm sorry, but I find it hard to believe that you have a 26" waist and weigh 140 pounds. I have a 25" waist and only weigh 103 pounds, and I'm the same height as you?!

Monday, July 05, 2010, 8:54 AM

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Once upon a time, when I had a 28 inch waist the labels in my clothes said size 14. That would have put a 24 inch waist into a size 10. My DIL is currently wearing a size 12 and has a 33 inch waist. Funny how clothing manufacturers keep changing the numbers over the years.

Monday, July 05, 2010, 10:56 AM

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Friday, February 18, 2011, 5:51 PM

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Who cares?

@ 5 July 2010 8:54 am: It's nice that you feel great about weighing 100 pounds, but insulting other people to show off is pretty sad. Jeez.

Who cares how manufacturers decide to scale their sizes? In determining whether you're proportionate (or whether you think you're proportionate), your actual measurements are what matter, and based on the pissing contest I see going on here, everyone knows exactly what those are, haha. As everyone here has observed, it's entirely possible to wear a wide range of "sizes" depending on brand, store and time of month, so pegging your self-esteem to your pants size, or evaluating your weight loss/fitness based on it, clearly doesn't make much sense.

Monday, March 21, 2011, 2:05 AM

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waist to weight

Weight really doesnt have to do with size in every case, im a 5'2 34c 26 36 and weigh varying from 130 to 135, and have a very slim waist, I weigh that though because I was a runner as well as a volleyball player, building alot of muscle mass in my thighs and calfs, my hip to waist is a 0.72, its not always about weight, peole always assume i weigh no more the 120, but hey, those muscles killed that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 1:49 AM

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I think you might have it all wrong... A 32inch waist is a size 8, that is the size you belong to!
I have a 26 inch waist and wear a size 2 (I live in Ireland and European sizes are a bit different, like an american 2 is a european 4, an american 4 is a european 8, an americal 6 is a european 10 ( same sizes just numbered differently). So yes, the girl above is right in saying she has a 26inch waist and wears a size 2 !

P.S. saying "dont take this personally, that disgusts me.." is not gonna help someone take a comment like that less personally, especially regarding body image. Tact is virtue.

Sunday, February 19, 2012, 11:15 AM

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sorry to disappoint

....but I am about a size 6-8 and just bought a pair of jeans today which are a 25 inch waste and are very I think a size 4 might be about 22 to 23...also I used to be a 35inch waste and although I think I look a lot better now,.I was a lot happier something to think about girlies. Xx

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