Women’s Underwear or Lingerie – Size Charts, How to & More

Women’s underwear such as panties or bras should fit well and accentuate the shape of the female body. With the following measuring instructions and size tables in this article,  you can easily find the right lingerie size for you. Our size conversion chart will also help you find out your suitable British, European, Italian, French, and German sizes with great ease.

At a Glance

  • Different countries tend to observe different sizing systems. No strict international sizing standards are currently implemented in underwear manufacturing.
  • In order to find the right underwear, your hip and waist circumference should first be determined using a measuring tape.
  • Types of underwear worn by women include panties, strings, thongs, hipster briefs, and boxers.
  • Women’s underwear are typically made of materials such as cotton, elastane, viscose, polyamide, and more.

Women’s Underwear Size Chart

Waist Circumference Hip Size International (US Size)EuropeanSize
InchesCentimetersInchesCentimeters
24 - 2561 - 6333 - 3484 - 87XXS32
25 - 2664 - 6634.5 - 3688 - 91XS34
26.5 - 27.567 - 7036 - 37.592 - 95S36
28 - 2971 - 7438 - 38.596 - 98S38
29.5 - 30.575 - 7839 - 4099 - 101M40
31 - 3279 - 8240 - 41102 - 104M42
32.5 - 3483 - 8741.5 - 42.5105 - 108L44
34.5 - 36.588 - 9343 - 44109 - 112L46
37 - 3994 - 9944.5 - 45.5113 - 116XL48
39.5 - 42100 - 10646 - 47.5117 - 121XL50
42 - 44107 - 11248 - 49.5122 - 126XXL52
44.5 - 47113 - 11950 - 52127 - 132XXL54
47 - 49.5120 - 12652 - 54.5133 - 1383XL56
50 - 52127 - 13355 - 56.5139 - 1443XL58
53 - 54.5134 - 13857 - 59145 - 1504XL60
55 - 56139 - 14259.5 - 61.5151 - 1564XL62

Women’s International Lingerie and Underwear Sizes

US lingerie sizes can be converted with the following size table.

International (US Size)UKDE size / EU sizeFRIT
3XS2303236
XXS4323438
XS6343640
S8363842
M10384044
L12404246
XL14424448
XXL16444650
3XL18464852
4XL20485054
5XL22505256
6XL24525458
7XL26545660
8XL28565862

Panty Girdle Sizes

The size of spandex underwear, belly pants, shape pants, shapewear, and shape briefs is not determined by the hip circumference but by the waist size.

SIZEBUST (IN)WAIST (IN)HIPS (IN)
XS31 - 3324.5 - 26.532 - 34.5
S33.5 - 35.527 - 30.535 - 37.5
M36 - 3831 - 3338 - 40.5
L38.5 - 40.533.5 - 35.541 - 43
XL41 - 43.536 - 3943.5 - 45.5
1X44 - 47.539.5 - 4246 - 49.5
2X48 - 51.542.5 - 4550 - 53.5
3X52 - 5445.5 - 4854 - 56

Underwear: Confusing sizes

Different countries tend to observe different sizing systems. And because no strict international sizing standards are currently implemented in underwear manufacturing, the search for the perfect-fitting underwear can sometimes be a real challenge. To give you an idea of these variations, here is an overview on how commercial clothing and underwear sizes are labeled in some countries:

  • US-American sizes range from XS to 4XL
  • European standard sizes range from 32 to 62
  • British sizes (UK) range from 8-28
  • In Italy, sizes are labeled from 38 to 58
  • In France, sizes are labeled from 36 to 56

If you plan on buying underwear from foreign brands, be prepared to deal with size labels which could be different from what you are used to since their sizing system are usually dependent on their country of origin. However, nowadays, several sizing systems are indicated on the same size label. Moreover, finding the right size is made even more difficult because manufacturers’ sizes are different. Sometimes, one brand may make garments and underwear models which are narrower, wider, shorter or longer than the ones manufactured by another company even if they are labeled as the same size.

What do you have to measure? And how?

In order to find the right underwear, your hip and waist circumference should first be determined. This is particularly easy to do with a measuring tape. If no tape measure is available, a long cord or thread can also be used, which can then be measured with a ruler after the circumferences have been determined.

The tape measure should always be pulled tight around the body, but not too tight that it might constrict movement. An upright and relaxed standing posture with arms dangling at the sides is a basic requirement when taking measurements. To ensure that you record accurate values, make sure that the stomach is contracted during measurement. Also, you are more likely to get correct measurements with the help of another person.

Hip circumference measurement

The hip circumference is typically measured along the widest part of the torso, which is located in the pelvic area and the buttocks. The tape measure should run parallel to the waistline around the body. To obtain the correct size, the hip circumference should be measured without outerwear (i.e. without trousers or skirt).

Measure waist circumference

The natural waistline is measured along the narrowest part of the upper body, which in most people is a few centimeters above the navel. To do this, the tape measure is placed tightly around the body without pressing too much against the stomach.

Why is the right size important?

Fashion-conscious people pay great attention to the design, the fit and the material of their outerwear in order to feel attractive and completely comfortable while wearing their outfits. But for many women, owning and wearing matching underwear is just as important as buying trendy tops and well-fitting trousers or dresses that flatter the figure. Lingerie is much more than just a fashionable undergarment; it has a great influence on the wearer’s level of confidence about her body and her entire appearance.

Knowing your correct size saves you from hassle returns or exchanges

Many people today buy their clothes in the online shops of their favorite brands. However, more often than we’d like, online shopping often ends with buying underwear that does not really fit well and must ultimately be returned. To reduce the likelihood of such inconveniences, it is crucial that one should take the time to determine her exact individual size. Aside from sparing your from annoying returns or exchanges, it also significantly cuts down the time it takes for you to try out items in a store.

Panties

Panties are a staple undergarment for most women. They may not be as fashionable or alluring as other underwear style but their comfortable fit is what makes them the popular choice for daily wear.

Panties glide easily and quickly over the hip so that ladies get to wear them in no time at all. In the early 20th century, when the invention of elastic trousers revolutionized the production of underwear, panties were introduced and became well-known as tight-fitting underpants without leg extensions.

The development of elastane also offered countless new possibilities for producing tight-fitting and flexible underwear. In the course of the first half of the 20th century, the comfortable and uncomplicated panties, which are now available in various cuts, gradually replaced the more elaborate women’s underpants, which came with bows, buttons, and ribbons.

String

Exposed buttocks and a small triangular piece of fabric are the standout features of the string underwear. Strings are perfect for skirts and dresses because they are subtle, and it’s not so obvious that you’re wearing one underneath skin-tight clothing.

Thong

A thong consists of two triangle-shaped fabrics connected by a thin waistband or just a ribbon. While the front triangle completely covers the private area, the back portion of the thong exposes a large area of the buttocks. This cut is particularly popular as swimwear in countries where women wear sassy and tight bikinis at the beach like Brazil.

Hipster/Shorty

Short-cut briefs with stretchable bands on the hips are called hipsters or shorties. A distinctive feature of the hipster underwear is the straight-edged leg extensions. The waistband ends slightly above the base of the buttocks. Because of its cut and low waistband, the hipster is the ideal choice for women who like to wear tight and hip jeans. The hipster is sexy, comfortable to wear, and is available in comfortable cotton, robust synthetic fiber, and elaborate lace.

Boxers

With their loose fit and elasticated waistband, the boxer shorts are by far the most comfortable underwear style. It extends all the way to the middle of the thigh and often has a button closure. Wide and loose-fitting boxer shorts and tight-fitting variants are among the favorites of men’s underwear. However, many women like to wear boxer shorts at home or as sleepwear during summer months.

What material should underwear be made of?

Cotton

Cotton is a breathable, tear-proof, and skin-friendly. This natural, hypoallergenic fiber is ideal for the production of comfortable underwear. Unlike synthetic fabrics, absorbent cotton can absorb a considerable amount of moisture which is proportionate to its own weight in moisture. However, cotton garments and lingerie dry comparatively slowly and absorb dirt and grease quickly. It can also be colonized by bacteria and other germs. Cotton, however, is one of the robust natural materials that rarely fall victim to moth-eating. For this reason, cotton is also used for heavily-worn garments such as jeans, trousers, or skirts.

Elastane/Spandex (EL)

Form-fitting underwear, which adapts optimally to the individual’s body shape, typically contains up to 20 percent elastane. This synthetic fiber, also known as spandex or lycra, makes these underwear particularly comfortable. Like rubber, elastane is very flexible and is characterized by high dimensional stability and durability. This synthetic fiber is also extremely easy to care for, takes on color well, and feels pleasantly smooth and soft on the skin. Due to their low linting tendency, mixed fabrics with elastane are mainly used in the manufacture of sportswear and underwear.

Viscose (CV)

Viscose, also known as artificial silk, is produced from regenerated cellulose. It is, therefore, not exactly a synthetic fiber but a synthetic fiber of natural origin (i.e., semi-synthetic). Like cotton, viscose fabrics are made of fine fibers and have a light, smooth texture. Compared to cotton, the production of viscose is significantly more environmentally friendly as it requires a lower consumption of water and raw materials.

Jersey

Jersey fabrics are known for their elastic, soft and skin-friendly rib structure. Jersey is knitted or woven from various materials such as cotton and, in the case of particularly high-quality fashion items, silk. Thanks to its elastic properties, the material adapts optimally to the contours of the body and impresses wearers with the comfort it provides. Hence, this fabric is largely used to make underwear, T-shirts, and comfortable leisure wear.

Microfiber

Microfiber is not a material of its own, but a collective term for particularly light, smooth, and breathable synthetic fibers or natural fabrics. Such materials are very easy to care for, and they retain their original structure for a long time despite frequent washing. This is why microfibers are often used for swimsuits or bikinis.

Polyamide (PA)

Polyamide, also known internationally as nylon, Perlon or Dederon, is a chemically produced fiber which occurs naturally and artificially. Polyamide dries much faster than all other fabrics, is extremely robust, tear-resistant, and hardly creases.

Polyester (PES)

Polyester is a synthetically-produced fabric that’s particularly resistant to UV light and various chemicals. Pure polyester fabrics are often processed into sports underwear and functional clothing. It is also ideally suited as a hard-wearing component in mixed fabrics. The material, however, is not breathable, so its main downside is that it promotes perspiration and odor formation. Therefore, high-quality lingerie made of polyester, are usually lined with silver ions, which reduce the colonization of bacteria.

Pongee

This coveted natural fiber is obtained from the cocoons of silkworm. It consists mainly of keratin, which gives the material its characteristic shine. As the only natural endless fiber, silk is particularly tear-resistant. It impresses with its antibacterial properties and its skin-friendly surface. Silk is breathable, extremely soft, very light, and feels pleasantly smooth on the skin. Thanks to its heat-insulating properties, it keeps the skin pleasantly warm in the winter and provides a cool, airy feeling in the summer. Silk is a sensitive material that is just as resistant to high temperatures and mechanical stress. Although it absorbs over thirty percent of its weight in moisture, water stains can quickly form in silk.

Blend of cotton, wool, and silk

Blending natural fabrics combines all the advantages of the individual materials and provides an ideal microclimate when the clothes are worn. Fabrics made of silk and wool can absorb high amounts of moisture and release it quickly into the environment. This is particularly important for the production of high-quality underwear. While wool stores body heat optimally through its crimped hair fibers and always insulates depending on the outside temperature, the soft and smooth silk can have both a pleasant warming and cooling effect. Both fabrics have a low allergy potential, which is why underwear and sweaters made from them are suitable for people whose skin is particularly sensitive or prone to allergic reactions such as redness or rashes. Lingerie made of natural silk and merino wool is particularly comfortable to wear. It is naturally antibacterial, light, and has a natural, noble shine.