How to Measure Shoulder Width? (With Pictures)

Constantly struggling to find the right fit? The solution lies in a simple yet key measurement: your shoulder width. 


Last updated on March 6, 2023

Constantly struggling to find the right fit? The solution lies in a simple yet key measurement: your shoulder width. Whether you’re a fashion-forward female or a dapper gentleman, measuring your shoulders accurately is the first step toward a wardrobe that fits like a glove. So grab your measuring tape and get ready to measure your shoulders immediately.

Things You Need to Measure Shoulders

  • Measuring tape: You can purchase a standard flexible measuring tape from any craft or hardware store. 
  • Someone to help (optional): While it’s possible to measure your shoulders on your own, it can be challenging to get accurate measurements without someone to assist you. If possible, ask a friend or family member to help.
  • A well-fitting T-shirt: If you would rather measure shoulders by yourself, have a T-shirt that fits well handy. 

Measuring Shoulders with Someone’s Help

Step 1: Stand up straight

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Before you begin, stand up straight with your arms relaxed at your sides. Make sure you’re standing in a natural posture with your shoulders level.

Step 2: Locate the acromion bone

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Ask your helper to locate the acromion bone, which is the bony protrusion at the top of each shoulder. It’s easy to locate – simply have your helper run their finger along the top of your shoulder until they feel a small bump.

Step 3: Measure the distance between both the shoulders

Once your helper has located the acromion bones, they should stretch the measuring tape across your back, from one acromion bone to the other. Make sure the measuring tape is straight and level, and that it’s touching both acromion bones equally.

Step 4: Record the measurement in centimeters or inches

The final step is to record the measurement in either inches or centimeters, depending on your preference. Make sure to write it down accurately so you can use it later to find clothes that fit you perfectly.

Measuring your shoulders by yourself

If you don’t have someone to help, don’t worry – you can still measure your shoulders with just a t-shirt and a measuring tape. Here’s how:

Step 1: Grab a t-shirt that fits well

Start by finding a t-shirt that fits you well and that you feel comfortable in. This will be used as a guide for measuring your shoulders accurately.

Step 2: Lay the t-shirt flat on a table 

Now, lay the t-shirt flat on a table or on the floor. Spread it out evenly and ensure there are no wrinkles that could skew the measurements. You’re ready to take the shoulder measurement now.

Step 3: Measure between shoulder seams

Take your tape measure and measure from one shoulder seam to the other. Do so from across the back of the t-shirt so you get proper measurements. 

Step 4: Record the measurement

Note the measurement in centimeters or inches deepening on what size chart you’re comparing the measurements with. 

Tips for Accurate Shoulder Measurements

To ensure that you get the most accurate shoulder measurements possible, follow these tips:

  • Stand up straight: Make sure you’re standing up straight with good posture when taking your measurements. Slouching or hunching over can affect the accuracy of your measurements.
  • Wear fitted clothing: If you have someone to help with measuring your shoulders, ensure that you wear fitted clothing that will help them find the right points to start and end the measurement.
  • Consider your body shape: If you have a broader-than-average shoulder width, consider sizing up a little when purchasing clothes online. 
  • Take note of shoulder measurements for different types of clothing: Jackets and suits can have padded shoulders or thicker materials that may require you to size up when measuring shoulders. So consider the type of clothing you plan to purchase when recording the measurements. 

Why is Shoulder Measurement Important?

  • Sizing clothes, particularly for tailored items. Tailored garments require precise measurements to ensure a proper fit.
  • Select backpacks or other equipment that requires a proper fit. Proper fit is essential for comfort and proper weight distribution.
  • Monitoring changes in shoulder size for fitness or health purposes. Measuring your shoulders regularly can help you track changes in your body shape and size.

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FAQs about shoulder measurements

Why is it important to measure shoulders accurately?

Measuring your shoulders accurately is important when buying clothes, specially tailored or fitted garments. Knowing your shoulder measurements ensures that you purchase clothes that fit you properly, enhancing your overall appearance and comfort.

How do I measure my shoulder width?

You can measure your shoulder width by measuring the distance between the two acromion bones (the bony points at the top of each shoulder). You can use a tape measure to get an accurate measurement.

What is the ideal shoulder width for men and women?

Based on the statistical studies done in the past, in the United States, the average shoulder width is at least 16 inches (41 cm) for men and 14 inches (36 cm) for women

Should I measure my shoulders with or without clothes on?

It’s best to measure your shoulders without clothes. However, you can also opt for a body-fitting t-shirt that will give you accurate measurements.

What if my shoulder measurements fall between two sizes?

If your shoulder measurements fall between two sizes, it is recommended to choose the larger size for a more comfortable fit. You can always have the garment tailored later if needed.

Measure your shoulders the right way

Shoulder measurement is a critical piece of information that you need for the perfect fit. By following the simple steps above, you can measure your shoulders with or without anyone’s help. Along with shoulders, you also need to measure your torso length when you want to tops of the perfect length.


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