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Finding fitting clothing can be difficult, especially when many clothing companies use sizes that seem very similar. For example, many people think that a 3X and a 3XL are the same size, but they’re not.

In fact, a few key size differences can help you determine which size is best for you.

3x vs 3xl clothing size infographic

Length

The main difference between a 3X and a 3XL is the length of the piece of clothing. The L in 3XL stands for “long.” 3X and 3XL are mainly used for labeling shirts, so a sweater marked as a 3XL will be longer than a 3X.

How much longer the 3XL is will depend on the clothing brand and style. It’s always good to double-check, as a 3X shirt from one brand might be just as long as a 3XL from another brand.

short and tall basketball players

Sleeves

Shirts, dresses, sweaters, or jackets marked as 3XL usually have longer sleeves than clothing marked as 3X. This sleeve length is designed to accommodate the longer arms of people who are taller or have longer torsos.

Shoulders

Although it has nothing to do with length, some 3XL shirts have broader shoulders than 3X shirts. This is only sometimes the case, though.

Leg Length

The sizes 3X and 3XL are almost always used to describe shirts, but occasionally, you might find a dress, skirt, or pair of pants labeled with these sizes.

Dresses labeled as 3X or 3XL are the most common, after shirts. Like shirts, dresses, pants, and skirts that are labeled as 3XL will be slightly longer.

This means that a dress or skirt may hang lower, making it the correct size for a taller person, and pants in the size 3XL will generally have longer legs or inseam measurements.

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3X, 3XL, and 3XT

Most often, you’ll see 3X and 3XL used to label clothing, but once in a while, you may find a piece of clothing that has been labeled 3XLT or 3XT.

In this case, the T stands for “tall,” and it means the same thing as the L, or “long,” in 3XL. So a 3XLT piece of clothing is designed to be a bit longer and will fit a taller person or someone with a longer torso.

3X vs. XXXL

Occasionally, you might see clothing marked as XXXL instead of 3X. Although they seem like they should be the same size, 3X, and XXXL are actually distinct sizes. In most cases, a 3X is about half a size bigger than an XXXL.

It will be bigger in every way, not just in specific areas like the 3XL is. This means a 3X will have a wider waist, chest area, neck, sleeves, and shoulders.

It will also be longer than an XXXL and have sleeve lengths to match. However, because it doesn’t have an L at the end of its name, a 3X may be shorter than an XXXL or a 3XL.

In most cases, though, when only letters are used, the L in the label indicates “large,” not “long.” An XXXL will usually look a bit slimmer or more form-fitting than a 3X and will be a little shorter than a 3XL.

Clothing marked as 3X or 3XL is made to be roomy and comfortable instead of offering a more tailored look.

Whether the clothing item you’re looking at is labeled 3X, 3XL, 3XLT, or XXXL, it’s important to remember that clothing sizes are not standardized.

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Clothing sizes can vary from country to country but differ quite a bit from brand to brand.

It’s always best to try on clothing before buying it. This can help you get a better feel for the brand’s overall sizing. You can also look at a size chart to determine whether a particular size will fit you.

Because sizing varies from brand to brand, most clothing companies post a size chart online to help their customers shop.

This chart will often list the length of the item, plus the measurement across the chest, waist, and sometimes the neck.

Some clothing companies also provide sleeve or pants inseam measurements for the best, most accurate fit.

women trying on clothing

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