*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Buying clothes can take time and effort, whether for children or adults. There are so many sizes to consider that it can make your head spin.

Many people wonder about the differences between youth XL and adult small sizes. 

 If you consider youth XL and adult small, you may wonder if they can be swapped one for another.

In this article, we will break down the differences and similarities between these two sizes so you can choose accordingly. 

*This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link and purchase something, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. The affiliate money I earn helps pay the fees to keep this site up and running. Thank You!

What Are the Measurements of a Youth XL and Adult Small?

 Youth XL shirts have a chest measurement of 36 to 38 inches. An adult small shirt has a chest measurement of 34 to 36 inches.

As you can tell, these chest measurements are pretty similar, but they will change how these garments fit.

youth xl vs adult small size chart

Are Youth XL and Adult Small Sizes Different?

There are differences between these two sizes. Although there are no drastic distinctions, most Adult Small sizes are longer in the torso area than youth XL sizes. Some clothing brands also make the adult small size narrower. 

 Adult small sizes are designed for adults taller than teens, whereas youth XL shirts are for bigger teens and pre-teens. You will also discover youth XL shirts are boxier than adult small sizes. 

young woman wearing tshirt and shorts

Minute Differences Mean a Lot

Even the most minute of differences can change the way a garment fits. Therefore, please consider the distinctions below before shopping for clothing. 

  • Youth XL garments fit more snuggly than adult small sizes. Because youth are typically more active in recreation, youth XL sizes give a streamlined fit for safety. 
  • Teens are shorter in their torsos than adults. A teen’s torso will continue to grow until around the age of 20. Most adult small sizes would be too long for younger teens. 
  • Youth XL sizes typically have shorter sleeves than adult small garments. The inseams generally are shorter too. 
  • Youth XL sizes have narrower waists to accommodate smaller bodies, while adult small waist lengths are larger. 
See also  4T And 4 Clothing Sizes: What Is The Difference?

What Ages Wear Youth XL?

Youth XL shirts are intended for teens 13 to 16 years old. It is important to remember that teens, like adults, have different body measurements. Some teens can wear an adult small, while others may need a regular youth size.

happy youth teens

How to Measure Chest Size

When deciding between youth XL and adult small, chest size is the most important measurement because it will determine which size will fit most appropriately.

You will need to measure the fullest part of the chest, which is the part that aligns with the armpits. Follow these steps.

  • Have the person stand upright with their arms resting at their sides. 
  • Make sure the person does not hold their breath during measurements. 
  • Use a fabric measuring tape wrapped around the chest, and ensure it is level with the ground and meets appropriately in the middle. 
  • Record the chest measurement. 
  • When buying sweaters, hoodies, or jackets, you should add one to two inches to this measurement.

Can You Substitute One for the Other?

You can get away with substituting an adult small for a youth XL but not with every garment. Youth clothing is designed much differently than adults’ to accommodate different body shapes. 

Children’s torsos are much boxier than adults’. Their chests often reduce in circumference as children grow because their torsos become more elongated.

A teen who wears a youth XL will likely find an adult small fits, but it may be a little baggier in the stomach area and a little tighter in the chest. 

youth wearing bright clothing standing next to a tunnel

Clearing Up the Confusion

We hope this has clarified some confusion over the differences between youth XL and adult small sizes.

See also  Washing Clothes In Cold Water - What Are The Pros And Cons?

Unfortunately, because there are no universal sizing standards for clothing, you may need to try different brands for fit. 

 In a pinch, both sizes will work for most teens ages 13 to 16 and some smaller adults. Just remember that there will be slight differences in how the garments fit specific torso areas.

So when in doubt, always go with a slightly bigger size.

Sharing is caring!