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The Difference Between Size 16 and 16W Pants

Discover the key distinctions between size 16 and 16W pants. Unravel the mystery of plus sizes and find the perfect fit for your body shape.

When shopping for pants, you may have noticed the size 16W on labels and wondered - what is the difference between size 16 and 16W pants? I used to get confused by this as well until I learned more about women's clothing sizes.

In this article, we'll break down what 16W means, how it compares to a regular size 16, and give tips for finding your best fit in pants. Let's tackle the confusing world of women's sizes!


Size 16 vs 16W: Key Differences

Detail Size 16 Size 16W
Meaning of W Juniors size Women's plus size
Waist 40-42 inches 42-45 inches
Hips 44-46 inches 48-52 inches
Seat 46-48 inches 50-54 inches
Thighs 24-26 inches 26-30 inches

What is the Difference Between Size 16 and Plus Size 16?

Let's start by clarifying that sizes 16 and 16W are indeed different. While both represent larger sizes, the key distinction lies in their fit and proportions. Size 16 pants are generally designed for regular or missy sizes, catering to women with a standard figure. On the other hand, 16W pants fall under the plus-size category, offering a fit that accommodates fuller figures.

Unraveling the Plus Size Code: Understanding 16W

So, what exactly does the "W" in 16W stand for? It stands for "Women's Plus." Plus-size clothing is specifically tailored to fit the proportions of curvier bodies, considering factors such as wider hips, fuller waists, and more generous thigh measurements. The 16W size offers these adjustments to ensure a comfortable and flattering fit for those who require a little extra room in their garments.

Digging Deeper: What Size Is a 16W?

Now that we know the meaning behind 16W, let's talk about the specific measurements. While sizing can vary between brands, a general guideline for 16W would be equivalent to approximately a 1X or 18/20 in plus-size clothing. However, it's essential to remember that each brand may have its own unique size chart, so it's always wise to consult their specific measurements for the most accurate fit.

Decoding the Number: What Size is a 16 in Women's Jeans?

Moving away from the "W" for a moment, let's explore the standard size 16 in women's jeans. Size 16 typically falls within the realm of regular or missy sizes, catering to women with a more average figure. It generally corresponds to a waist measurement of around 32-34 inches and a hip measurement of approximately 42-44 inches. However, keep in mind that these measurements can vary between brands, so it's crucial to check individual size charts for the best fit.

Size 16W in the UK: Crossing the Pond

If you find yourself shopping across the pond in the United Kingdom, you might be wondering how 16W translates in their sizing system. In the UK, the equivalent of a US size 16W is typically around a size 20. However, as with any international sizing conversion, it's wise to refer to specific brand measurements to ensure the best fit for your unique body shape.

Is Size 16 Extra Large? Is it Medium or Large?

Here's where things can get a bit perplexing. Size labels can be subjective, and what might be considered large or extra-large can vary between brands and even individual garments. In general, size 16 is considered a large, bordering on extra-large, in the regular or missy size range. However, it's important to remember that these terms can be subjective and that body shapes and proportions differ from person to person. The most important factor is finding clothing that fits you comfortably and makes you feel confident, regardless of the label inside.

What Does 16W Mean?

The "W" in size 16W stands for "women's" or "plus." So a size 16W is a women's size 16 plus or a size 16 in plus size clothing. The same goes for other sizes like 14W, 18W, etc.

The "Plus" Refers to Plus Sizes

Many retailers use the W to designate plus-size clothing. Plus sizes are cut larger than straight sizes to accommodate curvier figures. So a size 16W would be a size 16 in plus sizes, with more room through the hips and thighs.

The "Women's" Refers to Juniors vs. Women's Sizing

The other use of the W is to differentiate between junior's and women's sizes. Junior sizes run smaller than standard women's sizes. So a size 16W would fit a woman, while a size 16 would be for a junior.

Juniors Sizes Run Smaller

To give more context - juniors sizes are meant for teen girls and younger women. They have narrower hips and smaller busts. So a junior size 16 would best fit someone under 25 with an average bust and hips around 35-37 inches.

Women's standard sizes account for wider hips and larger busts on adult women's bodies. So a women's 16 is made for fuller curves around 40 inches.

How Does a Size 16W Compare to a Size 16?

While it depends a bit on the brand, typically a size 16W is cut larger than a straight size 16. Here's how the two usually compare:

Size 16

A standard women's size 16 is meant to fit a waist around 40-42 inches and hips around 44-46 inches. The proportions are suited for average to slightly curvy figures. This size is often labeled as a "misses" size.

Size 16W

A women's size 16W or plus size 16 is made for a more generous shape. It's designed for a waist of around 42-45 inches and hips of around 48-52 inches. So there is significantly more room through the hips and thigh area.

An Extra 2-4 Inches in the Hips and Thighs

On average, a size 16W will give you an extra 2-4 inches of hip and thigh room compared to a standard size 16. This accounts for larger curves in plus-size women. So if you carry your weight in your hips and thighs, a 16W will likely fit you better.

Fuller Bust in 16W

In addition to fuller hips and thighs, a size 16W is also made for a more generous bust - around 2 inches more bust room than a size 16. So if you need a bit more space up top, the 16W accommodates that.

How Sizing Varies by Brand

Keep in mind that sizes can vary across different clothing brands. Here are some sizing differences you may encounter:

Juniors Brands Run Smaller

At junior brands catering to teens and 20-somethings, a 16 will be cut slimmer through the hips and bust. The same goes for mixed juniors/women's brands.

Women's Brands Run Larger

At retailers focused on adult women's clothing, a regular size 16 will have more room than a junior 16. Their 16W will be even more generous.

Plus Size Brands Are the Most Roomy

If you shop brands that specialize in plus sizes, like Lane Bryant or Torrid, their size 16 and 16W will have the most hip/thigh room out of all the options.

Know Your Retailers

Figuring out if a retailer runs small, large, or true to size will help you decipher what their size 16 vs 16W means. Check reviews to see how the fit runs.

Tips for Finding Your Best Fit

Now that you understand the difference between size 16 and 16W pants, here are some tips for finding your ideal fit:

Know Your Exact Measurements

The best way to get the right size is to know your exact measurements. Measure your waist, hips, and inseam. Then you can compare those to size charts to see if you need a 16 or 16W. Measuring also helps if you're in between standard and plus sizes.

Reference Size Charts

Use retailers' size charts to see what dimensions match up with each size. Look for size 16 vs 16W measurements to guide your choice. If your measurements are toward the higher end of a 16, size up.

Pay Attention to Fit Guides

Look at any fit guides or size explanations from retailers. See if they have tips on which body types fit certain sizes best. Some brands also recommend sizing up if you're between straight and plus sizes.

Try Both Sizes to Compare

If you're torn between a 16 and 16W, order both sizes if you're shopping online. Try them on at home to see which pair complements your shape better through the hips and thighs. Return the pair that doesn't fit right.

Know Your Body Type

Consider your overall body shape. If you have an hourglass or pear shape with fuller hips and thighs, a 16W will likely suit you better. If you have more of a straight shape, you may do fine in a standard size 16.

Pay Attention to Different Fits

Keep an eye on trouser fit - relaxed, classic, slimming, etc. A 16W in a relaxed fit may be roomier overall than a size 16 slim-fit pant. Consider the extra room or shape of each style.

Read Reviews

Look for reviews of the specific pants you're considering. See what real customers say about the fit and sizing. Their feedback can reveal if something runs small or large.

Finding the Right Fit for Your Body

When it comes to size 16 vs 16W pants, it's all about finding the pair that fits your unique body type. 

Size labels are just a starting point - your actual measurements, shape, and fit of a particular style will determine whether a 16 or 16W flatters you best. 

Listen to your body, and don't be afraid to go up a size if needed for comfort and coverage.

With the tips above, you'll be able to shop sizes confidently and find jeans, trousers, and leggings that make you look and feel amazing.

Conclusion: Difference Between Size 16 and 16W Pants

In conclusion, understanding the difference between size 16 and 16W pants is crucial when it comes to finding the perfect fit for your body shape. 

Size 16 is typically designed for regular or missy sizes, while 16W falls under the plus-size category, accommodating fuller figures. 

Remember, size labels are not the be-all and end-all of fashion. Focus on finding garments that make you feel comfortable, and confident, and reflect your personal style.

So, the next time you're out shopping for pants, armed with this newfound knowledge, you can navigate the world of sizes like a true fashion legend. Celebrate your unique shape and rock those fabulous pants with pride!

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the 'W' stand for in size 16W?

The "W" stands for "women's" or "plus size." It indicates a size 16 in plus size clothing, with more room than a standard size 16.

What is the difference between junior's and women's sizes?

Juniors sizes run smaller to fit teens and young women. Women's sizes have more room in the hips and bust to accommodate adult women's curves.

If I typically wear size 16, should I size up to a 16W?

If you carry more weight in your hips, thighs, and backside, sizing up to a 16W will likely give you a better fit. Try both to determine which flatters you more.

What if I'm between a 16 and 16W?

If your measurements are on the cusp between a 16 and 16W, consider sizing up to the 16W for a bit more comfort and coverage through the hips and seat.

How can I determine if I need a 16 or 16W?

Know your measurements and reference size charts for the clothing brand. Trying on both sizes can help you find the best match for your shape.

Is 1X Equal to 16W?

Yes, generally speaking, a 1X size is equivalent to a 16W. However, it's vital to consider that individual brand measurements may slightly vary. When shopping for plus-size clothing, always consult the specific brand's size chart to ensure the best fit.

What About Size 14W and 16?

The difference between sizes 14W and 16 lies in their measurements. Size 14W is typically smaller than size 16 and caters to a slightly different range of body proportions. Size 14W is designed for curvier figures, while size 16 falls within the regular or missy size range. As always, it's advisable to consult the brand's size chart for precise measurements.

Exploring Other Size Comparisons

Size 16W pants are not the only size variant that can cause confusion. When comparing 16W with other sizes, such as 16, XL, or 2X, it's essential to remember that sizing can vary between brands. It's best to rely on specific brand measurements rather than assuming universal equivalencies.

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