The first thing that should be noted, in relation to this subject, is that the science of outfitting onself is not exact, and so it’s always best to try stuff on before you buy it.
That said, here are some pointers:
Clothing in South Africa – in Your Correspondent’s decade’s-worth of experience trying it on – is smaller than clothing elsewhere in the world, or at least those parts of it generally categorized as “western”. A westerner’s small is a medium here; a medium is a large; and if you need a large, hope the store stocks XL. This goes for both men and women, and may have something to do with the well-known phenomenon of “size inflation” currently sweeping the west, courtesy of one Ronald McDonald.
Apart from S, M and L, clothing here often carries UK and European measurements, which you can convert here:
Now that all the shoes in the world are made in China, it’s become quite easy to find one in your size, because at least three sizes are now listed – usually, for the US, UK and Europe – where, formerly, there would have been just one. When looking for a shoe in SA, then, the first thing to do is check under the shoe’s tongue, to see if you’re familiar with any of the sizes.
If only one size is listed, and it’s above the number 30, then it’s a European size; if it’s a number between 3 and 15, then it’s a UK size; you can convert both sizes here:
Buying a diamond or tanzanite ring in SA for someone back home? Convert his or her ring size here: