Note: This entire blog post refers to tallits worn traditional style, i.e. draping down the back, with two tzitzit hanging in front, and two in back. If you're looking for information on the narrow type, which rest on the neck, with all four corners hanging in front, please refer to our Tallit Size Wizard and this blog post.
The terms "length" and "width" are confusing, when talking tallit sizing, because some people will say the width is from left to right, while others will say that if so, the "width" would be greater than the "length," which doesn't make sense. This issue is discussed in halacha as well. Because of this potential for confusion, I usually speak in terms of "width" and "height," meaning the height from top to bottom when worn. A tallit is always rectangular, so the "height" will be a smaller number than the "width."
Does that make things easier -- or more confusing?
So whenever you look at tallit dimensions, the smaller of the two numbers will be the height, i.e. from the edge that rests on your neck, down to the opposite edge, parallel to the floor. When someone tries on a tallit, typically this is what he's looking at: how far down does it drape in back. The width (the larger number) is less significant, in most cases, because that gets bunched up on the shoulders in any case.
Okay, following that long-winded introduction, let's get down to numbers.
...Hold it, I actually have one more introductory remark to squeeze in: Tallit sizing is standardized. Almost every Mishkan Hatchelet size 60 or size 70 or size 80 tallit is going to have the same measurements (with a few exceptions) and almost every Talitania size 60 or size 70 or size 80 tallit is going to have almost the exact same measurements as Mishkan Hatchelet (with a few exceptions).
So without further ado...
|Size 45||110 x 160||43 x 63||110 x 160||43 x 63|
|Size 50||120 x 170||47 x 67||120 x 170||47 x 67|
|Size 55||130 x 185||51 x 72.8||130 x 180||51 x 70.8|
|Size 60||140 x 185||55 x 72.8||140 x 190||55 x 74.8|
|Size 70||150 x 185||59 x 72.8||150 x 200||59 x 78.7|
|Size 80||170 x 190||67 x 74.8||160 x 200||63 x 78.7|
|Size 90||180 x 200||70.8 x 78.7||170 x 205||67 x 80.7|
When I look at the above numbers, I have two main observations:
1) Talitania tends to make their tallits a bit wider. Again, for most people this is not so noticeable
2) Although usually when you go up from one size to the next, the tallit drapes down 10 cm (four inches) closer to the floor, with Mishkan Hatchelet tallits there's a bigger jump from size 70 to size 80, which can definitely make a difference.