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Matt Crunk
08-22-2009, 06:54 PM
When I was a teenager, I weighed about 160 lbs and wore a size 32 waist pants and a size 42 jacket. In tee shirts and other shirts that are sized that way, I wore a size Large or sometimes an XL shirt.

Today, in my early 40's, I weigh about 230 lbs, wear a size 40 waist, and usually a size 48 jacket. But I still take a size Large or XL in tee shirts and other shirts. These fit me loose enough to be comfortable but over-sized. In some casual jackets I need Large or sometimes even a Medium in order for them not to hang off me like a tent.

So I'm guessing that a size Large today is actually made a lot larger than it was 30 years ago, correct? If so, do you think this is due to people nowadays not knowing how to choose clothes that fit them properly and who prefer walking around in clothing that looks like a hand-me-down from their much bigger brother?

John in Covina
08-22-2009, 07:03 PM
I'd say yes and no.

While US sizes have slid to bigger than previous, some of the imported stuff has either stayed the same or maybe smaller for the same L or XL.

I have some US XLT shirts that fit fine, some XXL that fit fine or big, but the Hawiian shirts I got that are from Asia at XXL are smaller than the XLT shirts.

davestlouis
08-22-2009, 07:06 PM
I dunno, it seems to me that a 40 inch waist from 40 years ago should be the same as one today, since it's quantifiable, but I have several sport shirts that are 2XL, all are Polo-branded, all are recent production, and the sizing varies tremendously.

I am 6 ft tall, 235ish, wear dress shirts in 18 inch neck and 35 inch sleeve, 40 inch waist pants, 48R suit coats, occasionally a 50R, just as a point of reference. My undershirts are 2XL tall ( so I have enough tail to keep them tucked in), and other t-shirts are 2XL as a rule for me.

I do have one sweatshirt that is a L..and it's huge, so there's no rhyme or reason to some sizing.

Guttersnipe
08-22-2009, 07:49 PM
I'm in the garment industry. I own a custom screen printing company. I can tell you for a fact that "lettered" sizes are increasing in dimensions.

How can I tell you ask? Well, the printing surface on my standard size t-shirt palettes is 15" so I am able to gauge that consistent variable against the armpit to armpit measurements of garments, which I have noticed are getting bigger. Size men's "large," on basically all American garments, was aprox. 22-22.5" when I started, whereas now it's more like 23-23.5"

Vanity sizing occurs in men's measured sizes as well. Frequently ''40 inch'' waist pants measure bigger than 40". Not that long ago I was shocked to try on a size 39 blazer and find that it fit me perfectly (my chest measure 42" by the way).

I think a lot of this can be attributed to a -shall we says - growing population. But, the trend towards baggier styling is also a factor. And another thing to consider is that a lot of the weird disparity of sizing between brands is purposeful. It is done to instill a sense of brand loyalty in the consumer who will, theoretically, not be able to figure out what size they wear in the competition's line and, therefore, stick to the familiar brand.

SayCici
08-22-2009, 08:00 PM
The gentlemen before me beat me to it - vanity sizing! That change probably happened in women's clothing before it ever happened to the men's side of the department store.

The idea is, you walk into a Gap, and GASP! Instead of the 6 or 8 you wear at the store down the street, you're only a 2! So they suppose you are more likely to go back there, instead of the store that makes you feel like Humpty Dumpty.

Like Guttersnipe says, it also has something to do with the average height/weight of Americans. In women, it's now around a size 14 - if women this size make up the largest chunk of your customer base, you might consider flattery the best way to keep them coming back to your store.

Lone_Ranger
08-23-2009, 09:55 AM
I'm in the garment industry. I own a custom screen printing company. I can tell you for a fact that "lettered" sizes are increasing in dimensions.

How can I tell you ask? Well, the printing surface on my standard size t-shirt palettes is 15" so I am able to gauge that consistent variable against the armpit to armpit measurements of garments, which I have noticed are getting bigger. Size men's "large," on basically all American garments, was aprox. 22-22.5" when I started, whereas now it's more like 23-23.5"

Vanity sizing occurs in men's measured sizes as well. Frequently ''40 inch'' waist pants measure bigger than 40". Not that long ago I was shocked to try on a size 39 blazer and find that it fit me perfectly (my chest measure 42" by the way).

I think a lot of this can be attributed to a -shall we says - growing population. But, the trend towards baggier styling is also a factor. And another thing to consider is that a lot of the weird disparity of sizing between brands is purposeful. It is done to instill a sense of brand loyalty in the consumer who will, theoretically, not be able to figure out what size they wear in the competition's line and, therefore, stick to the familiar brand.


Yet when you look at some of the high end catalogs, like RL, and A&F, the "models" all look like they are wearing clothes two sizes too small.

Torpedo
08-23-2009, 12:19 PM
Yet when you look at some of the high end catalogs, like RL, and A&F, the "models" all look like they are wearing clothes two sizes too small.

This could well be because this looks better for the pics - but would not really work for real use, with normal movement and the like.

Regarding the main subject... sometimes I buy US made clothing, and it runs generally larger than its European equivalent, both the numbered (36, 42, etc) and lettered (M, XL, etc) sizes. Also, patterning is different. I wear a size 32 for trousers - if I buy US 32, it usually fits my waist, but is too large at the rearside, which I have to have adjusted.

This said, sizing has also changed in Europe. I wear a 38 (48 Euro), but lately this happens to be larger, and I have often to go 36 (46 Euro).

Lettered sizing is crazy, very, very inconsistent.

Curiously, vintage sizes are more consistent, at least as per my experience.

John in Covina
08-23-2009, 12:25 PM
As it is also with shoes, go to a large shoe store or outlet and try on a series of shoes in "your size" and the variance is pretty big too.

In shoes widths have been dropped, a D width is considered medium and a EEE (triple E) is the Wide shoe but gone is an E or EE. If you are an E or EE you must use a caverous 'WIDE" at EEE in all but the most expensive shoes.

IndigoFanatic
08-24-2009, 03:42 PM
I haven't noticed any changes at all in widths, and believe me when I say that I've looked. Buying new shoes tends to be at minimum a month-long expedition for me, sometimes as much as three months of going to try on shoes every weekend. The only change that I've seen is that more companies are finally making wide shoes.

As for other clothing, I've generally always been an L. Virtually every brand that I try on (that has such labels) considers a Large to be 42-44 chest. On rare occasion there is a "designer" label which makes that an XL. The change that I have noticed is that while the shoulder measurements have remained largely constant, there has been an increasing amount of fabric billowing around my midsection/waist... I think they are just making things for heavier and heavier people.

reetpleat
08-24-2009, 05:03 PM
I dunno, it seems to me that a 40 inch waist from 40 years ago should be the same as one today, since it's quantifiable, but I have several sport shirts that are 2XL, all are Polo-branded, all are recent production, and the sizing varies tremendously.

I am 6 ft tall, 235ish, wear dress shirts in 18 inch neck and 35 inch sleeve, 40 inch waist pants, 48R suit coats, occasionally a 50R, just as a point of reference. My undershirts are 2XL tall ( so I have enough tail to keep them tucked in), and other t-shirts are 2XL as a rule for me.

I do have one sweatshirt that is a L..and it's huge, so there's no rhyme or reason to some sizing.

Not so. Actually even inches have succumbed to the vanity of American consumers. Somewhere along the line, jeans, khakies and such, I don't know about nicer slacks, have stopped reflecting actual inches. I wear a 34 waist right now and fit into size 32 jeans and khakis. they can vary a little, and i think traditional levis that still have the size on the back patch are accurate.

As for shirts and such, the sizing has definitely changed. I am a vintage medium, and a modern small.

it could be attributed to just a large populace, but I think it may also have a certain relation to vanity, as women's dress sizes were changed in the sixties or whenever. I guess with small large etc it makes sense, but why would waist size in inches change except for vanity.

Highlander
08-25-2009, 05:42 AM
I ordered some Cannondale Bike Shirts in XXL, supposed to fit a 46 chest. Well, they wouldn't have fit my Granddaughters (7 and 6). So, they were European, and I don't think there's anyone over there that is a 46 chest :) Interestingly enough, the Biking pants fit fine, and they are supposed to fit a 38 waist. I don't know the reasons.

Matt Crunk
08-25-2009, 12:35 PM
I have also noticed that in jeans - 20 years ago when I wore a 32" waist, I also wore a 32" inseam. Now that I wear a 40" waist, I now have to get a 30" inseam or they are too long. Why is this? My height has not changed, nor do I suspect has my actual inseam measurement.

IndigoFanatic
08-25-2009, 12:41 PM
The inseam you need can be greatly affected by the rise of the pants. It's possible that the pants you have now have a much longer rise, causing the crotch to hang a bit lower, making the inseam seem longer.