Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Vanity sizing — culminating in the much-maligned “size zero” — has long been a body-image minefield in women’s clothing. But now, men are also in on this sartorial numbers game:

The pants manufacturers are trying to flatter us. And this flattery works: Alfani’s 36-inch “Garrett” pant was 38.5 inches, just like the Calvin Klein “Dylan” pants — which I loved and purchased. A 39-inch pair from Haggar (a brand name that out-testosterones even “Garrett”) was incredibly comfortable. Dockers, meanwhile, teased “Leave yourself some wiggle room” with its “Individual Fit Waistline,” and they weren’t kidding: despite having a clear size listed, the 36-inchers were 39.5 inches. And part of the reason they were so comfy is that I felt good about myself, no matter whether I deserved it.

However, the temple for waisted male self-esteem is Old Navy, where I easily slid into a size 34 pair of the brand’s Dress Pant. Where no other 34s had been hospitable, Old Navy’s fit snugly. The final measurement? Five inches larger than the label. You can eat all the slow-churn ice cream and brats you want, and still consider yourself slender in these.

Psychological salves, pure and simple. Despite the ill fit, it seems we won’t break down and even consider a too-big waistline, let alone actually buy it. So the clothesmakers sneak it onto us by fooling us into thinking that the rack size have expanded along with our middle-aged spread.

And yet, this is treacherous territory:

This isn’t the subjective business of mediums, larges and extra-larges — nor is it the murky business of women’s sizes, what with its black-hole size zero. This is science, damnit. Numbers! Should inches be different than miles per hour? Do highway signs make us feel better by informing us that Chicago is but 45 miles away when it’s really 72? Multiplication tables don’t yield to make us feel better about badness at math; why should pants make us feel better about badness at health? Are we all so many emperors with no clothes?

Personally, I consider this to be a lingering effect of metrosexuality. Furthermore, it’ll make my own skinny-assed hassles in buying proper-fitting clothes that much more challenging; children’s section, here I come??

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/08/2021 08:54pm
Category: Fashion, Society
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