Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Supersize Me

In an era of incredibly shrinking cereal boxes, one thing is getting bigger and bigger: clothes.  This nifty graphic from The Economist shows the trend in Britain:

A few things strike me about this:

One, why is it that women's clothes sizes are disconnected from actual metrics?  We poor men have to buy pants that have 31 32 33 inch waists and 32 inch inseams while women just get to buy a "size 6" or whatever.  Why is this so?

Two, the fact that sizes are increasing in, well, size seems completely reasonable if the goal of the women's sizing system is to be relative to an 'average' woman - who has grown in the last few decades.

Finally, having clothes sized in an objective and not relative metric provides me an incentive to try and keep fit and trim.  I absolutely hate having to buy pants in a bigger size than the ones they replace.  So in this sense it is good for me as a consumer.  But clothes manufacturers are in the business of trying to make consumers happy, so fudging on sizes seems a natural consequence.  And thus I am led to wonder, are my size 32 pants, really 32??  Oh god, I hope so!


jessibeaucoup said...

This makes me insane. Most of my life, I've been a size 6 or 8. These days, I'm having to buy 0 or 2 to get stuff that's not too big. It is ridiculous because I know for a fact that I weigh more now, in my 30's, than I did as a teenager. Yet my size has gone down?? And, can someone please tell me what size I'll wear as this trend continues?? Are they going to start having negative sizes????

GeoGeek said...

I've noticed a lot of variation in men's clothing (well, pants at least) in the last few years. My normal 31 has drifted as low as a 28. It's very irritating.

Mary Sue said...

That doesn't account for vanity sizing and even sizing differences between clothing lines.

Patrick Emerson said...

GeoGeek: Ack! Don't say that. I know my continued 32 is a result of good diet and exercise!