Jonathan ordered some new clothes from an outfit called Back Country. Nothing elaborate: a couple of tee shirts, some corduroy trousers and a fleece top. He ordered everything in size Small.
Now, while this isn’t Holland, where the people are large (and I don’t mean fat — just large), this is still America, where our milk fed population tends to run pretty big. On the male end, I think the average height is around 5’10” (although I’m too lazy to look it up; besides, I’m a blogger, so this doesn’t have to be accurate). Jonathan is 5’6″ and around 120 lbs. So when clothes are labelled Small, he expects (and hopes) that they really are.
But let’s set aside fuzzier terms like “small” for a moment and discuss hard numbers. What’s always driven me crazy about women’s clothes (aside from the fact that they are poorly made and rarely have enough pockets) is that sizes have never meant anything. One brand’s 12 is another brand’s 10. I’ve envied men because they can buy a 30 x 30 pair of pants, and they know they will get pants with a 30 inch waist and 30 inch inseam. As we’ll see, even that only goes so far these days.
His clothes arrived yesterday and we eagerly unpacked the box. The tee shirts were a little big, but basically fit okay. The shoulders were in the right place and they fit close enough to his chest and midsection that they looked normal. The fleece, however, was another story. I can only imagine that this this thing was designed for Burt Young. The sleeves were the right length, but everything else was blown out to size Fat. He had enough room in there for triplets and the sleeves were diaphanous enough for shoplifting canned goods.
But the best part were the pants. Who were these pants made for? Yes, the waist and legs were indeed 30 inches, but the rest of the proportions were Incredible Bulk. The crotch and ass area bulged outward, perhaps meant for a particularly well-endowed customer (or one with a glandular disorder) with a huge ass. The legs had enough material for a family-sized tent.
For the past 10 or so years, I’ve noted the artificial inflation of women’s clothes. When I was at my pre-running trimmest at age 22, I wore a 10. Now, at roughly the same dimensions over 20 years on, I wear a 6 and I’m verging on a 4. This is just wrong, but it’s taken hold everywhere, so now an overweight woman can go shopping, happily deluded into thinking she hasn’t actually gained 40 pounds in the last 10-15 years after all. Because, lookie right here at the tag, she’s still a size 10!
I guess makers of clothing for men have it tougher. You can’t sell pants with a 36 waist as size 30 (although I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before they start trying). So maybe fat men buy these pants and just lift their stomachs over the waistband (driving the crotch even further down toward their knees). Either that, or they have them “taken out” at the tailor, or get an elastic waistband inserted.
Either way, Jonathan still needs trousers for his lithe runner’s frame, and we’re stumped as to where to find any.