Your Pants Are Lying to You



Abram Sauer of Esquire uncovered a disturbing truth: you haven't actually maintained a 36" inch waist all these years. Men's fashions, like women's, reflect vanity sizing:

I enjoyed many of these pants, as I mentioned, but I'm still perturbed. 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?


Link via Ace of Spades HQ | Image: Esquire

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If you're like me where you simply want to know how a pair of pants will fit, there's an easy trick that works for most people. Simply take a buttoned pair of pants and wrap the waistline around your neck. If the ends come together just right... the pants should fit around your waist perfectly.

You can of course have your own gauge such as "an inch short fits me perfectly" or "I like an inch of overlap for a comfy fit". You'd also be surprised by the variation in different pants of the same size and this quick check will save you several trips to the dressing room.
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About 8 years ago when my wife and I were dating, I claimed that men's sizes made much more sense, because you just measured your waist & inseam, or your chest, or your neck and arms, and you always know your size. Women's sizes, on the other hand, had no relationship to any measurement, varied from label to label, and were creeping smaller to make more sales with flattery. She -- a fashion designer -- bet me I was wrong, and that men's pants do the same thing. Fool that I was, I took the bet. Tape measure came out, and my faith and trust in the menswear department was crushed forever.
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Well maybe this is just a stateside thing. I just measured a few pairs of my trousers. All came in within 1/2" of the stated 32" waist.

But then anybody who's waist measures 41" shouldn't be wearing trousers. A muumuu would be more suitable.
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can it possibly because the waistband of pants nowadays don't always end up at the waist?

some pants appear to be intended to be worn at the hip level and on women, this would be significantly wider.

then there are the pants intended to be worn at the knees so that young men can show off their boxers...
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