Vanity sizing has been charted in women's stores for some time now--as the Times UK noted in April, at Gap, "in 2008 a size 14 garment would be 37in at the bust, 29in at the waist and 39in at the hip. Today the size has grown to 37.5-29.5-40."
But what about menswear? Esquire's Abram Sauer charted his actual waist size (36 inches) vs. his size in trousers by Gap, cK, Dockers and more. He found that "the temple for waisted male self-esteem is Old Navy."
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?
Here are Sauer's exact results:
For more, hit Esquire.