It’s well known that retailers have been letting clothing sizes inch out in all directions. What was a size 12 dress in the 1950’s will probably carry a size eight label or even a size six label today. But there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly disingenuous about resizing garments to fit and ever-fatter population, although it is somewhat misleading.
But what about clothes that carry actual measurements? Esquire investigated seven brands of men’s pants that claim to have a 36-inch waist band. Their findings? Almost every clothing manufacturer is trying to flatter consumers by selling pants that have much more fabric than they clam.
They found that H&M’s “36 inch” men’s slacks were really 37 inches at the waist, but were the least of the offenders. Alfani pants also claiming “36 inches” have a waist of 38.5 inches, Gap’s pants have 39 inches and Dockers’ waistbands are 39 inches. The biggest discrepancy was found in Old Navy, where a “size 36” was really 41 inches.
Tactics like this may seem harmless, but really, they keep people ignorant to their real body size. Someone who can fit into an Old Navy size 36 may not love their shape, but probably will be less worried about the health consequences of a wider waist than if those pants carried the real size.