Why You Shouldn’t Rely On Clothing For Actual Waist Measurements

Why You Shouldn’t Rely On Clothing For Actual Waist Measurements

Women know this better than men, but the tape measure knows all: clothing makers can be outright liars when it comes to sizing. Esquire magazine’s Style Blog took measurements of seven mainstream 36-inch pants and found discrepancies of up to five inches.

The king of loosey-goosey sizing was Old Navy, which was off by the full five inches on their “dress pants”. Other brands varied in their adherence to reality-based measurements, but the lesson is the same across all brands. Clothing manufacturers want you to feel good about your sizing, regardless of the reality of your waistline health or the other clothes you own that might now seem so weirdly incongruous in how they all fit.

I remember a tailor, one week prior to a wedding, explaining to me that my “jeans size was on a different planet than your dress size”, and that line makes a good bit more sense now. What’s the worst sizing you’ve seen in a store or with a particular brand?

Pants Size Chart – Waist Measurements for Men [Esquire via Put This On]


  • Worst for me was a t-shirt I bought from Jay Jays that was XL and ended up being smaller than a L from any other store (it still fit, but wasn’t as comfortable as I would have liked).

  • It’s shocking that that should happen to pants as I would expect a numeric size like 36″ to correspond to the dimensions. S,M,L on the other hand is all a matter of interpretation. A lot of the problem is how the designer expect the shirt to fit. If a shirt is supposed to be form fitting (a ‘european’ fit) then it’s meant to be close to the body whereas a traditional fit is much baggier. People will often try on a form fitting shirt, expecting a tradational fit and complain that it’s too small. Conversely, some people will expect a european fit but order a cheaper traditional fit tee and complain that it’s too large.
    As a B2B clothing supplier we try to keep in mind which styles are small or larger and advise clients to select sizes accordingly but nothing beats trying some on.
    tip: If you’re buying a cotton business shirt…always buy a size larger than you need to allow for shrinkage. Tees and polos tend not to shrink and if they do it’s not noticeable but business shirts always seem to and long sleeve make it so much more noticeable.

  • I’ve got a few pairs of jeans… all size 82…

    there is one that is soo tight, and small, i can’t get both my legs into it.
    another fits perfectly
    another is soo large, i need a belt otherwise it falls off…

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