Your pants are lying to you

Originally published at: Your pants are lying to you | Boing Boing


I’ve long suspected this to be the case.

My pants have had the same waistline measurement since I was in high school.

My waist has not.


That doesn’t sound so reasonable to me. Unless the factories are in a TARDIS.


This was originally published in 2010 so I’m sure everything is fixed by now.


After all those years of my hips not lying to them…


I think stretchy pants also throw the waist size way off.


They are not lying to you. If you have a 36" waist, and your pants are also exactly 36", congratulations: your pants are skin tight and probably uncomfortable. For most adult waists, you would expect 2-3" of variation, depending on the fit of the pants.


Some of these don’t sound dramatically off to me. A 34-inch waistline doesn’t mean that the pants have a waistband that is 34 inches around, it means that they’re meant to fit a person with a 34-inch waistline. It’ll always be a little bit bigger. Depending on how high they’re supposed to sit, the difference between hip-huggers and something that sits up on the natural waist will make a difference too.

Many of these do seem like vanity sizing though. And I’ll second @leidentech’s comment on the predominance of stretch material - I was surprised how hard it was to find non-stretch jeans last time I shopped.

eta: what @t3knomanser said


When this happens in women’s fashion, it is called vanity sizing.
When it happens in men’s fashion, it gets correlated with a health risk.

That’s a fun double standard.


If you really want to see chicanery when it comes to apparel, try being a woman sometime…


This is true, but there is also a massive discrepancy in sizing between different makers and now even within one brand. For instance, I found the Levi’s style that I liked best and could consistently get the same fit (531 or some such). Then, they stared offering that same numerical line in different styles like “slim cut” and “straight leg” and all of a sudden the variation is wild within that one line. I even found that different finishes and materials (like the stretch material mentioned above) would have variations beyond the cut style variations. It basically means that something once-reliable that I could order without thinking twice about, I now have to go in-person to the store and try every damn pair on. And then, if the cut I find comfortable isn’t in style that season, well tough luck.


Oh, I didn’t even want to get into Levi’s. Yeah, the last time I ordered my 505s, I tried to be super careful and still ended up with one pair that’s stretch and sized differently. :confused:


They’ve gone wrong?



I vaguely recollect a similar but broader study done with women’s clothing that seemed to find the opposite of this one (i.e. some clothing being smaller than listed sizes) but also absolutely incredible inconsistency - which was not at all shocking to anyone who has tried to fit into women’s clothing.

It’s never been clear to me how much of this was a side effect in women having more variable body shapes than men, how much was lack of common standards and how much was deliberate (i.e. part of some mysterious marketing strategy…).


Anyway, my pants are trousers, actually.
And metric.


Are they the wrong ones though?


Building on what t3knomanser noted: the relevant term is “ease” ( Ease (sewing) - Wikipedia ), and different clothing styles will have more or less of it. Some knits will even have negative ease, with the expectation that the garment will stretch around the actual human.

Even some woven articles will have surprising low ease–because now there are blends incorporating enough lycra and/or elastane to obviate trying on every brand in the store in pursuit of getting a painted-on fit. (One example at ZZ1084-S Fashion 4 Way Stretch Denim Fabric - SEAZON Textile is 83% cotton, 15% polyester, and 2% lycra.)

Since there are typically more women’s clothes designed to be tight–patriarchy, patriarchy, rah rah rah–this means comparing women’s–clothes-in-general to men’s-clothes-in-general will lead to the conclusion that women’s clothes as measured are closer to the nominal waist size.


I hesitate to complain given how it’s still so much clearer than women’s clothes sizing, but it is anoying how inconsistent between brands and styles it is.
I will say I’d really like it if shorts including length measurements, and ideally if shorts and pants included both inseam and outseam measurements. I personally don’t need hip measurements, but still, there are factors other than waist that determine how pants fit!


Yes, but are they on fire?


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