Rant: Who Sizes Men’s Clothes?

On this, the occasion of my final Rant of 2013—our offices are closed next week—it turns out my reserves of indignation have run dry.

I’m sure my self-righteousness will be renewed in time for 2014. Until then, in honor of gift-giving season, I’ll vent about the (d)evolution of the sizing of men’s clothes.

(As I understand it, the sizing of women’s clothes has been indecipherable for eons, so right about now, more than half our readership is probably urging me to cry them a freaking river. But hey, if I haven’t seen it, it’s new to me.)

I’m 6-0, 215 pounds. For the first 20 years of my adult life, I was a reliable XL. Every once in awhile, I’d end up with an XL sweater or concert t-shirt that was cut around mid-quad, but I generally knew to stay away from Ls.

Sometime in the past decade, all this changed. Depending on the store and the garment, I now might fit into anything from an L to an XXL. The problem is, this metamorphosis coincided with the advent of widespread online shopping, so when you buy something digitally, you have no idea whether it will fit until it lands on your doorstep.

The sites themselves are of little help, as every single model they use is miraculously identical: 6-1 and wearing a Medium. So you roll the dice, and if it comes up snake eyes you’re at the mercy of their return policy. (My younger brother, slightly smaller than I am, has no complaints, because I keep fortifying his wardrobe with items I can’t send back.)

I can only blame the metrosexuals. Meaning, I can only blame myself. As we men became more attuned to our desire to look as good/professional/hip as possible—i.e., as we became more attuned to our own vanity—the sizing morphed. I guess it’s nice that a skinny little dude can feel a little manlier in his XL pullover, but wedging myself into an XXL isn’t doing much for my own self-image. And the occasional dip I take into the Ls is just confusing.

That’s about it. I’ll keep shopping online. (There’s a good chance I have an intervention-level problem with this, but that’s a topic for another time.) I’ll keep returning things and handing them off to my brother when I can’t. But whoever comes up with a reliable online sizing algorithm will own me and my fellow metros forever.

Rave: Be Thankful For What You’ve Got

To all our readers, have a safe and joyous holiday season. Let’s head into 2014 always trying to be better and ever mindful of ways we can keep making this remarkable community more vibrant than ever.

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock.