If the clothes fit…

Statistically speaking, my size does not exist. Not in pants, not in shirts. I can get away with it in casual clothing by always wearing very baggy shirts and jeans. My last five summer jobs (that is, all of the jobs I’ve ever had) allowed for shorts and t-shirts. BBN rather unsurprisingly has a bit of a dress code.

Anyway, this afternoon I got very frustrated. I think if I actually wants clothing to fit right, I’m going to have to go for tailored, but I don’t think I’ll be making enough money to justify that affectation.

The problem: I apparently have a tall pelvis. That is, I need more cloth along the distance from the top end of the inseam to the waistband. I wear a 32-32 low on my waist, but what I really need is a 32-30 with the two inches reallocated to the front of the pants. These hypothetical pants would still have their cuffs in the same position.

Did I mention that even this sub-optimal size is very difficult to find in a department store? I couldn’t find any navy slacks in that size. There were plenty in, say, 38-30. America is FAT.

Also, there are no ectomorphic shirts. I wear a 15.5/34-35, which if you’re unfamiliar with men’s sizes means a fifteen and a half inch circumference in the collar and a 34-35 inch length in the sleeve from the shoulder to the cuff. This size is also hard to find. On top of that, there are at least 8 inches of extra fabric around the torso, which causes lots of bunching when I tuck the shirt in. This is why I never tuck in even my nicer polo shirts.

So yeah. Grrr.

13 comments on “If the clothes fit…
  1. jere7my says:

    I think Egon might have had an ectomorphic shirt in Ghostbusters. You should ask.

  2. stormwynd says:

    I feel your pain re: finding clothes that fit, especially when it comes to dress shirts. I’m also a 15.5/34-35, but I’ve given up finding those and usually go with a 36/34-35. What drives me crazy is that fitted or “athletic cut” shirts fit my torso much better than the standard cut, and these are just about impossible to find.

    As for pants, I’m a bit luckier than you. I prefer pants that are a little baggy anyway, so I wear 35-30’s and deal with the 2.5 extra inches around my waist.

  3. giantlaser says:

    What you want to do is shop in Europe. American clothing is in fact disgustingly fat and missized for healthy people. You’ll have no problem in the Netherlands, for instance.

    To resolve the pelvis issue, try finding size 32-34 and hemming the legs. Hemming is relatively cheap, and you’ll get some extra length in the pelvis/torso region.

  4. wayman says:

    What giantlaser said. Some brands have a “European cut” line of shirts, which is tailored to be tighter around the sides (less blousing), and some brands use European fit by default. My recollection is that most Brooks Brothers shirts are European cut, and that Arrow has European cut shirts labelled as such but it’s not their default. I agree, they’re much nicer.

    Most of my trousers are several inches too large in the waist, and I have leather-punched new holes in my (smallest size I can find) belts several inches tighter than the smallest pre-punched hole. That causes a lot of bunching in the waist which I don’t like, though it seems unavoidable. But I like the looser access to the pockets afforded by the looser trousers, though, since I tend to carry lots of things.

  5. Nicolas Ward says:

    I tried on some 34-32 pants to see if I could do the belt thing, but I end up with 1-inch wide zig-zag under the belt in the back that bunched up all of the fabric in the backside and looked terrible. I don’t wear a belt with jeans, cargo pants, or shorts, so I just let them hang down on my hips, with about 2 inches of boxers above the waistband under my baggy shirt.

  6. Nicolas Ward says:

    Europe! Of course! Go to the source of the genes that make me gangly for the jeans that fit!

    I haven’t seen pants with an inseam greater than the waist in a long while. After my first growth spurt into men’s sizes, I wore a 28-30, which was even more impossible to find. I would imagine that hemming is cheaper than full tailoring, and might even be something I could learn to do myself.

  7. Nicolas Ward says:

    What I want to know is why they don’t use raw measurements for everything, instead of this fit/cut nonsense. As someone who shops as irregularly as possible, I have no idea what relaxed fit, loose fit, athletic fit, etc. actually mean.

    I found that the flat-front (as opposed to pleated) pants look a lot better because they don’t bunch in the crotch of the pants.

  8. Nicolas Ward says:

    I think those come with an attached particle accelerator, which I don’t really need.

  9. giantlaser says:

    It’s really easy. My grandmother hemmed my pants for most of my childhood. I recall standing on the dining room table many times while she pinned up the legs before doing the sewing. It takes 10-20 minutes per leg with a sewing machine.

  10. giantlaser says:

    My recommendation for those kind of pants is a black canvas belt, BDU issue, like you can get for $3 at the military surplus store. They’re matte black, even the buckle, and fasten by friction, not holes. Oddly, they aren’t considered unfashionable for situations up to and including dress casual. So you can add a little tension to your waist without much bunching, and provide a handy place to attach geeky implements.

    In Iraq, before I got a gunbelt, my BDU belt held my hip holster. It served in that role for months.

  11. stormwynd says:

    Yeah, I also prefer non-pleated pants for that reason.

    And as for all the different fits — this reminds me of the last time I went shopping for jeans. I wound up asking a sales clerk what all the different cuts were, and he wound up showing me a copy of the store’s in-house guide to jeans styles, which was four pages long!

  12. sonatanator says:

    I actually like shopping for clothes because nothing fits. I wear a 30-32, and there’s guaranteed to be exactly one pair of pants in the section with those measurements. No more messy trying things on or deciding which kind to get.

  13. wayman says:

    … and if you don’t have a sewing machine, you can use a stapler.

Nurd Up!