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What is up with sizes the last five years?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have noticed this phenomenon during the last five years, where the size of items no longer really matches their indicated label size. I can recall when a size "˜S' RL (or BB, or whomever) polo shirt was actually a small. But now it seems that a "˜S' is actually the size of a medium shirt. So, before it used to be S = S, M = M, L = L. It now seems as S = M, M = M/L, L = L. This also goes for almost any item in the "˜S' range, from dress shirts to t-shirts. Apparently, if you are of a slimmer, v-body type, clothing companies no longer see you as a potential customer. Now, apparently, many companies are adding so-called "Custom" or "Slim" fit items to their ranges alongside the "˜normal-sized' items. Isn't this counterproductive? Would not going back to the old measuring system be a much more viable, logical solution? Jon. P.S. I am writing about clothing items sold in America.
post #2 of 14
I agree with you. It's absolutely frustrating. Though it would be meaningless to the general public, it would be very helpful to individuals like us if these companies, in addition to marking their garments S/M/L/XL, specify the exact measurements of their garments. That is why all my new shirts, trousers and suits are now MTM. MTM can be affordable and a lot more pleasant. Jantzen is a good example.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
How has your experience with Jantzen been? What other shirt company do they compare to? Jon.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
That is why all my new shirts, trousers and suits are now MTM. MTM can be affordable and a lot more pleasant. Jantzen is a good example.
MTM in Asia are much, much more affordable to the general public. Gregory, may I ask where you get your MTM suits from?
post #5 of 14
I flat refuse to spend more than $80 on a dress shirt -- the item is too disposable to me. It used to be the case that Polo Philip was good buy for me -- pretty good quality, and the fit was at least slightly slimmer than average American. I now will go to my grave saying that Jantzen is a far superior option -- indeed, I passed up a Polo Philip in my size the other day that I saw for $19.99. That shows you what I think of Jantzen. Is Jantzen Borrelli? No. Are the fabrics hit or miss? Some have said so, but I have had nothing but good experiences (and remember that those who say hit or miss have really high standards). But, when it comes down to it, where can you get a Sea Island shirt in your exact measurements, with the exact fit you want, with the exact collar you want, etc. etc. ? American shirts are now made for fat people -- or idiots who think that excessively baggy shirts look good.
post #6 of 14
This will be a long post. I feel the same way as johnnynorman3. Jantzen shirts are about $38 + $5 shipping each. I have only worn Polo, BB, Tyrwhitt shirts and Dunhill sportshirts, so I cannot compare Jantzen with higher quality items. However, I consider Jantzen superior to all of these. I now own 11 Jantzen shirts, with 2 more on the way. I have since sold my Polo and BB shirts on eBay--I'm too happy to get rid of them. The only two downsides of Jantzen that I can think of: (i) depending on your luck, you may end up with average (but still acceptable--at least to me) fabric, (ii) the customer service cannot be compared to high end shops like Bergdorf since they are a small firm. I've said this before, but I'll repeat it for the benefit of FCS. My father and I get our suits and trousers made by a tailor in Asia (no web address, no e-mail address). My father has patronized this tailor before I was born. I like the idea of going to this tailor; he is very pleasant to deal with, and there's lots of snob-appeal about using a tailor your dad has been going to "forever". I had a 3 button suit made in bankers grey from Super 110s Vitale Barberis Canonico, for about $500. He carries Zegna and Loro Piana fabrics as well, which I hope I will be able to afford some day. It is probably a step up from MTM, since he constructed the garment from scratch. Measurements were taken, and then I tried on the suit when it was half-completed, he made some markings, and produced the final garment for me. I've not worn anything better, so I cannot compare. My wool trousers from him range from $25 to $60. His cotton shirts are okay, probably a step down from Jantzen. For Japanese fabrics, the shirts cost $25 each; for Italian fabrics, the shirts cost $90 each. Sometimes, I am tempted to buy off-the-rack shirts. Just yesterday, I had to stop myself from buying some shirts from Brooks Brothers. Their regular shirts, when you combine their Brooks Buys offer and their 25% offer, only work out to $37 each. But I remind myself that those shirts, if bought, will likely sit in the closet. They won't fit me as well, and won't flatter me. The biggest mistake in buying clothing is buying them because they look good instead of because they look good on you. This lesson also applies to garments with excessively busy or bright patterns. Another thing I like about MTM shirts is that one gets to choose from a wide variety of fabrics. Some of the fabrics offered have a very tailored, classic, expensive and gentlemanly look (such as fine pinstripes, checks with just the right colors, etc). The patterend shirts that Gap, Banana Republic and Polo Ralph Lauren sell are just too vulgar--too proletariat--to me. They appeal to individuals who have not understood the principles of understatement, sublety and privacy. Banana Republic shirts in particular beg for attention. One should choose fabrics that can be appreciated time and time again, without losing their allure. FCS, I don't think MTM in Asia are much, much more affordable to the general public. They're certainly more affordable to Americans, but keep in mind that the average monthly income of a college graduate is around $400 in that country. I don't want to be too dramatic, but I think my life has been generally much more pleasant ever since I started wearing MTM garments. I don't look horrible, but I don't have the ideal male body either. I am now more confident, I feel others treat me noticably better, and I am just generally happier. Few people I've met in America wear clothing that fits. Some wear baggy clothing, others wear tight ones to show off their build. I may be tempted to do the latter, on that beautiful day when I get that build.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
How has your experience with Jantzen been? What other shirt company do they compare to? Jon.
This is from what I've read in the past: The majority of the fabrics are comparable to Zegna, Turnbull & Asser, and Hilditch & Key. The fabrics are better than Hugo Boss, Ike Behar, Armani, etc. Construction-wise, the shirt is below Borrelli and maybe a hair below T&A/H&K. Still excellent quality. Much better than most $150 shirts.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Much better than most $150 shirts.
Yes. If you select your fabric and style specifications carefully, you can easily get a shirt that looks like it costs $250. For me, I have a shirt in luxurious baby pink twill, with barrel cuffs, extra-wide-spread soft collar, 2 buttons on the collar underband. I would believe someone who tells me he found it at Hermes for $295. The pink is lighter and more subtle than pictured:
post #9 of 14
Quote:
I have noticed this phenomenon during the last five years, where the size of items no longer really matches their indicated label size. I can recall when a size "˜S' RL (or BB, or whomever) polo shirt was actually a small. But now it seems that a "˜S' is actually the size of a medium shirt. So, before it used to be S = S, M = M, L = L. It now seems as S = M, M = M/L, L = L. This also goes for almost any item in the "˜S' range, from dress shirts to t-shirts. Apparently, if you are of a slimmer, v-body type, clothing companies no longer see you as a potential customer.
This might serve as a bit of an explanation, it's from an article on Forbes.com More than 60% of all U.S. adults are overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control. One-fifth of Americans are considered obese, up from 12% nine years ago in 1991. Obesity among children is also growing, and the CDC has labeled the phenomenon an "epidemic." Bradford
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
To add: I have had RTW items altered by my very competent tailor. Thus, depending on the items and the fabric of manufacture (some knits are impossible to re-cut properly), I am able to buy high quality items and have them sized to perfectly fit me. Does it cost more than RTW? Of, course it does. But, many times it costs me less the MTM (where are you going to buy a MTM polo shirt anyhow?). Jon.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
(some knits are impossible to re-cut properly)
You've had sweaters re-sized? How so? Through the side seams? What are the results like?
post #12 of 14
The last time I tried a BB shirt was about 18 months ago and it looked like I was wearing a circus tent. I laid one from 5 years ago on top of it, both with the same size on the label (16 32/33) and they weren't even close to the same size. Granted, the old one has been washed countless times, but nothing can shrink that much. I have one of their slim fit shirts on order. I wouldn't call myself slim (5'9" 160 lbs, with a little bit of a gut) but maybe by today's standards I am. I picked up a couple RLs recently. You could fit two of me in the Yarmouth; the Alcott was baggy but wearable. I have also noticed that the smalls at Banana Republic are fitting me better these days than the mediums. Part of my problem may be my relatively thick neck for my waist and arm length. The RTW dress shirts may be cut expecting someone who is short and stout. I'm waiting (im)patiently for my first Jantzen shirt, which I ordered about 3 weeks ago. Considering that BB and RL have been as high up the price chain I've been willing to go, I expect I will be very pleased with Jantzen's fabrics and workmanship. I can't wait to place some large orders and replace my baggy wardrobe.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Quote:
(some knits are impossible to re-cut properly)
You've had sweaters re-sized? How so? Through the side seams? What are the results like?
Three ways: First, I have had them shortened at the sleeve length. Second, I have had them shortened at the bottom length. Third, I have had the tailor take them in from the sides; she slightly tapers the sides and forms an hourglass "fitted" type of look (similar to shaping the blades on a sport-coat. Although, a completely different procedure, the end result is the same) which fits my body quite well. Jon.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Quote:
Much better than most $150 shirts.
Yes. If you select your fabric and style specifications carefully, you can easily get a shirt that looks like it costs $250. For me, I have a shirt in luxurious baby pink twill, with barrel cuffs, extra-wide-spread soft collar, 2 buttons on the collar underband. I would believe someone who tells me he found it at Hermes for $295. The pink is lighter and more subtle than pictured:
Gregory, You can stop banging the Hermes pink shirt drum -- you've sold me on it and I plan to order that fabric when I put in my bulk order. Can't wait to get it.
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