Originally Posted by cookieoflife
Wikipedia says that the average american male is 5' 9.5" and weighs about 160lbs. I'm 5' 9" and 145 , wearing a 30W and 38R. I assume that the extra 15 lbs adds around 1-2 inches on to the waist and chest measurements, so the average american should be right at 32W and 40R - in line with what I see on this forum.
But cheap suit-wearing dudes are huge today. I was just talking to an elderly clothing salesman (at a Jos A Bank). This guy has been selling clothes in the same place since the 1960s. I love these guys and always draw them out in conversation to get their take on the history of all this stuff. This guy was telling me that in the 1970s, American men wore their suit jackets and dress trousers skin tight. So vintage stuff you find, all the time, with a tagged size that's larger than it would be today. Over the years, the men have gotten bigger and bigger. Not just in height, but also in the chest and in the arms. He thinks the big shoulders on cheap RTW are necessary to fit the meaty biceps that far more men sport today than they did in the 1970s. Back then, he tells me, the "gut sizes" or core sizes, the ones they sold the most, were 40R and 42R. Today, the most stocked and sold sizes are 44R, 46R, 44L, and 46L. It's not just that guys wore the clothes a little bigger, on average, than they were thirty, forty years ago. A jacket tagged 38R today, which is much the same size as a jacket tagged 40R thirty-five years ago, was once one of the most commonly sold sizes. So cheap suit-wearing American men have moved up, on average, six
sizes. It's not just that they are overweight; they are also taller and more muscular. And it could also be that men working jobs that require suits are more larger than average today than they were thirty-forty years ago.