General Question

Perchik's avatar

Have men's pants sizes become arbitrary?

Asked by Perchik (4982points) May 10th, 2008

My waist is 34 inches around. That used to mean that I would wear size 34 pants…no questions asked. I used to wear size 32–34, now I’m down to a 30 or lower. I measured my waist again, still 34. Why does 34 not mean 34 inches now?

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14 Answers

richmarshall's avatar

Different brands size differently in my experience. I’m a 32 inch waist but 34’s feel so good that I wear a 36!

wildflower's avatar

It may be related to the lowered waistline, i.e. the slouch fit and pulled down jeans. Since your hips are typically wider than your waist, they may be designed to fit the hips of someone with a 34 waist. That’s my theory…

delirium's avatar

you and nathan wear the same sized pants.

richardhenry's avatar

@delirium: They can share now. :)

simone54's avatar

Anytime I bought pants it had two numbers 32 30. The 32 is for the waist and 30 is for the length. I never bought pants that had one number.

steelmarket's avatar

Every manufacturer should be required to calibrate their sizes to Levi’s jeans. Then, we’d all know where we stand.

delirium's avatar

RichardHenry: I see nothing bad about both of them being pantsless.

Perchik's avatar

@simone, I’m just referring to the waist measurement.
@steel, or they could calibrate them to the inches that they used to represent.

robmandu's avatar

For me, I think @wildflower nails it. Gap, Bill’s Khaki’s and a slew of other places will sell you a pair of khaki slacks (or jeans, or whatever) modeled after the old WWII-era style… with the waistband running right up to your navel.

I’m not James Bond (wearing classically cut suits/tuxedos), and so I prefer a lower rise (the distance between the crotch and the waist of a pair of trousers) in my pants and like ‘em to hang low on the hips. The hips, as wildflower points out, are actually wider than the waist.

So the pants you buy might not be measured for the waist, but actually for the hips.

The point is, it could be a correction made by the manufacturer based on where they intend for the pants to rest. But as the entire situation is an arbitrary standard applied ad-hoc per manufacturers whims, it’s easy to perceive that things have slipped.

I’m just glad I’m not female. What the heck is a “size 4”, in terms of height, weight, width, etc. and how can that ever describe any particular body dimensions exactly?

judochop's avatar

no kidding. Diesel is the worst. I am a 32 but I wear a 29 in diesel. G-star is the same way. The fashion industry is just trying to make people feel better.

wildflower's avatar

A US size 4 = UK size 6 = European size 36 = jeans size 26…..although there are variations from one label to another. Also, European size is not consistent. An Italian 36 is a Scandinavian 34, etc.

So all in all, you blokes don’t have it that difficult when shopping for clothes…

Fallstand's avatar

This always annoys me.. Not even just jeans though, shirts vary from store/brand as well.. I just wish they’d all get on the same page

Maharet's avatar

your measuring tape isn’t the same and their measuring tape. no two tapes are alike… lol

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