Ladies, rejoice! Murky, dishonest, and downright confusing sizes are no longer only your cross to bear. Esquire style blogger Abram Sauer bought a tape measure, put on his investigative reporter hat, and lay his pride on the line for a recent trip down the rabbit hole that is men’s waist sizing.
While the accompanying infographic can’t be beat, Sauer’s findings will be as shocking to men as they are absolutely unshocking to women. Sauers, who according to his historical shopping habits was the proud owner of a 36-inch waist, went to H&M, Calvin Klein, Alfani, GAP, Haggar, Dockers, and Old Navy and measured every pair of their size 36 pants.
As the women out there have probably guessed right now, some of those size 36 pants fit and some of them decidedly didn’t — but not a single pair of size 36 pants actually measured out at 36 inches. The most accurate brands were H&M (37″), Calvin Klein (38.5″), and Alfani (38.5″), while the worst offender was Old Navy, whose pants measured out a whopping 41 inches, or 5 inches larger than the label.
Sauer’s outrage is justifiable, if totally hilarious. He writes:
This isn’t the subjective business of mediums, larges and extra-larges — nor is it the murky business of women’s sizes, what with its black-hole size zero. This is science, damnit. Numbers! Should inches be different than miles per hour? Do highway signs make us feel better by informing us that Chicago is but 45 miles away when it’s really 72? Multiplication tables don’t yield to make us feel better about badness at math; why should pants make us feel better about badness at health? Are we all so many emperors with no clothes?
In a word, no — that’s a bit dramatic. But we’re not going to lie: it’s kind of nice to see a man freak out about what has largely been a women’s-only clothing concern. Vanity sizing does not discriminate.