I bought a jacket yesterday.
In itself, that is hardly worthy of comment. But in the process of trying on jackets–and I tried on quite a few–I learned something that strikes me as strange. I am “small.” In fact, I am 5’9″ and about 155 lb, which is the average height for an American man, and a healthy weight for my height. One might think this would make me “medium,” and in the past, that was the size I would grab first. But yesterday, the only jackets that fit me were smalls. I tried on a few mediums that might as well have been tents.
Sizes go way up–all the places I looked had XXL jackets–but what about guys who really are small? There were no sizes smaller than “small.” There was no short-men’s section tucked away in the corner of Dillards (though there was a big-men’s section there). What do they do? Shop in the boys’ department, the way Prince does?
I think it’s widely known that women’s sizes have undergone a radical deflation over the years. I was vintage-shopping with my sister once, and remember her trying on a 30s-era dress that was size 14. Going by modern sizing, she’d wear a 4. It seems that, as Americans get bigger, something similar is happening with men’s clothing.