One of our readers, Steve emailed me this:
“Antonio, I understand that clothing should fit. I'm concerned though that if I buy a slim-fit, it's a trendy choice that won't last. I'm looking to present and build my core wardrobe. Putting that out of the way, why are looser fits described as regular, classic, or loose versus slim or super-slim? Thanks. Steve.”
He thinks it looks good but then he sees super-slim or skinny and he's instantly thinking, “Okay. Is this a trend? I want to build an interchangeable, classic wardrobe, a wardrobe that's going to last for a long time.”
Men's clothing sizes and measurements – Why are they so confusing?
Why are there so many different terms for clothing sizes?
What Do These Labels Mean?
Those labels are there to sell. There is no regulation here.
Skinny doesn't really mean that it's a very loose general term because what is skinny one place?
A good example is go to Europe and then go to the United States. If you try on a medium or a small in Europe, actually a medium or a small in Europe is easily a small in the United States and it's really bad in women's clothing.
Sizing is all about sales and getting you to buy.
Understand that if it looks good, you can put together a classic clothing. Unless it says maybe super-skinny or matchstick or something, be careful there.
There are no rules. There are no regulations.
Where Do You See The Regulations In Clothing?
Whenever something says 100% cotton, it doesn't have to actually be 100% cotton. There's a 3%, in my understanding, variance that it could have a few other things and they can label it 100% cotton.
If something has a label “Made in Italy,” “Made in the United States,” that doesn't necessarily mean it was made in the way.
Each of these rules and regulations, they often have things written in and I know the “Made in Italy,” there's a lot of the big fight going on in Europe because basically a lot of things are being assembled in China, they're importing it into Italy and then they're piecing it together.
Where Was It Technically Made?
You're going to find that's harder and harder especially as we look — as a merchant, I can tell you it's really hard. In fact, it's pretty impossible to find good suiting fabric made in the United States. All the mills, they're in Italy. They're in the U.K. They're over in China. They're not in the United States.
When you wear a suit, even if it was handcraft designed and cut in the United Sates, it's technically not fully made in the US.
It gets to sales, they find especially in women's wear and it does apply to men, if something says “regular” or “classic.” You're a little bit larger versus if you have the same option and it says “loose” or “baggy,” what are you going to go with?
You're going to go with the regular or classic.
Some guys just want everything loose and are going to go with the loose, but you're going to go with what sounds best to your ears and flatters your ego.
How can you get past this? How can you make all of the sizing irrelevant?
1. Know Your Measurements
Collect your measurements. When you know how many inches your shoulders are across, that doesn't change much.
You may gain a little bit of weight and it may change a little bit but from shoulder point to shoulder point, that's pretty consistent.
You can shop better for shirts that should fit you from shoulder point to shoulder point or suits that should fit you. The shoulders should fit you right there.
2. Measure your Best Fitting Clothing
I know you've got a shirt in your wardrobe or you've got a jockey, you're got a pair of trousers, a pair of jeans that you love, that fits you perfect. You should record and measure those. So when you're out shopping, you don't have them on.
You've got this information perhaps on your smartphone somewhere and you know that your outseam on those trousers needs to be this, the inseam needs to be this and the rise, basically, the crotch measurement, needs to be this.
When you know that, it's going to be much easier to purchase and you can ignore the label.
So gentlemen, invest in yourself and always make a smart investment.
Are you looking for a compact reference guide to men's timeless style? Click here to doscover The Elegant Man