stretching the truth

Every Retailer Is Lying To You About Your Waist Size. Particularly Old Navy

THE SHOT — Those 36-inch pants at H&M? They’re actually a 37. And don’t even get us started on Old Navy, which spins more fibs about your true pant size than Maggie Gallagher drunk at a marriage convention. Though I firmly believe high-end designers like Jil Sander and J. Lindeberg also lie, just in the other direction. [Esquire]

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  • CCGuy00

    No kidding… I wear a 29″ at Old Navy and a 31 at Banana Republic. Express Men probably has the truest waist sizes, since they have a more European fit…

  • Gridlock

    Lawdy, i be faaaaaaaaaat…

  • Flipper

    Are we talking pants, or belts (as shown in the picture)? If so, belts are always longer than the actual waist size. That said, it would explain why my Old Navy 33’s are always falling off….

  • Baxter

    Shirt sizes have just scaled up. I used to wear medium sizes, but now I have to wear small ones, even though I’ve gained a little weight over the last few years.

  • 7

    I think it depends on the particular pair. I went to Levi’s to buy jeans, and I got four pairs of 29/34 505’s. I was just happy they had my size, until I tried them on, and each pair fit me in a completely different way: the pair from Mexico was high and tight, the pair from Haiti was just way to big, Honduras was minuscule, and while Dominican Republic fit me well in the store, once I got home I needed to pop an extra hole in my belts because I could fit a whole other person in them with me.

    I don’t know. Sizes in general are very hazy.

  • Fitz

    This is one of the smartest and slimiest marketing ploys EVER. Evil geniuses at work!

  • Michael

    Another sign of global warming. Every school boy knows heat makes your waist expand, and Old Navy is simply compensating for this globally growing problem. A simple “thank you,” is not out of line.

  • L.

    It’s all right – I lie to myself about my waist size too.

  • concernedcitizen

    I’ve always suspected as much, something is just too fishy when in one brand I’m one size while in another brand I’m a whole different size! And what I’m about to say next is probably offensive to some but, as american waistlines get more and more robust it gets harder and harder to find close in my size…

    Another brand that needs to be looked into is Docker’s I’ve completely given up on finding a pair of “straight leg” kacki’s pants that actually fit. The point is unless you are overweight or purchase really expensive clothes, designers don’t have you in mind.

  • concernedcitizen

    @concernedcitizen: oh wait docker’s is there sorry. those bastards this just confirms it, I’ll never buy another pair.

  • Andrew B.

    I am an H&M 31″ and wear their size small shirts. Just wish they made more clothes for people over 6′. Nice to know I am actually lanky as I think I am.

  • Swedish Fish

    They do this with women a lot because labels like ‘2’ and ‘4’ can be easily manipulated, but messing with honest-to-god standards of measure? Bastards.

  • Harvard

    If you’re shopping at Old Navy, chances are you’re looking for comfortable and casual. If you’re shopping at H&M you’re probably seeking something a lot more fashion forward, probably skinny jeans, but something with a slim silhouette.

    Just comparing the actual waist measurements of pants isn’t a true measure of a brand’s sizing strategy. Go to the GAP and try on the same size in 3 different styles of jeans and you’ll find that CUT makes a huge difference.

  • damon459

    I figured this out when I got shorts as a gift from old navy I wear a 32 but when I got theses one from them they just fell right off and I can’t wear a belt with shorts it jean shorts it looks silly.

  • Steve

    When I used to be able to just pick out any pair of 32×32 and take them home, I would buy clothing on impulse during my lunch break. But that doesn’t work any more. Now I have to actually try them on to see if they fit. Trying clothing on takes time, so I cannot buy clothing at lunch time any more. Making me try things on defeats their purpose (of selling clothes), because I can’t buy clothing on impulse any more.

    It has actually saved me a lot of money. I have only bought a few pairs of pants and a half dozen shirts over the last year. I used to buy at least one pair of pants a month, twice that many shirts.

  • Indira

    @Harvard: So true about the cut. I had a 3/4 at Delia*s that was loose and another cut that I couldn’t even bend my knees in. Both were “skinny” styles. And at Express I can end up in anything from a 00 to a 4. Shopping for bottoms is a headache.

  • Viral

    @Indira: then honey, you were at the wrong bar… oops, sorry wrong type of bottom ;)

  • Syl

    Ugh, does anyone else think that Old Navy has really gone down in quality since the nineties? I mean, they used to be acceptable, now they’re borderline Wal-Mart quality!

  • scott ny'er

    while this is somewhat known, i’m glad you posted this. I forgot that companies did this. It’s frustrating to have to try stuff on because the sizes aren’t uniform and this reminds me that it’s not me but the eff up companies messing with us.

  • scott ny'er

    @Steve: Exactly!!! Stupid retailers.

    Sheesh. One pants a month. You must have a sh!tload of clothes.

  • Gorbeh

    No wonder the 32″ shorts I ordered from Old Navy are WAY too loose.

  • Sean

    @CCGuy00: Are us gays allowed to wear Old Navy? I was taught no.

  • mrpeenee

    Oh thank god, finally a story that allows commentors to brag about how tiny their waists are.

  • Sam

    I have a pair of 29 Old Navy Shorts and 34 Ben Sherman pants. Both fit about the same. It’s totally annoying to have to always have to try on several sizes of the same pants because of this crap. And it’s true that it’s not even the same with the same designer. I also have other pairs of Ben Shermans in 33 and 32 that fit similarly to the 34.

  • kevwyn

    just wear dresses honey

  • concernedcitizen

    @mrpeenee: umm if you want to percieve it that way… more power to ya!

  • Simon

    yeah, old navy’s sizes run huge, and they don’t sell extra smalls … something about that logic doesn’t make sense to me :/

  • damon459

    I hate to say it but it’s do to the fating of this country causing clothing companies to try and make people feel thinner then they really are which just makes the problem worse maybe if people were more aware of their weight gain they would act sooner to try and change their ways.

  • justiceontherocks

    I really hate it when you have to buy different waist sizes from the same store.

  • seaguy11

    Old Navy specifically asks about sizing problems when you complete one of their register surveys so hopefully that means they are aware of the issues and trying to improve.

  • Alex


    This is so true!
    I’ve probably gained ten #s and I’m swimming in a medium.

  • Dickie

    Well, I don’t think this should really be *news* to anyone. I mean, there’s a reason we try clothes on before we leave the store.

    Hollister is just as bad as Old Navy, if not worse. I wear anywhere from a 31-33 (depending on the store, of course), but at Hollister I had to get size 28… I was actually offended! I’m no twink! No hate to the thinner boys, because most of you look fabulous, but I am not that thin and I enjoy my size!

    But shirt size is another. I have to get size small shirts so they fit, and it’s not like I’m going for the tight fit look. One of my thin friends has to shop in the “young adult” section because shirts in the men’s section smalls don’t fit.

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