Abel has an interesting post up about his return to XXL shirts. He used to wear them when he was a touch flabby, lost the weight and went down a size or two, but is now bulking up (in the good way) and finds himself back to square one (albeit with a better physique).

I’ve been having fitting problems, too, due to my weight. My jeans size hasn’t really budged all that much since my leg-size holds me back from getting smaller pants than my waist requires (one of the reasons that I wear belts, though even without this reason everybody should wear belts… ahem… moving on…). Some of my shirts are a bit large, but having large shirts isn’t a problem because I’m long-bodied (my legs are about the same length as Clancy’s). It’s still a bit of an inconvenience, which I’ll get to later.

But undershirts have posed a real problem. It used to be that I got Large even though they were too small. They girdled some of my more uncomfortable shape and they were tight enough that they didn’t conflict with the shirt I wore over it. I’d tuck it into my underpants to add constriction. For instance, If I was positioning my shirt, I could grab the shirt and straighten it out without having to worry that I was also grabbing the undershirt.

But as I’ve lost weight, the undershirts aren’t so small anymore. The girdling is thankfully less necessary, but I’ve gotten used to the undershirts as sweat-catchers. They also give me more versatility in that I can have my shirt tucked or untucked when wearing an undershirt because the undershirt would guard against the discomfort of the beltline (and, as we know, everyone should wear belts). But now since they no longer wrap around my body tightly, it’s more difficult for my fingers to grab the shirt without also grabbing the undershirt. Now it feels less like I’m wearing a second (cloth) skin and a shirt and more like I’m wearing two shirts. I thought about downgrading to medium-sized undershirts, but they’re not long enough. I’m a fairly tall guy with a long torso. So that’s proven to be an inconvenience.

I also find that the XXL shirts that I bought that used to be moderately too big (but which I nonetheless bought because of the aforementioned torso) now hang a little too large. Well, some of them do. The t-shirts, mostly. I remember back when I lost 70 pounds the last couple years of high school and I would wear shirts that were too large I felt cheated because the way that they hung on me made it look like I hadn’t lost all the weight that I had. I feel a little bit that way now, though my weight loss is half of what it was then. But I can’t for the life of me find the XL t-shirts that I packed away somewhere. I hope that they are found when we move next. If they got lost in the last move, I’ll have to go out and buy more. I’m one of the relatively few guys that enjoys buying clothes (and keep a wardrobe for four weeks stashed away).

The best part of the weight loss though is slacks. Most of the slacks I wear are Puritan (one of the Walmart brands). Several years ago they came out with these great pants that were super comfortable and good enough looking that they were a step up from casual-wear. They stopped fitting when I gained weight, I had difficulty finding slacks in my new size, and I was reluctant to pay any more than I had to because I always had the intention of losing the weight again. The good news was that they had a weird sort of elastic waist with pleats so it didn’t look awful when I wore them. I know that some (a lot) of people out there hate pleats with a passion and probably thought that it looked awful anyway. Even so, it was do-able. The thing that drove me absolutely nuts, though, was that the pulling-out of the pants meant that the white inside my pockets showed. The fashion sin of pleats didn’t bother me, but the noticeability of white pockets from particular angles was something that drove me nuts. They’re gone now and that is a beautiful thing. Particularly since Puritan doesn’t make the slacks like they used to. They don’t hide the white in the pockets nearly as much and so now they can be visible even when the pants aren’t too small. They also no longer release the gray-green color (my wife swears they’re gray, I think they’re green) that I love so much. So being able to fit back into those pants is a wonderful thing. Whenever I do go out and get new pants, it’ll probably have to be a different brand. I’m not looking forward to that day.

Category: Market

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3 Responses to XXL No More

  1. Peter says:

    It was a great pleasure for me a few years ago when I got rid of my fat clothes (I know, that’s mainly a women’s expression, but it’s entirely appropriate), and buy all smaller sizes. Everything went down: pants waists from 40 inches to 34 inches, shirt collars from 17 inches to 16 inches, casual shirts from XL to L (in some cases I can squeeze into an M). It was wonderful.

    Visible white pocket linings seem to be a problem with other types of cheap pants besides those from Wally World. Making pants that way doesn’t seem to be any cheaper than having smaller, less visible linings, so I can’t explain why it’s mainly a cheap-pants issue.

  2. Becky says:

    Congrats on the weight loss — too bad they don’t make a “tall” for undershirts. Or, are you totally opposed to polos?

    I had to buy some new stuff for work, but I had to go el cheapo or on sale b/c I’m also hoping that they don’t fit me six months from now.

  3. trumwill says:

    Peter, my guess is that it’s one of those things that saves pennies but that most people don’t care or don’t notice (or don’t notice until after they’ve purchased it). Walmart in particular is known for squeezing vendors for every penny that they can save. I remember reading an article about a shirt-maker that wanted to use more visible stitching and Walmart wouldn’t let them (or wouldn’t sell it and if they stopped making the regular shirts would stop buying their products).

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