No longer Large, and rarely in charge…

For those of you who have never met me, I'm approximately 6'2” tall, and currently weigh about 168 pounds. For all of my (reasonably) adult life, I've been a “Large”. If I needed a T-shirt, or a coat, or a sweatshirt, I was always a Large.

My consistent largeness provided comfort as I navigated the often turbulent waters of life.

But recently, things have changed. America has - and I'm sure I'm not telling you anything new, unless you've been living in a cave for the past 10 years (presumably a cave with a nice 100 MBit network, a cable modem, and a kickin' gaming system), you've probably noticed that America has been getting fatter. Not the country, which at my last measurement, was just a bit under 1000 leagues wide, but the people.

For a while, this was no issue, but clothing manufacturers have started to adjust their sizes upwards, which means that Large isn't the Large that I have grown to love. But, of couse, all of them haven't done it, so now I sometimes end up with a large, and sometimes with a medium. Not that bad if you can try them on ahead of time, but for TechEd I got two Large shirts - you have to order large because if medium is too small, you're SOL - and I swim in them a bit. I guess I could wear 10 or 12 T shirts underneath to fill it out a bit, but that hardly seems practical.


Comments (44)

  1. Josh says:

    Go buy your clothing in Europe :-). It’s much nicer over there anyway.

  2. Jerry Pisk says:

    Not in the Europe I know. Everybody over 35 has a beer belly the size of Texas. From what I’ve seen (living in Europe 20 and in the US almost 10 years) it’s just Europeans like to think they’re not fat. But they are, just as Americans are.

  3. Mike says:

    Can you say super size??? That’s the problem over here is we are brainwashed that more is better, when the fact is it’s just more fat on our backsides…

  4. Jerry Pisk says:

    I think the problem in the US is that people do not realize a simple thing – if you eat more energy than what your body burns it’s going to be stored, most of it in fat. And since eating less doesn’t really work (since your body thinks worse times are coming and starts getting ready for it, by storing fat) you need to burn the energy. By moving ๐Ÿ™‚

    Overeating just adds to it, I remember when the regular size of value meals was medium. Now it’s called small, so you can upsize to medium or large (and supersize at McD). Otoh Outback is making their stakes smaller, I really like the 10 oz filet mignon. Now it’s just 9, which seems a bit small, especially compared to the small 7 oz portion.

  5. blameMike says:

    I feel exactly the same way Eric. I procured a large shirt the other day, and when I put it on at home, I thought I mistakenly bought an XL.

    I think it’s time Americans dropped the sandwich!

  6. John says:

    Tell your friends.

    I lost 30kg’s after I read this book. Before I read it, I didn’t understand the simple concept that Jerry pointed out above: "you eat more energy than what your body burns it’s going to be stored, most of it in fat". I used to think that you got fat because you didn’t excercise enough, but that’s not really how it works.

    It helped me get my perspective right. Then after that, the rest was easy.

    The book is free. It was written by John Walker, who is the guy who started Autodesk (and co-wrote AutoCAD).


  7. Eric TF Bat says:

    What a shame the clothing companies have to modify their sizes just to help keep their customers in denial.

    If you’re fat, and the clothing company says you’re just "cuddly", does that count toward your score when the paramedics are trying to restart your heart?

  8. Einar says:

    Size is a weird thing. In my wardrobe, I’ve got two sweaters bought quite recently, one is a small, the other XL (heh, my fingers insisted on typing XML, I must be work-damaged…) and obviously they’re about the same size.

    Concerning human size: obviously there are some pretty big europeans, but still… when I come to the States, I always get struck by how positively non-barred out-there _huge_ some people are.

  9. Mike Woodhouse says:

    At 6′ 2" and 168 pounds (BMI=21.56: normal) I’d assert that you’re never been "large", mostly just "long".


    (6’3", BMI=27.36:overweight)

  10. Damnit this sucks. I mean it’s cool for me that I can now wear a large instead of XL but I’m used to my branding.

    I like knowing I’m fat, or that I like really big shirts. I like saying to everyone: Get me an XL or my belly won’t fit.

    I don’t get why they would go changing this widespread though. I think it’s mainly a company by company basis.

    So what about people that used to buy a small? Is this suggesting that no one is a small any more? Or are they trying to downplay those sizes with terms like XS (extra small) or XXS? I guess now it’s ‘un PC’ to be skinny. They may think you’re anorexic or something just because you take care of your body and happen to have a small figure.

  11. Anyone ever see the Simpsons episode where Homer intentionally gains weight so that he can topple 300lbs so his obesity can be considered a disability?

    There is a scene in that episode (among many) where he goes into a large-person’s clothing store. The dialog goes:

    Homer: I’m looking for something loose and billowy, something comfortable for my first day of work.

    Salesman: Work, huh? Let me guess. Computer programmer, computer magazine columnist, something with computers?

    I can’t help but think of that.

  12. dh says:

    Jerry got it exactly right, "if you eat more energy than what your body burns it’s going to be stored". They taught us that in my Lifetime Fitness class in college. Never heard that before in high school or anywhere else. Might be a good thing to teach our youth.

    Sometimes I think that others believe going to the gym is the only way to use more energy. To me that’s secondary, the lifestyle choices people make is probably a bigger factor –

    * when was the last time you saw someone take the stairs when the escalator is next to it?

    * on the golf course, virtually *nobody* walks the course – they all ride.

    * lawn mowing, snow shoveling, the overweight have probably never done either.

    * park their vehicles as near to their destination as possible. Park some distance away and walk 200 yards? absurd!

    * etc. etc.

  13. dev says:

    Watch the new film "Supersize Me"… its a frightening look at the ever growing ass size of Americans.

  14. Chris Nahr says:

    Only 168 pounds at 6"2? Go do some weight training, and those Large shirts will fit you again! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. bennyq says:

    1 pound =? kilogramme

  16. Rory says:


    I thought I was the only one who noticed this. This issue has been driving me absolutly *nuts* over the past couple years as I’ve watched t-shirts get larger and larger – to the point now that smalls no longer fit me.

    I’ve been told to buy shirts in the children’s section. I’m OK with that, but it seems like such a Michael Jackson thing to do, and I wish we could just go back to having regular sizes.

    I guess they’re planning for the future, though. Has anybody else noticed that kids nowadays are *huge*? I feel like a freaking midget who’s thin as a rail from having just escaped from a prison camp when I’m walking among them.

    I don’t judge people on size, etc, but it really does suck that I can’t find clothes that fit me anymore. It was already tough, but now it’s becoming impossible.

    Oh, well. Just one more reason to go to Europe every few years. At least I can still find reasonably sized clothing abroad…

  17. It becomes even more complex if you’ve got slightly different proportions than the average male. For me the question becomes – could you tell me if that is large in the shoulders or large in the hips? And for the petite speakers its even tougher.

    Three cheers for DevConnections having women’s shirts for women speakers.

  18. MilesArcher says:

    Exercise people!

  19. KC Lemson says:

    Eric, I got a medium and it’s way too big for me – you want it? And I’d love to take the Ls off your hands, I could use them for giveaways in my team. I believe the T’s are unisex.

  20. They choose fast food, fat people, and Bush in a tank.

  21. Dear God, _first_ everyone everyone is complaining that women can only find sizes that in like 5’s and 6’s, _now_ it’s that they’re finally accepting that people are actually expanding like Helium balloons, and clothing is being altered to fit that.

    Twiggy and Homer Simpson are your only choices, it was marked _clearly_ on the form when you came in.

    Make up your minds, people! ๐Ÿ™‚

    For the record: 6’4", 165Lbs, and nothing has ever fit me right, so Nyah! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Rory says:

    Kathleen –

    "Three cheers for DevConnections having women’s shirts for women speakers."

    I forgot to mention that I also wear my girlfriend’s t-shirts on occasion ๐Ÿ™‚

    So, yeah – three cheers, damn it! At least some of the women’s DevConnections shirts might have fit me, although the wider waist sometimes looks strange on a not-female…

  23. What’s all this talk about losing weight? Eric’s complaining about no longer being a "Large", so he doesn’t need to diet, he needs to eat! stop working out! get with the program Eric, this is America – you just need to add some pounds and get fat like everyone else here. After all, it’s the patriotic thing to do: support the fast food and healthcare industry!

  24. Paul Murphy says:

    To make matters worse, free shirst are always XL – a bit big for a guy who’s a slim 5’9". I just gave a box of free tech shirts away to goodwill because they’re too big for me to wear and the dryer would only shrink but so much.

  25. Joku says:

    Obvious question is who uses only "medium" "large" without any absolute measure..

  26. Ken Cowan says:

    Thanks for posting this. I thought it was just me. I even noticed it in pants, which I thought were sized as inches in the waistline.

    BTW, the size medium show shirt was only about 32" in the sleeve, though it stretched slightly.


  27. Sean Duggan says:

    This reminds me of the debate I had with a female friend as to whether female jeans should start getting actual inch measurements of the hips and inseam as with guy’s jeans. Honestly, which would you prefer to buy, a "7" which may or may not be the same size between different manufacturers and different years, or a 32/30 where it has a 32 inch waist and a 30 inch inseam? (Note: I have no idea what size a "7" is in woman’s jeans. *shrug* I get the impression that’s considered large these days)

  28. Anonymous says:

    Outwardly Normal 2

  29. Jubal says:

    Your post reminds me of my frequent complaint that I am a thin man in a fat man’s world. I’m thin. I’ve always been thin. I am 6’1" and around 155lbs. Most of my height is made up of thin legs.

    Buying jeans is a nightmare. It is nearly impossible to find a pair that fits. When I was in high school my size was 28×36. As I approach forty I have finally moved up to 33×36. The thing that kills me is not that I can’t find my size, but that I can’t find a single pair of jeans where the size of the waist is smaller than the length of the pants. The racks are full of 36×28 but there is no 33×36. What’s up with that?

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