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Going from ‘husky’ to ‘a bit more skoosh’ to baggy or too tight

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POSTED April 19, 2009 2:28 a.m.
It must be a conspiracy.

Growing up I could never find any clothes that fit.

Slim was in. The marketing name for pants that fit me was “husky” prior to turning 13 when I shed about 60 pounds to get down to 220 pounds.  Virtually every shirt for a kid back then in my age group that was “husky” was either checkered or horizontal stripes. Whatever clothes designer came up with horizontal stripes for kids who are overweight either had a cruel streak a mile wide or was absolutely clueless.

After high school the weight crept back on until I was at 320 pounds. Clothes designers for someone in their late 20s back in the early 1980s weren’t much better. I wore a lot of dark suits. Buying anything but slacks was an exercise in frustration.

The best incident to describe the fun of trying to fit my body type at the time came from Pete Demas who owned Demas Department Store in Lincoln. I had found Levis in the right lengths that were a size apart. The first one was way too tight. That prompted Mr. Demas to tug on them and inform me I needed to lose weight.

Then I tried on the next size up. They were loose around the waist. Mr. Demas’ response? He told me I needed to gain weight.

When I dropped 125 pounds by the time I turned 30, Dockers and Hawaiian shirts were in. It wasn’t too bad for someone who was 6-foot, 195 pounds to find stuff because things were getting to fit a bit looser.

Between 1986 and 2006 I crept up to 223 pounds and then back down to 195 pounds. Clothes fit OK as fashion folks were now into a “skoosh” more room, relaxed fitting became the mantra, and “athletic cut” became kind of a joke since guys like me could wear them. You can’t ever say that some manufacturers don’t have a bit of a genius streak with their marketing by increasing the size while giving clothes feel good names such as “athletic cut” unless, of course, they were referring to Sumatra wrestlers in training.

Then just under two years ago I got down to my present weight of between 167 and 170 pounds. Things were OK until I figured it was time to see if I could build something that somewhat resembled muscle. For the record, I’m one of those guys who could take steroids and still not gain much definition.

Now things either fit as if they were designed for an eating binge or else they are simply too “form fitting.” I could drop down another size in pants and shirts but I have no desire to be reminded by clothing designers that they apparently favor torsos with developed chests and severely tapered waists.

There is no in between. It’s either “a skoosh more room” which freely translates baggy as heck or else its clothing designed for someone that would be at home wearing a form fighting polyester leisure suit with plunging shirt necklines reminiscent of Saturday Night Fever.

What do you expect from an industry that constantly puts smaller pant sizes on the upper shelves near normal standing level while the bigger sizes are on the bottom shelf?
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