Case of the Shrinking Abercrombie Clothing Sizes

I’ve been clothes shopping a few times this year, and each time I go, I get another reminder of how 32×34 must mean something else in Indonesia or the planning rooms at Abercrombie and/or Hollister Co. While the pant-sizing issue is a bummer in and of itself, the real pisser of late has been the “case of the shrinking shirt sizes.” On top of that, the ineptitude and utter detachment that the employees of these places display kind of drives me nuts, although it’s hard to blame them sometimes when you consider the retail environment.

Anyhoo, so a couple of weeks ago, I went into Abercrombie with Courtney just to look around. We immediately saw a gray and white striped polo that I knew I would inevitably end up with, but I couldn’t find my size (large) anywhere on the floor. I badgered an employee about it, and a few minutes later, she emerged from the clusterf$*% that is the stock room with said gray polo in large.

Now, just to bring you up to speed here, sizing in the late 90s wasn’t really a ridiculous crapshoot. Men’s clothes ran big at the time (because I guess that was the style), so you pretty much knew what you were getting. In 2002, Abercrombie introduced the “muscle” cut on their shirts, which I think just meant that they were going to make their clothes smaller. Being the attention-seeking man slut that I am, however, I enjoyed this switch because it meant that I wouldn’t have to resort to steroids in order to fill out the sleeves of your everyday shirt.

When they first came out with the “muscle” cuts, a medium was just about right, and a large was just a bit too, well, large. Over the last year or so, though, I’ve had to start getting larges because the mediums began to look downright ridiculous – like trying to slip a condom over a basketball.

Now we go back to our story, only this time you know precisely why I needed a large, and you have this wonderful mental image to boot! I know, I know – I’m feeling generous today. So the girl came back from the stock room with my new shirt, and I bought it and headed on home. The next day, I went to put it on, and lo and behold – there’s a gaping hole where that damn sensor used to be.

First question that comes to my mind is this: “How in the hell does the ‘Crombie Zombie’ who removed the sensor not see a hole 3/4″ in diameter?” You know what I think? I think she saw it. I think she just didn’t care. I think she probably thought that the hole wasn’t like directly over my nipple or anything, so why should I care, right? Well, when I’m walking through my house not paying a lick of attention and brush across a door jamb, I’ll probably care a lot when I rip off half my shirt because the hole caught on the lock deal as I passed at 20 mph.

Dismayed over the stupid hole, I had to take the uber cool gray and white stripe polo (in large) back to Abercrombie and exchange it for one that wasn’t ventilated so well. Of course, Murphy’s Law dictates that they would no longer have the gray polo in large, so I had to opt for another polo that I wasn’t quite as crazy about but liked nonetheless. I snatched up a large, made the exchange, and bolted out of there without really even thinking about it.

The next morning, I went to put on the new polo. I first noticed a problem when trying to slide my arms through the armholes — umm, I kind of got hung up at the elbows. After much struggling, I managed to pull on the new large polo, and once that bad boy was on, I felt like my arms were going to pop. The shirt was so freaking tight on my “guns” that the skin was actually wrinkling up underneath the cuffed part of the sleeve. It looked completely ridiculous.

I have at least ten Abercrombie polos in my wardrobe, and I can say without hesitation that none of them have sleeves that small. Some are pretty tight on me, but nothing compares to the “large” that would fit the torso of a rhino but the arms of a monkey.

Seriously, what is the agenda here? I think there should be at least some reward for being muscular as far as men’s clothes go. I don’t think your everyday chump should be able to fill out the sleeves of a large shirt. Proportionately, it’s got to look kinda weird, I would think. It damn sure looked weird on me!

So anyway, I still have the “large” polo, and I guess I’m going to take it back to the store and try to exchange it for something that really does fit. Only this next time, I think I’ll actually try the shirt on in the store, because it’s clear at this point that the size on the label means next to nothing. The alternative, of course, is simply to get my money back and go spend it somewhere else (or not at all, but that’s not gonna get me a shirt anytime soon). Maybe I’ll go to Hollister Co., although I don’t like their polos quite as much. I’ve noticed, too, that their sizes have shrunk since 2002. I like a snug fit on my shirts, but all these shrinking sizes are driving me nuts. I need some consistency, people!