Why Does Ready To Wear Mensware From The UK Fit Me Better Than US Stuff?
March 3, 2013 6:27 AM   Subscribe

I've noticed that the bog-standard off the rack/department store menswear items (button-up shirts, slacks, etc) from UK brands bought in the UK tends to fit me wildly better then their counterparts in the US. I have to alter them a lot less and they just hang off my body better. I'm wondering if there's a technical/fashion-nerd reason for this and if so, what should I be looking for in the US department store brands to get this same effect?

For sizing: 6'0 220lb man, all shoulders and butt.
posted by The Whelk to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 


I have the same problem - US-centric brands seem to emulate the more prevalent American body type - wide through the middle, through the thighs and seat. It's hit and miss anywhere, but occasionally I've done okay at a Century 21-type store where they have a wide selection of brands.

I've eventually just invested in tailored clothing - you're in NYC, so a whole cast of bespoke tailors come to town and will custom cut clothes for you for relatively cheap. I average around $70/shirt and they fit me specifically which saves me a boatload of time trying things on.

I also really love Suit Supply on Broome - the off-the-rack stuff often fits pretty well and light alterations don't cost a fortune. They do slacks and shirts as well.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 7:14 AM on March 3, 2013


Oh I tailor stuff all the time. My old tailor was on my Christmas Card list, I was wondering why I have to do so much *less* to UK off the rack stuff.... although I hadn't heard of Suit Supply before.
posted by The Whelk at 7:22 AM on March 3, 2013


There are fairly strong opinions on this question :

"And of course, everything is ill fitting. I think the concept of tailoring has completely escaped North Americans. Mens pants are always too baggy. Naturally, American men refer to European style trousers as ‘gay’ because they are what they consider to be ‘tight’. In actuality, those are how your trousers are meant to fit."
- Europeans Dress Better Than Americans (Part 2)

There are large variations in exercise habits and diet around Europe, along with some genetic differences, which create national body types that designers presumably cater to. American national chain designers must presumably satisfy a wider variety of body types, which imposes compromises. Do you look like some Englishmen?

Just fyi, I've lived around Europe for seven years but never found shoes nearly as comfortable as Consumer Report's podiatrists find in the U.S., like SAS. American shoe companies do occasionally get bought out and turned shitty though, as happened to Rockport. Are there good shoe companies in Europe? Presumably, but Italians saying shit like "You must suffer to be beautiful" does not inspire confidence.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:35 AM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Its partly body-types and allowable fashion. You need to look for branded "fit cut" shirts in the U.S. or go to stores which sell more tight cut clothes otherwise everything is box cut and droopy because most men expect their clothes to look like that.

For example, I couldn't get anything to fit me in Spain as males apparently have no shoulders there, and now I hate going into Zara (a spanish brand) because nothing will fit me right in the shoulders.

This is less of a problem in some branded stores (say Banana Republic and up), but more of one in department stores.
posted by stratastar at 12:14 PM on March 3, 2013


I don't know about actual shirts, but I know that t-shirts I've bought from the US are a tube of material (plus sleeves), whereas anything I've bought elsewhere is two pieces, a front and a back, with a seam running down from the armpit.
posted by Diag at 12:21 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


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