The size of people and the size of T-shirts at tourist stops

We often see and read of overweight and obesity. On a recent brief vacation I stopped at gift shops and looked at T-shirts. There were very few 3XL T-shirts at popular tourist stops to and in Yellowstone and SLC.

Are they all sold out? Do the buyers for the shops not see what we see? Do they all work for Weightwatchers or Jenny Craig? I do see big people wearing T-shirts. I’m just curious. What do you think is happening?

I saw clothes at Walmart that were either S or XXL/XXXL etc. It seems to me that a) lots of smalls because it doesn’t sell and few people wear such an extreme size - in Walmart or anywhere, and b) lots of XXL because they need more of those.

On the other hand, a sweatshirt marked S at Cal Bear’s memorial stadium was about the size of an XL. It said preshrunk and didn’t shrink much I don’t think. I’d hate to see what their XL is.

Sometimes it depends on the brand. Nike shirts are huge (T-shirts as well as polo type shirts).

Over exaggerate much? Yeah, people are bigger now than they were twenty years ago … but I’d hardly call small an “extreme size.”

You are correct, it should be XXXTREMELY small to warrant that moniker!

Speaking as someone who’s had to order shirts to sell at an event, I’d say that they’re probably pretty conservative about ordering sizes at either end of the spectrum. While there is a demand for 3X sizes, it’s not nearly the demand you get for XL or L. And they cost more, at the wholesale as well as the retail level, so you don’t want to have a bunch of them on your hands at the end of the day (season). I’d always order some of the largest (and smallest) sizes, but I was more likely to order extras in L or XL, because those were our best sellers.

J’m really bumming out about the vanity sizing. I throw a party where the winner gets a sweatshirt, and contestants have the option to buy a t-shirt if they want one. It’s been going on for 23 years now. I used to be fatter and could sort of wear an XL if I had to. I’ve lost a bit of weight and last year’s size L sweatshirts were swimming on me. This year one of my fatter friends is coming and he takes a XXXL. That means I need to probably stock every size from M to XXXL just in case. I’m probably not going to get the Mediums, but that’s the size I’m sure that would probably fit me.

If you’re only looking in gift shops, it seems likely that the very large shirts wouldn’t be in as much demand as the middle-sized ones. There aren’t many people who wear sizes larger than 2x in the first place. Also, locals don’t patronize gift shops, so their clientele is comprised of travelers. And I would think that very large people (who are more likely to have mobility issues) travel less than smaller people do.

Anecdotally, I’m pretty fat myself & so prefer to minimize extraneous travel. I have flown in the past, but I was smaller then. These days, I would worry about having to ask for a seatbelt extender, or the possibility of being asked to pay for an extra seat (which I positively could not afford). Even just inconveniencing the person sitting next to me makes me feel guilty enough to avoid air travel, because nobody wants to sit next to the fat person on an airplane.

Also, have you SEEN those t-shirts? Tissue-thin :wink:

I have the opposite problem, I find that tourist t-shirts are too small for me…and I’m 105 lbs. I have to buy a “medium” or sometimes even a “large” for it to fit. And no I’m not accidentally looking at kid’s shirts. I have a tank top from Venice that is “large” and it fits a little tight.

Are you a girl? I have found the same thing. Last time I was looking for a t-shirt, everything in my closet was a large and the x-larges were a little tight on me.

Extreme meaning “at the extremes” meaning the bare minimum that they make, just as the maximum is often the same in stores (XXL? No clue), except for Big and Talls. Not as in out of the ordinary.

And yes, I don’t think as many adult males wear S, when compared to M, L, XL. The number is not negligible, but comparatively small.

I’d imagine some large people don’t associate clothing shopping with fun, and are more likely to pick up a snowglobe than a tee shirt. The people who buy tourist tee shirts are also going to skew young- high schoolers and college students have more opportunities where a tee-shirt is appropriate attire.

Yes. I was so sad when my “small” Hard Rock Cafe shirts didn’t fit me and the “medium” stretchy ones were too big. Now I know to buy small for the stretchy ones and medium for the cotton ones. It’s still a crapshoot with other tourist t-shirts though, and that’s pretty much my entire wardrobe, LOL.

Working in retail, I’ve actually noticed that over the past 5 years what constitutes small, medium, and large has changed drastically. I get a 20% discount at the particular department store that I work at, but can no longer purchase clothes (mainly shirts) there because in order, a size small has become the medium of a few years ago, a medium fits more like a large, a large fits like an extra large and so on. Even dress shirts are a problem because I wear a 15.5" 32-33 and they do not carry anything smaller than a 16" 34-35! I am kind of small but I’m in good shape. Even as recent as two years ago I had no problem finding shirts that fit me properly in any store that I went into. I’ve seen this phenomenon not only in my department stores but many others. My theory is that as the people of the United States get fatter and fatter, manufacturers of clothing have decided to change the standards of their sizes in order to psychologically allow people to save face. If someone has always bought a size large T-shirt, and suddenly they need an XL, they may feel badly about it. More than likely though, they would probably blame the brand and start buying something else, which I’m sure is probably more the story rather than the saving face thing. Either way, it’s direct evidence (though admittedly anecdotal) that this obesity thing is a real epidemic and needs to be stopped. It’s as if people think “well, forget about doing the rational thing and losing weight, let’s just change the norm.” It’s as bad as these + size women (and I’m not referring to what the modeling industry considers plus size, AKA a state of being that I like to call healthy and fit!) parading around claiming to be proud of being big and beautiful or whatever lie they’re selling themselves. You’re not ‘curvy’ you’re obese, curvy is something that you’re born with and eventually fill into, not something you manufacture by eating too many calories.

Because hating themselves would be much more productive. :rolleyes:
At any rate, I came into this thread to say that at Origins Game Fair in Columbus their ‘official’ t-shirts went up to 5x and many of the shirt vendors had at least some designs going up to 5x and quite a few as large as 3x.

I am pretty humongous. I’m way past the BMI “obese” am 5’8" and I wear a 2X. At my top weight I am uncomfortable in a 2X but for the most part they fit just fine. Plus I’m a woman so I have to fit a chest in there with my belly.

“Only” 30% of the population is obese. That is less than half. Then a lot of those people are obese for their height but still can fit in a L or XL. A fairly round 5’2" woman would do fine in XL. Most of us at the higher end are going to fit in to 2XL. There will be a small faction of obese folks who both wear 3XL and an even smaller faction of those folks are going to be shopping at any given t-shirt stand. Not because really fat people don’t vacation, it’s just a small faction of any population is going to be at any t-shirt stand.

So I’d say maybe, MAYBE 5% of the total population wears a 3X or higher. And then when it comes to choosing sizes, your 4x and 5x folks aren’t going to be buying 3X shirts either.

So really, how big is the market for 3X shirts?

Nobody needs a vacation t-shirt. You can’t even really find 3X shirts at Target. There’s just not a huge market for them (pun!)

The western states in general and national parks in particular tend to attract fitter-than-average tourists. Utah has the 5th lowest obesity rate in the US, and all the states bordering it are fitter than the national average. I can easily imagine that obese tourists would pick less challenging destinations than Yellowstone.

What size shirts are sold in Branson and Las Vegas? :wink:

You may have a point: even though Yellowstone had the least experienced tourists of any park I’ve went to already, I didn’t see any very large people. Just two different parties that remarked that the river and wilderness reminded them of Deliverance (!) and two parties that asked me how far to Fairy Falls even though it was less than a 2 mile hike and they were halfway there already.

[quote=“ZipperJJ, post:16, topic:627638”]

Nobody needs a vacation t-shirt.


I do.

Well, if you’re having problems finding one to fit you, perhaps you need to start vacationing at game fairs and comic-cons?