Have you noticed lately that a lot of men’s shirts seem to be called “slim fit”? I bet you even own a few. Somebody has to own them because they’re everywhere. And just recently, I’ve been baffled by this new category of shirts — EXTRA slim. What the heck does that mean? What makes it extra slim? Is that like extra skinny? As if trying to squeeze into the standard slim-fit clothes was not enough of a struggle, now we have to suck in that gut and wear an extra-slim shirt and pants, in order to be fashionably fit.

And who is wearing all these slim shirts? Last time I checked we had an obesity epidemic. So how is everyone now slim? According to fashion trends, five years ago, 60 percent of clothes were regular fitted and 4 percent were slim fitted. Flip it around to today and 40 percent are regular, 50 percent are slim, and 10 percent are now EXTRA slim. Calvin Klein even introduced a line called Extreme Slim Fit. Wow! Does this mean we are slimmer than we were five years ago? I don’t think that’s the case because the last time I checked 70 percent of American adults are overweight.

You’re probably thinking “what’s the big deal about wearing too tight a shirt? Well, it’s not that simple. The problem with this burgeoning slim fit (and now extra-slim fit) is that it promotes the idea that one is at a healthy weight. After all, how can you be fat and need to lose weight if you fit in slim-fit clothes? Just because you fit (or think you do) into a slim-fit shirt does not mean you are slim, fit or in a healthy weight range. Let us be honest to ourselves — fitting into slim-fit clothes is not a strong claim to being healthy. If your clothes don’t fit as they should, it may be time to re-evaluate your body image and make the appropriate changes — with both your closet and your diet. Even if you do fit comfortably into your clothes, it is important to remember that your doctor, not Calvin Klein or Macy’s, should be the one telling you about your weight and your health.

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