That information comes from Edward Gribbin, president of the clothing size and fit consulting firm Alvanon.
company has body-scanned over 400,000 people across the world and has access to sales-by-size figures for major U.S. retailers.
"Of the guys who actually have a waist close to the average (between, say, 38 to 40 inches), the highest percentage buy size 34 pants (close to 55 percent), followed by size 36 (about 35 percent).
Only a very small percentage buy size 38," he
explained in an email.
Where does the major discrepancy come from?
A few places.
For one, "vanity sizing" - where the actual size of a garment is bigger than advertised in an effort to flatter you - is not just for women anymore.
says the waist measurement in a man's pant is generally 1.5 to 2 inches larger than the stated size. (Or up to 5 inches, if you're shopping at Old Navy.)
Secondly, guys with a waist bigger than 35 to 36 inches tend to have a prominent belly, Gribbin
The more it sticks out, the lower men wear their pants.
"They can wear a smaller size, and though the belly hanging over is not the most attractive sight, most men don't care," Gribbin
Finally, there may be a certain amount of stubbornness at play.
says men don't intentionally "buy a smaller size for reasons of vanity" - they just continue to grab the size that they've always bought.
"They are more creatures of habit, and if they wore size 34 as a younger man, they just continue to buy that size ('their size') even after they've gained 10, 15, 20 pounds," he