Shrink Ray Hits JCPenney Clothing Now, Too?

Kyle just wrote to us that the 36″ sleeve on a Large Tall sweatshirt from JCPenney has been reduced to 35″. It’s not just a manufacturing accident, because the new length is printed in the retailer’s sizing charts. But Kyle says for years he’s had no problem with JCPenney shirts, and that this all started happening within the past year or so.

Well, the Grocery Shrink Ray has turned its sights onto a target-rich environment: clothing. Recently I discovered JCPenney shrank one of the sizing standards in their Tall sizes.

Over the past year or so I’ve noticed the sleeves of some of my shirts and such were a little short, by an inch or so. I attributed it to being married to someone who’s 14″ shorter than me and who hasn’t ever had to be paranoid about sleeve shrinkage when doing laundry. But recently I ordered a Large Tall microfleece sweatshirt from, and tried it on right out of the shipping envelope—and the sleeves were at least an inch too short for my 36″ arms.

So for the first time in I-don’t-know-how-long, I looked up JCPenney’s sizing charts, and discovered Large Tall is a 35″ sleeve length. For as long as I have shopped JCPenney’s Tall sizes it has been 36″, and Large Tall is a 36″ sleeve at every other tall-size retailer I’ve checked (Land’s End, L.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer, Rochester Big & Tall, Westport Big & Tall, Casual Male Big & Tall, Sears…). But sometime in the past year or two JCPenney changed the sizing standards and didn’t bother to tell their customers they were doing so.

Yes, yes: the Extra Large Tall has a 36″ sleeve, but then the body of the shirt or sweater or whatever would reach to the middle of my thighs— a bad enough look on teenage girls in the 1980s; a frightening look on a 45-year-old man today. I’m a proportionally-shaped 6′ 4″ man; I don’t need Big & Tall, I need Tall, and I need it realistically-sized, not built for someone who’s 300 pounds or with stunted arms or legs.

I wrote a letter to Steven Lawrence, Exec. VP of Men’s Clothing (among other titles) for JCPenney, asking for the company to change their sizing back to what it was and would be happy to share any reply I get with

Has anyone else noticed a measurable change in clothing sizing?

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