Fat Art & Lane Bryant: Why do your shirts shrink so damn much?

Tonight the hubby and I ventured a few towns over to the public library for a free demonstration on Imaginary Landscapes.  While the “demonstration” was less that and more “Here are some fake trees.  Draw them!” Adam D and I did have a lot of fun being out and about and social with other kind human beings.  It was also nice to be in a very warm room on this below-freezing evening!

Imaginary Landscape

To me it doesn't get much more imaginary than lava pouring into a glacial mountain range and a goat eating next to a wee bridge...

On the other topic, holy frick Lane Bryant!  I mean, I KNOW the label says to wash in cold and tumble dry on low; so I will take the blame on this for now (but you better believe I’ll be checking on this again after a few months of washing the new shirts as directed). I am guilty of being a “Yeah, just throw it all into the washer on warm, tumble-dry on high heat.  Whatevs.” I will be changing this practice in the future for my favorite shirts though because I’ve noticed a disturbing fact.

My friends, I love the Suprima polo shirts from LB. They are comfy, soft, the sleeves a perfect length and (when on sale) nicely priced.  I’ve quite a few now.  However, I started to feel lately that these shirts were riding up higher and higher; that I was beginning to act all Next Generation Star Trek on my wardrobe all the time.  I wondered if I was gaining girth?  But no, my pants are all fitting the same, and not just elastic waistbands but jeans too.  Bras fit the same, t-shirts too.  Just these formerly awesome shirts were giving me that shrinking feeling; like I had eaten the “Grow” cake from Alice in Wonderland and was somehow stretching taller*…

Curiosity turned to a quick photo-evidencing moment when I just received in the mail my recent holiday order (yay for gift cards!!) with another new polo.  I laid them side by side to compare.  WTF; just….just LOOK.  (In case you can’t tell, the blue one is the new one).  Bear in mind that the pink shirt is only (at most) a year older than the blue one:


These shirts are the same 18/20 size. The Pink has just, apparently, been through FAR too many warm water washes and high-heat drying-cycles.

These are not just a little different.  Not a SMIDGEN of shrink.  This is INCHES of shrinkage.  I know I must bow my head and acknowledge fault for mis-understanding that basic polo shirts would need to be specially washed in cold water and lovingly tumble-dried on low-heat.  However, that is a LOT of shrink for a simple, 100% cotton shirt to have, no? Is “Suprima Cotton” made from high-shrink wool??

So I guess my two new shirts (and all the older ones) will be now washed carefully as though they are being slammed down a frozen mountain stream and then whipped dry in the arctic air to prevent their delicate natures from being unbalanced and shrunken from…over-heating.

*Direct quote from Alice in Wonderland about this scene of Alice eating the wee cake: “she was quite surprised to find that she remained the same size: to be sure, this generally happens when one eats cake”.  Yes.  That IS generally what happens: nothing.  Yet to convince some folks of this is, for some reason, more fantasy than Alice’s world ever could be.


16 thoughts on “Fat Art & Lane Bryant: Why do your shirts shrink so damn much?

  1. Even when washed as per directions, they shrink length-wise. I find it extremely annoying. I am 5’8 with a long torso, so they are barely long enough when I buy them, let alone after they’ve been washed. I hate it.

  2. I don’t have any experience with LB stuff, but I now wash all my clothing in cold water and dry on low heat. I’ve ‘lost’ too many outfits to creeping shrinkage. 😦

  3. I have had this happen many many times to me. For years I have been hanging my shirts to dry to prevent shrinkage. I also have a long torso and am 5’10”. My choices are limited in shirts because I will only buy ones that measure 32 inches, unless they are tank tops/camisoles used for layering. Even though I hang dry all my tops, I STILL have the occasional shirt that will stretch width-wise and shrink in length. As I recall, suprima cotton shirts are the main ones that DO shrink. It’s a pain in the ass hanging my shirts around the house or on one of those folding clothes dryers, but it’s the only thing I have found that prevents shrinkage. You might want to try hanging your older shirt to see if it stretches in length. 🙂

    • Regina T I think you’re right and I’m going to have to consider where in the house I can hang a bunch of shirts to dry. Maybe this weekend I’ll pick up a folding drying rack thing.

  4. While I can’t speak to these shirts in particular, I have found this to be a disturbing trend across many brands of knit tshirts and polo shirts. I’ve lost way too many shirts to shrinkage (and no, I am NOT getting any taller), but I’ve never had evidence quite as conclusive as your picture above!

    (I live in a very dry climate so I often take them out of the dryer when they’re still ever so slightly damp just as extra insurance. This would be a recipe for mildew in some climates I’ve lived in, but I can get away with it.)

  5. OHMIGOD I have that exact same shirt! (The blue one.) And I love it! It looks like light reflecting in a swimming pool. (No danger of shrinkage since my washer doesn’t even have hot water, nor do I have a dryer. And when I lived in a building with a coin-operated one, it never got anything dry anyway.)

    Since you have the same shirt as me (and in the same size too) and also made a Star Trek reference, I will conclude that you are a version of me with glasses and shorter curlier hair.

    • Meerkat I’m loving that blue color too! ^.^ It made me think of the inside of a glittery glacier but that might just be the below freezing temps talking 😉 And I totally must be a glasses-having shorter-hair-having meerkat 😉 I tried to find a video showing a bunch of those shirt-tugging moments from TNG but to no quick avail last night so I’m considering making one on my own at some point!

  6. Yup – hanging these items up to dry is the way to go. Stumbled onto this a few years ago when I wondered why a couple of VERY pricey polo shirts kept shrinking.

    A hint: simplest place for hanging is on the shower curtain rod. I keep smooth plastic hangers just for this purpose, and slip the garments onto them right out of the washer. Smooth the shirts down, then hang. If they haven’t dried by the next morning, simply stick them on a towel bar whilst you shower, and replace them when you’re done. They will hold their length AND their color for a much longer time. Once they’ve dried, you can leave them on the hangers or fold them into a drawer, knowing all the while that you’ve beaten back the Incredible Shrinking Effect.

  7. Carol made me think of another tidbit I didn’t tell you. First, I always was my shirts on Permanent Press (which is Casual Wear on my machine). This keeps the wrinkles down to a minimum, but they are still there. Secondly, if the wrinkles are bad enough, I throw them into the dryer for 10 minutes on high heat. This warms the fabric enough to allow the hanging to be effective, otherwise you WILL be ironing—-and I DESPISE ironing!
    Yes, all of this is more work than it should be, especially since the manufacturer should be able to assure that if you follow the garment’s instructions there will be little to no shrinkage. But I’m not made of money, and am not the kind of person who likes to throw away clothes after the first wash (who is?), so it’s a necessary evil.

  8. It’s terrible. I’m 5’9 and long-waisted already, I don’t need shirts that are already a little too short length-wise shrinking up after washing and drying! This is why I hang or lay flat my tops I know will shrink in the dryer.

  9. Not that LB clothing is ever cut the same to begin with– many times I have made the mistake of saying “Oh I like this shirt! I will buy a few in different colors” without trying the other colors on, and they’re wildly different!

    • G: luckily I’ve not run into that issue but here’s to hoping I don’t. I think the shrinkage is bad enough so far. Looks like I’m just going to have to suck it up, so to speak, and hang/lay flat my shirts now. I hate when laundry becomes even more of a chore. 😦

  10. I have been told that the reason knit shirts and such vary in size, same brand and style, is because the manufacturers stack up the fabric into a great pile and cut it all at the same time with a power cutter. Because of this the lower most fabric is pressed down and out, so when cutting the stack they do not all come out exactly the same. Short of trying each one on, you can just compare to the one you tried on. You can tell which ones fit best this way.

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