The undergraduates of UC San Diego are many things — raccoon-lovers, pre-med students, Boba-fanatics, etc. However, after observing myself and other fellow Tritons, the one thing Tritons are often not is very large in stature. With so many students on campus wearing sizes smaller than a men’s size small, Triton Outfitters’ failure to offer smaller size options prevent customers from sporting its attire while also reducing the size of its wallet.
Currently, the smallest clothing size that Triton Outfitters offers is a men’s (“unisex”) small: chest size 34-36 inches and waist size 30-32 inches.Triton Outfitters also offers “unisex” sizing up to an XL. For a rather small female like myself, this means that if I purchased an item that somewhat fit from Triton Outfitters, it would be at least 4 inches too big in the chest and at least 6 inches too large in the waist. Clearly, even shrinking it would not make it fit appropriately. Additionally, most people are unlikely to spend at least $20 on a shirt that does not fit in a remotely flattering way. Triton Outfitters’ lack of sizing options leaves smaller individuals — disproportionately the many women on this campus who wear a women’s size small (about a men’s size extra small) — with the choice of having to forgo Triton Outfitters attire entirely or with having to invest in thigh-high boots to pull off an Ariana Grande look with their oversized T.O. gear.
Because the iconic Triton Outfitters brand intends to “[embody] campus culture,” there is little financial logic in stopping at a man’s small. Not catering to individuals that wear below this size matters because this excludes a sizable portion of the campus from being able to wear the clothing to feel a sense of belonging to the community. Numerous psychological studies have shown that attire is closely connected to identity; it signals to others what group we are a part of and assists others in making judgments about us. Relatedly, our choice of dress also shapes our behavior. Hence, wearing Triton Outfitters gear allows individuals to partake in the “hip UCSD student identity” that Triton Outfitters exudes and markets. Overall, Triton Outfitters’ choice not to release a men’s extra-small/women’s small size leaves a substantial number of people on campus unable (or even wanting) to show their connection to campus and identity through its gear.
While it’s hard to say exactly how much of a demand there is for a men’s extra-small/women’s small at UCSD, several observations suggest offering the size should be financially salient enough for Triton Outfitters. For example, to investigate this, the UCSD Guardian put out a survey to UCSD undergraduates that garnered 69 respondents. Of the respondents, 24.6 percent of them said they prefer to wear a unisex/men’s XS or XXS. While this survey is not nearly as representative as it could be, it does corroborate general observations of the stature of individuals on campus as well as common sense; surely a sizable portion of young men and women wear a men’s extra-small or women’s small on such a large campus.
At this point, readers may rightfully question why Triton Outfitters does not offer even more inclusive sizes than what I’ve advocated for here. After all, once one acknowledges the role that clothing plays in identity expression, formation, and UCSD campus culture, it’s difficult to condone Triton Outfitters’ limited sizing. Even with the addition of a “unisex” XS, many other students will still not fit the sizes offered. The excuses for Triton Outfitters to not offer more inclusive sizing become even more precarious considering that Triton Outfitters is funded and overseen by A.S. Council, an elected student body that runs on compulsory student fees and is meant to make all undergraduates feel connected to this campus. Unfortunately, real inclusive sizing will likely not happen soon because Triton Outfitters needs to make money. Offering a men’s XXS or a Men’s 2XL would not generate the same revenue as a men’s XS/women’s small would and therefore not financially justify offering it.
Unfortunately for me, at the end of the day, the financial rationale makes sense: Triton Outfitters has an obligation to remain financially self-sustaining. Creating things that will not sell, and needing to be saved by A.S. Council, drains student financial resources that could go to more useful places. With these considerations in mind, Triton Outfitters should at least offer a men’s extra-small/women’s small option because it would likely justify its cost and let more individuals partake in the brand than are currently able to. At the same time, Triton Outfitters should continue trying to “break things better” to create a business model that allows them to be more inclusive, and hopefully soon, because your girl really wants to buy the Triton Sherpa in a size that fits.