Adele Saidy, owner of Adele’s of Hollywood, has been designing custom Santa suits for St. Nick stand-ins all over the world for more than four decades. She’s seen some big changes to the seasonal costumes.
“They are getting larger and larger,” she said. “Last year and this year, 25 percent of my Santas — oh, I don’t want to say it — they are really overweight.”
When Adele started out, the roomiest Santa suit she sold was designed to fit someone who weighed between 200 and 275 pounds with a girth of about 50 inches. Now, she notes, very few of her customers need any extra padding to pull off the fat and jolly look.
The largest size she made this season fits someone who is 300 to 425 pounds and up to a 76 inch girth. She filled six such supersized orders.
Other Santa suit sellers are noticing the same trend.
In 1996, the biggest outfit sold at Santasuits.com was 2X, and sales of oversized suits accounted for just 12 percent of business. Today, the company offers a 4X, and plus-sized outfits are a third of their business. An original 1948 pattern owned by Western Staff Services Company in California has expanded inch by inch until it now accommodates a St. Nick who exceeds 300 pounds and a 50-inch beltline.
Santa Suit Express, based in Loraine, Ohio, doesn’t even bother catering to slender Santas anymore.
“We sell thousands of Santa suits a year, and we don’t get too many requests for the smaller sizes,” noted Aimee Gibson, the company’s customer service happiness manager. “Only a few skinnier Santas have called to complain.”
Santa Suit Express’ smallest size is a 42. The professional, their biggest suit, can be purchased in a size 70, or XXXL.
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