Saturday, April 10, 2010

As I’m not in complete denial about the fact that my waist has been pushing the winter boundaries a little, I’ve been trying to buy jeans.

We’ve all done it. We all know how almost utterly impossible it is to buy jeans that actually fit, being, as they are, designed only for people with washboard stomachs, short legs and no arse. Or for people with the sartorial elegance of a moose.

And it’s not just jeans. Trousers; clothing with legs in general seems to be a problem.

I’d heard over recent years that the fashion industry was going through a 21st Century re-defining and standardisation of body shapes to reflect the way we have changed over the past 50 years or so when, I'm lead to believe, the last piece of in-depth research was carried out and sizing standardised.

As you can imagine, a lot has changed in 50 or 60 years, not least the increase in calorie intake post war, the popularisation of motorised public transport, long working commutes to offices instead of fields and the birth of the PS/Xbox generation.

There have been some changes for the better of course. So many different fashion options are available and acceptable to all (ok, perhaps not acceptable but people wear them anyway…), fabric development means we don’t have to wear only wool or linen; we can go outside in all weathers without having to worry about getting our outer (or inner) wear clean and dry afterwards and, for the most part, if we get a muddy mark on the bottom of our trousers, well, we just throw on a new pair and wait for the house-elves to clean and iron the ‘dirty’ ones and return them to the wardrobe, ready to be muddied again.

But I digress.

It’s mostly about the sizing.

Apart from the odd wonderful anomaly, where fabric patterns were cut a little to the outside, I’m a UK14. That’s the size of most real women I know; women who live, breath, exercise a little and, more importantly, eat.

So, back to the jeans.

I can’t get any. Ok, maybe I could get some, but only in the next size, the size that I don’t want to admit to, even if it isn’t my fault and is entirely due to the fabric patterns being cut a little to the inside.

Last Monday I went shopping. Being a fan of expensive clothing and accessories (who isn’t?) that I can’t ever afford in the real world, I shop in outlets. This means I can have the expensive items I like that (pretty much) always look fantastic and last for years (or until I get bored of them…). And they have jeans.
Biting the bullet and because they were fabulous jeans, I picked up a pair in the size that I don’t want to mention and took them to try.

And they didn’t fit. They didn’t fit to the extent that I could probably have dragged one or both of my boys into the changing room and fitted them down one leg as well.

On the one hand, it made me feel really good – I don’t have to start expanding my wardrobe with expanded waisted clothing, but still I can’t find any that fit. Being an outlet, they only stock the odd, real woman sized item, the rest being an assortment of pieces that would more properly fit pre teen children.
Perhaps this is why rich people can quite happily proclaim to be sooo tiny but still eat like real women (ok, we know that most of them don’t actually eat like real women, they just nibble, but they do, at least, eat).

In an industry wide, social hypnotic experiment, women (and probably men?) are led to believe that they’re one or two sizes smaller than they really are.

But only if they can afford the smaller labels that go with it.

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