Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Not so much of a shopping trip, more a quest

Women are all sorts of sizes and shapes. And most clothes shops are parts of national or international chains, and shapes and sizes vary even more from country to country. So I shouldn't be annoyed to find that one has to shop for clothes quite carefully. However, it would be so much more helpful if all the clothes manufacturers did actually use the same sizing system. I'm not particularly fat (nor at all skinny, either), and of average height (about 5 foot 6 in old money), yet can I find trousers to fit me? Can I heck. One problem, I suppose, is that I rarely wear high heels, so I tend to find all trousers rather long in the leg. The solution to this, taking the hems up, I would do for expensive clothes, because at least the effort involved in the sewing is balanced by the cost of the clothes - but I don't feel inclined to do this for cheaper trousers. This means that my favoured high street shops (H&M, Zara) have been dropped from my list of trouser emporia, and I'm reduced to going to Next. Next at least seem to make clothes for real women, as opposed to skinny 15-year-old girls or stick-thin celebrity-wannabes. A new shop has opened close to my office, so I went in last week to have a look at the selection on offer. I should add that I was looking for work clothes - so, smart casual black, brown or blue trousers.

The selection was actually quite wide, so when I'd discarded those that looked wrong, those that were made out of vile artificial fabric, and those that weren't my size (14 regular), I had seven pairs to try on. Taking my pile of trousers into the changing room wasn't a great feat, as there were hardly any staff around, and no-one on duty at the entrance to the cubicles. Of the seven pairs I tried on, two fit me, being not too snug on hips and thighs, and not too baggy on the waist. And even then I have to wear heels with them (luckily my 2-inch block heeled Joan Halpern boots are high enough).

I feel really sorry for the short women around: how do they manage?


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