Monday, 4 February 2008

A Cry From The Wardrobe

It's a commonly held belief that women should suffer for fashion and be happy to. But why? How is fashion worth it when so much is badly designed, poorly sewn, in cheap, nastily printed fabrics, overpriced for what it is, and worse still, does us no favours in terms of enhancing us to our best advantage, let alone making us feel a million dollars?

Oh for knickers that bore some semblance to the shape of the female bottom (spare me boy pants, mummy pants, control pants (sinister or what?), saggy French cami-knickers, cheese wires, bizarre shaped bits of net, skimpy tangas, or frankly pointless, crotchless).

How I yearn for the invention of bras that fit the female bosom, look drop-dead gorgeous and give 100% all-round support to those with a natural bust, without recourse to pantomime padding, silicone saucers, bones, wires or weird plunge shapes that make me look deformed. Or narrow straps that dig into my shoulders but don't do much else. Oh and preferably in my size please without assuming I have a whale-width back (it's 32" wide, not 34-54", and I speak as a well-built girl, so goodness knows what the more petite female is wearing!)

The absolute heaven it would be to find graceful shoes shaped to fit the female foot (my feet being neither hammer-toed nor excessively pointy last time I looked!) with hard-wearing non-slip kitten heels to add just the right amount of sexiness without sentence of the joy of bunions, varicose veins and endless chiropodist visits in later life. Shoes are surely meant to fit the foot, not the foot jammed in and modified to fit its tyrannical shoe!

And what about permission for girls to possess shoulders, legs longer than 31" and slightly longer than three-quarter length arms? Currently I have to buy Size 16 jackets, rather than my actual Size 12 to get the arm length, so jacket torsos always hang like a sack of potatoes on me. Though why manufacturers should assume size 16-ers have longer arms just because they are wider is a mystery! As for longer trousers, I have only just stopped wearing mens', but am very tempted to revert, so awful are most womens'.

Universal standard sizing among shops would also be a major plus. We all know there is no such thing as a size zero in reality, so why pretend we take up less space than we really do (and whose perverse idea is it that we females are supposed to take up as little space in this world as possible?). It is crazy that you can walk into one shop and be a size 10 and another and find you are suddenly a 14!

Men would never put up with this fashion fascism dressed up as limitless 'choice', or pretend to be sizes they are not and expect manufacturers to play along. Why do we? Perhaps I am unusual among my contemporaries in that I would rather own half a dozen classy outfits with lots of funky accessories to mix & match than a wardrobe full of unsatisfactory rubbish made by child slaves in the third world. Notwithstanding, and despite my best efforts, unsatisfactory rubbish - probably child slave sewn - seems to be exactly what I've ended up with! As soon as I can afford it, I’ll definitely start having my clothes made. In Britain.

As for 'One Size Fits All ' - surely one of the biggest lies of all.

Thus ends my pants rant. A well-worn theme I know. Which is more than can be said for the subject!

12/02/08 Update: Just found this article in today's Daily Mail by Olinka Koster. Perhaps someone is listening after all.

Fashion industry admits what shoppers already knew: They don't make clothes to fit REAL women


Reluctant Blogger said...

Oooh this is one of favourite little hobby horses. I can rant on about this for hours!!

But yes I agree with pretty well all you say. I loathe clothes shopping and yet to buy anything these days you have to try things on - and as you say in about 3 sizes and it takes ages.

I am tall like you and have an impossibly small waist so finding trousers or skirts to fit is useless- they are all designed for people with rather more round their middles than I have. And tops? Well, like you I am forever tugging at my sleeves to make them reach my wrists and if you buy a small size then you not only have that problem but also they seem to be designed for people with no cleavage whatsover. If I buy a big size I look as if I have borrowed my father's clothes and it is hardly smart or sexy.

I have less trouble with underwear and shoes mostly because I just buy the same stuff or don't bother to wear any.

But the sizing issue on clothes is very tiresome. Sizes have got bigger in most shops but not all - my old clothes which are size 10/12 are the same size as my new ones which are size 6/8.

And no, men would not put up with it. I guess they would just stop buying clothes altogether, wouldn't they? The boys' father only buys things when he absolutely has to and most of the clothes he wears are presents from his mother who probably fears he would otherwise wander around either naked or in rags!

Rol Hirst said...

I have zero fashion sense, but I still get frustrated by clothes shops.

I'd kill for a simple black polo neck jumper to replace the one I wore when I was younger until it was mothfood held together by string, but because some fashionista has decided they're "out", I can't get one for love or money.

Steve said...

My wife buys most of my clothes. Mostly because, on my own, I make such terrible choices. I'm a fashion retard.

As for underwear that resembled the wearer... hmm. Might work for you women but can you imagine pants that were a perefectly molded fit for a man...? Doesn't bear thinking about.

Tarzan had the right idea in my book. ;-)

The Sagittarian said...

I could send you the bits I have to chop off jeans and trousers (being vertically challenged, you could then add them to your sleeves - voila! global recycling just like that!!

I'm with Reluctant on the knickers and shoes side of things...and Rol, I'll keep an eye out for that poloneck thingy whatsit; it's probably still in fashion here somewhere!!

Rosa said...

Here here. I agree with you. My hub works in the textile/fabric industry and says over and over, men would never put up with what we settle and PAY for. What's the deal then? Women should stand up. But we won't. Being of the plus size variety, it's even tougher. Just because I'm fat doesn't mean I'm tall (at 5'4, quite the opposite). What to do, what to do. Great post! Grrrrrrrrr.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

How reassuring to know we all have our fashion frustrations! I actually went to dressmaking classes for three years at my local FE College and every last one of my classmates had horrendous problems finding clothes to fit. Sadly I discovered I had no talent whatsoever for making my own clothes and still have half a cartoon-stitched dress lurking in a box somewhere.

Steve, I'm afraid I share Mrs Bloggertropolis''No unaccompanied shopping' rule re my own partner as he invariably manages to come back, not just looking like a chav but in faulty/wrong-sized clothes that either need chucking or taking straight back - depending on whether or not he's kept the receipt.

And he used to be such a snappy dresser too - he can't explain what happened either! But I'd better shut up, he reads this blog and may not care for the world to know his darkest closet secret!

Agreed Rosa. The fashion industry has held us to ransom long enough -it's OUR turn to hit them with a picket. Or a Prada handbag! Wearing our shoes and underpants with RB - loud and proud!

Good luck finding the black polo neck Rol - I'd no idea they'd become such a rarity - perhaps someone needs to open a poet's 'n' writers clothing shop selling everything Byronic and Oscarish for the boho + cords and polo neck jumpers for the Lucky Jim-inspired.

Lady Language said...

Lovely post. I work in the fashion industry and do some buying for the store and it is pure Hell. Not only trying to find stuff that is affordable and of decent quality, but like you said, not made by slave labor and is proportional. Don't even get me started on undergarments - I wish I could go bra less, but after nursing two children for a total of 3.5 years, it is clearly not an option. I think it is a great idea to have timeless pieces sewn for you as they will last a lifetime with proper care. I made a New Year's resolution to get out my sewing machine and it is still collecting dust in the basement :)

Professor J said...

I'm one of those wider girls, so I always have to roll up or tailor my sleeves.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

A few years ago it was mooted that machines would come along which we stepped inside and they would scan us for our exact measurements. Clothes would then be made to order once we selected our chosen fabric, though presumably this would not be as straightforward as print-on-demand books or T-shirts!
Does anyone know if this ever happened in Berlin or NY, where I believe it was to be trialled?