Why size matters in the rag trade

John Ward
John Ward
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WARD’S WORLD: By John Ward

I used to think it was me but hearing comments from other folk who like me still endeavour to fit clothing to their bodies, it’s the size situation that seems to be going in all directions. Whatever the size marked on the label, it’s a sure thing it’s a 50/50 gamble it will fit your body where it ought to.

Times I wander about looking at assorted items of clothing that catch the eye but as being ‘trendy’ has never fitted into my mindset due to my shape based on a boulder with attitude because all I look for is that the item has buttons or a zip in the right place but preferably not together plus a reasonable colour, two sleeves, two legs as appropriate that will do nicely ta thank you very much and off I can trundle to dazzle them on the Jungle Fresh Bamboo Shoot counter in our local supermarket.

Sizes then. At one time in the not too distant past you could be safe in the fact you chose a shirt that said size 16 collar and it would fit you but now a size 16 it’s often not the case as assuming you can pull the two ends of the collar together with a winch, and you button it up and release the said winch, you would strangle yourself and would need a passing para-medic team to attend and cut you free in most cases.

One assumes that the measured inch is slightly different in, say, the orient where it seems a lot of our clothing is churned out, sorry, fashionably styled and tailored to the highest possible standards - or then again not as we are finding out.

Another mind numbing bit of silliness is the Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX- Large, XXX-Large and so on size range as for years we had inches that went into kilos whatever as a size gauge but now nothing fits properly unless you know your alphabet.

I have been in clothing outlets – menswear is no longer the buzz word for blokes gear it seems – where I have tried or attempted to try garments on that would put a self respecting straight jacket to shame as once, on you need three people to get it off again and that is without anaesthetic and once off stare at the label and it clearly states it’s a size 44 chest but 44 of what exactly?.

I thought it was me for ages but now I meet other people who are having the same life changing moments where they pick a size 52 to make sure it fits their 38 inch chest. Trousers are another ball game so to speak as once again the tape measure would appear to have been left out in the sun too long as its shrunk so that my 30 inside leg allows the bottom of the leg bits to dangle mid way from the knees to ankles but as I pointed out earlier I have no desire to appear trendy but think if I was let loose in, say, Monte Carlo or Cleethorpes in such attire I could well set the fashion world ablaze.