What’s in a dress size?

Hey, I’m doing this from a male perspective, not as a cross-dresser I hasten to add. To those guys who either haven’t been shopping with a partner/wife or don’t do it, I have these words of advice: DON’T DO IT!

This is actually aimed at those chaps whose wife/partner (w/p) is NOT a size 12, petite, short or ‘average’; no it’s specifically aimed at w/p’s who are tall (over 5’9″), not thin (I’ll leave that for your assessment), and can’t find dresses, blouses, trousers or skirts which are a) the right length and b) fit. Now, referring to ‘normal’ dress size ladies i.e. up to size 12 say, they have a virtual smörgåsbord, a richness of choice that is the envy of their taller/larger sisters. If however the lady in question teeters on the cusp of say, a size 14-16, well in 90% of the available rack in the clothes shop has already gone; its a rule of thumb, that the most popular sizes have already been snatched by grateful shoppers who thank their lucky stars they got there early. All that’s usually left is the minute sizes 8-10, and the frankly tent-like size 22 and up. And this is very frustrating and upsetting for those w/p who would like to dress nicely (that’s all of them then), and want to feel that they look nice to boot. One of the main problems with tall ladies particularly is the length between neck and waist. Now, you would think this would be an easy thing to determine, get a lady who’s say 5’11” or over and take a measurement between neck and waist, simples. But dress designers and manufacturers seem to think that this measurement doesn’t change, whatever the dress size. A size 18 for example is one that tall ladies would choose to get the skirt length required (usually on or just below the knee), BUT this is not the case, the aforementioned neck to waist measurement doesn’t increase exponentially, and likewise the skirt length is usually mid calf or slightly lower, and if you don’t want to flash your legs off, it’s far too short. No, all the designers seem to do is to make the size horizontally wider without making it longer.

You may be asking: what the hell has all this got to do with me, a mere male? Ah dear reader there’s the rub; if you go out shopping with your w/p it’s got everything to do with you. There’s nowt more angry or frustrated than a tall/large lady trying to find a dress, skirt etc to fit, and you dear man have to be as supportive/comforting/uncritical as possible. Add to that the current trend for just about any colour (like the Ford Model T) as long as it’s black/white or white/black, is also a source of frustration. It doesn’t matter which shop/store you go to, they all seem to use the same designer/maker so that all the styles and colours (such as they are) are identical whether you are in M&S, Debenhams, Asda, Tesco et al. If black/white is so ‘on trend’ as it seems to be at the moment, there doesn’t seem to be many other colours to chose from, especially for those not in the first flush of youth. So black it is then, which in the past was reserved for funerals and formal dinner-dances. Now, black is THE colour of the age. That’s a pity for the same reasons as the size thing, black seems so drab.

So, guys who are planning to go clothes shopping with the tall w/p, take note: don’t force an opinion about what something looks like, let her take the lead; make the right noises at the appropriate time; offer suggestions within the acceptable limits, and finally if a purchase is made, pay for it. Yes I know but believe me it’ll keep the peace. A note to dress designers/buyers: don’t forget not all ladies are the same measurement from neck to waste; they do occasional like colours other than black, and please no ‘curtain material’, or large flowery patterns. Finally please, perlease, make the skirt length enough for the taller customer. Then produce more of them and you won’t get left with all the sizes you can’t sell, and nobody wants. I reproduce this link from the Daily Mail so you can tell my rant is also coming from a female perspective:

Janet’s Article

About cliverh

Retired aerospace engineer, first with the Royal Air Force and then BAE Systems. Now enjoying a variety of activities and not getting bored. I was a Games Maker Volunteer at the London 2012 Olympics and a volunteer at the Rugby World Cup 2015 in England. I was also a volunteer at the 2019 Cricket World Cup in Southampton. I intend to blog about what interests me.
This entry was posted in My World and As I See It and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What’s in a dress size?

  1. The Phraser says:

    Great post! Clothes shopping is an emotional jungle …

  2. cliverh says:

    Yes it cuts both ways, manufacturers/designers need to produce clothes for REAL women!

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