Clothes… We take for granted the way they fit us. The fact that the fashion industry thinks we should all fit the same clothes. No exceptions, not even when your built isn’t the one the fashion industry had in mind when they designed the clothes you find in the shops today.
A tall but skinny man’s shopping experience
Last week I went shirt shopping with my husband. We were looking forward to it. Spend some quality time together while shipping some clothes. This time I didn’t sew a shirt for him as I was very busy with the last details of a new pattern. So shopping we went. My husband is a nice guy but has a small problem when buying clothes: he is 1.98 m (or 6 ft 6″) tall and has a small frame…. And that makes buying shirts (and other clothes) a burden, as hardly anything fits him….
Let’s go shirt shopping!
His favorite shop is specialized in menswear. Lots of nice shirts on the racks and after a few considerations about color, he decided to try on a shirt. The salesperson casts an eye over him and decides the size my husband needs is a M. Hmm, maybe his stature is a Medium but I’m not so sure about his length. But for now, let’s trust the professional menswear salesmen!
Five minutes later and a fitting disaster has happened! The shirt has a really nice fit around his torso, and the collar fits his neck really well but …. the rest is not so nice. Sleeves are too short, and if he bends over the shirt peeps out of his pants. Not enough body length….
Try a size larger
But the salesmen keeps saying it is such a nice shirt! Well, we’re not convinced. So, let’s try a size larger and see what happens. As expected, the fit around his torso isn’t so nice anymore. Slim fit just became just a bit more roomy. You now can add at least three fingers between the collar stand and his neck (on each side!) and the sleeves are still a bit short (about 2,5 cm or 1 inch). The salesmen thinks this is ok. I guess he really wants to sell this shirt to us. And don’t you just hate it, when he keeps talking to you instead of the person trying on the new clothes….
Let’s go two sizes larger
But being the nice guy the salesman is, he offers to try the XL version of the shirt. So that the sleeves are long enough for my husband and the length is also ok. But he doesn’t care that the shoulders of the shirt are now halfway my husband’s upper arms, the shirt has a fit like a tent big enough for 5 additional people (aka no fit at all!) and the collar is gaping away from his neck. But I have to admit, the sleeve length is just fine!
Buying shirts or no matter what clothes in a bigger size than you actually need is not a solution for tall men! Tall men need more fabric in their shirts but not around their torso. They need more fabric in the length of the shirt and in the length of their sleeves. So we left the shop without any new clothes.
And yes, shirts can be adjusted. Collars can be made less wide and darts can be used to adjust the extra room around his torso. Why didn’t I opt for that? To be honest, I really, really, really don’t like altering ready to wear clothes. So it is simply not an option (for me).
And now what? My New Year’s resolution is that I am going back to the drawing board to design more clothes that are especially designed with tall men in mind. So they get the fit they need, and the (proportioned) look they want. Because they deserve it!