They Don’t Make Clothes for Men Like Me

My body shape does not correspond to the body shapes for which clothing manufacturers make clothing. It’s not just the fact that I am over-ample in the belly at the moment, though I am. Even if I lost my pot-belly and otherwise discarded excess poundage, off-the rack clothing would not fit me. I know this because I’ve tried on quite a lot of suit jackets, slacks, jeans, shirts, etc., etc. over the years during periods of overweight and otherwise. Nothing ever fits. My inseams are shorter than clothing manufacturers think they should be for a man my height and girth; my arms are shorter and my neck broader than they think is appropriate for a man of my size.  The sleeves of sports jackets that fit me around the chest look like they were created for knuckled-dragging beasts, when I wear them; the sleeves fall far, far below the end of my fingers. The bottom hems of those same jackets, if they fit me in the chest, almost reach my knees. Obviously, the “average” mannequins that serve as models for manufacturers’ clothing look nothing like me.

All of this brings me back to a topic about which I’ve written several times before: I need to learn to use a sewing machine.  Or, perhaps, I need to employ the services of a tailor. Yesterday, I found an online service that promises to provide truly tailor-made clothing at prices that even I find reasonable. I may well give the company, iTailor, a try. Just for kicks, I went to the company website and started building my “ideal” sports jacket. When I got to checkout (I didn’t actually measure sleeve length, etc.; I just pulled numbers out of the air), I came to the price: $179. Now that’s more than I’d normally pay for a used jacket at Salvation Army, but it’s a far cry from the prices I’d pay for a tailored suit in a store, even a store like J.C. Penny. So, I started thinking, “maybe I should do this.” The down side, of course, is that picking fabrics online has the potential of being extremely disappointing. It’s hard to know what colors will really look like and how fabric will actually feel by looking at a rather dark image online. But maybe it’s still worth the risk? I don’t know. I’m still mulling it over.

I’ve never had a piece of clothing that fit me truly well. Either the sleeves are too long or the inseams are too long or some other measurement is “off.” Invariably, I have to either accept ill-fitting garments or pay someone to alter them; even then, the fit is not “perfect.” I don’t really expect the fit of an online “tailored” product to be perfect, either, but I’m increasingly interested in giving it a shot. The other option is to learn how to sew and to become my own personal tailor. That, of course, would require me to learn more than how to sew. I’d also have to learn how to adjust patterns to fit my unique measurements. That sounds like it would take a ten-year apprenticeship with an extremely talented tailor. And that sounds like something that’s not going to happen.

iTailor just may get another customer sometime soon.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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