Thursday, August 26, 2004

Clothes Rant: Response to Comments

This comment started to get so long, I figured I should just make it an entry.

I do get clothes from LL Bean. Mostly their wonderful jeans, including the flannel lined ones. Their selection of skirts with pockets is very limited and they aren't quite sized right for me. Usually, the waist is too tight. Last winter, when I wanted to get another skirt like the one I'd gotten the year before, it wasn't in their catalog. I have a history of bad luck with mail order and prefer to try clothes on first. I need to see how high the skirts will hike up when I sit. I don't want to get arrested. And I actually love to shop. I love trying on clothes. I just need something worth trying on. :)

I also had this problem when I was in my 20s--I started carrying my wallet in my pocket when I was in college, but I wore jeans then. Once I started work, the hunt for the perfect skirts began. It's been a never ending battle. Pocketbooks and purses are things I need to hold in my hand, which means trouble--I've lost plenty of things I have to hold, including handbags. I put them down, then forget about them. Shoulder bags are what I use, but they can be easily picked. Pickpockets just about never think a woman's got her wallet in her front pocket. This is a reality of big city life, and I've never lost a wallet or my keys because they're always on my person, but I know folks who have lost both to pickpockets.

I don't have any interest in getting clothes custom made. There should be no reason for it. Though I did once have a friend put pockets in a skirt for me. It never fit right after that. There is nothing wrong with wanting clothing makers to make stylish practical clothes. They complain that sales are down. Maybe sales would go up if they catered to the practical woman who wants some style.

I personally don't like the clothes made by LL Bean and the other mail order places. I'm lucky I can find anything other than jeans in LL Bean's catalog. Their clothes look so ordinary and alike to me. No oomph. Calvin Klein used to make wonderful denim skirts--I have three (2 blue, one faded black, all long)--but since he sold the business, the skirts have barely covered my butt when I've tried them on--without my trying to sit--so I can't buy them, even though they otherwise fit great.

I am not the only person with this complaint. My friends and I have been complaining--okay, bitching and moaning--about it for close to 30 years. Every so often, there's a good clothing season and I go nuts, buying up as much as I can afford. The problem is, I had to get rid of a lot of skirts a few years ago because they no longer fit. With my new middle age spread (even with a fairly slim waist) and the weight (only 10 pounds, but it's a stubborn 10 pounds) I gained before my thyroid problem was treated, I finally had to admit, after not wearing those skirts (and some beloved jeans) for 3 years, that I would never fit into them again.

Women come in all sizes amd shapes and we all deserve nice, stylish, fashionable clothes. There's no reason the Liz Claybourne denim skirts I saw yesterday--length to just below the knee, nicely flared--couldn't also have pockets. We boomers are a growing population and we've got a lot of discretionary cash. You'd think the manufacturers and designers would want to cater to those of us who no longer or never had the body of a skinny little thing.

A while back, the GAP tried to change its look. It started to fiddle with the style of its clothes to compete more with companies like Wet Seal that cater to the teens and 20-somethings. Well, it backfired. Sales went down and they had to retreat from their great plan and go back to the basics. Except for the last year or so, that's meant short skirts that barely cover the butt. Well, at least the kids will buy that. But there are women my age and older buying up their sweaters and blouses. It's just their skirts we can't wear.