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Get your mind out of the gutter…I am talking about clothing sizes.

I just bought a new jacket. This would be jacket number six in the last 4 years. I have officially moved from a size 9xl to an extra large. It’s a great brown leather jacket I picked up at the Wilson leather outlet mall, and I actually did an impulse purchase when I saw it on the clearance rack at 80% off.

I have had to purchase clothing over the last 4 years, but I always felt like new jackets had a bigger significance because they don’t really have any give. Most people can squeeze into a tee shirt that is a size or two smaller than it should be. I have seen it happen more than it should, because if you do it and you’re in shape, it makes you look like an arrogant bastard, and if you’re fat and do it, it makes you look like a 3 pound sausage stuffed into a 2 pound casing. With a jacket, especially a leather jacket, it has no give. Now I feel that I can officially own that size.

Last week on the news, there was a report that some women’s clothing manufacturers were making clothing that was larger than the size they were marketing them as. This made women feel good when they tried on that product over the (correctly sized) competition. I am fairly sure that’s the same thing that was going on with the big and tall clothing I used to wear. I found that the clothes I purchased out of the big and tall catalog, which were made by exclusively big and tall clothing companies, fit better then the clothing I found from standard manufacturers that had a big and tall line.

As much as I hate having to purchase new clothing all the time, I do like the fact I can now buy off the rack. I also love the fact I am not paying such a premium for clothing. Most people don’t understand what a luxury it is to be able to go into a Target or Walmart and buy so many different styles…as far as Walmart has a style.

But I have noticed some things I miss about the oversized clothing. The biggest change is the size of the pockets. I never really gave it any thought, but when big and tall clothing is made, they keep the pocket size proportionate to the garment. When you have a 9xl shirt, you get 9xl pockets. These pockets were big enough to smuggle in all the junk food I needed for a double feature at my local cinema. Now, I struggle to get a standard half-liter water bottle into the show.

One of the other clothing changes I have noticed was at my cleaners. When I was wearing the larger sizes, I was paying up to $5 per shirt for cleaning and pressing. I was told that the added cost from $.99 to $5 was due to the fact they couldn’t use the standard presses and had to hand iron my shirts. In itself, that made sense…until I saw how many buttons they were breaking with the “hand ironing”. Doesn’t it seem like that would only happen when you were using a large commercial press? My size was just one more thing that let people separate me and take advantage of me. The sad part was my self-esteem was so low that I let it happen without comment.

How things have changed. All good things.

Paul

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