As I stay far from shops I have become a great fan of online shopping. This of course means buying without trying on, so I’ve had to think harder about what styles suit and what colours would work with other clothes in my wardrobe.
Until fairly recently I haven’t had a problem with clothes shopping, as I seemed to be around average height. So skirts were the length I wanted and sleeves were made for the length of my arms. From a few shops I’d passed I knew some taller people experienced problems, but was content in my averageness.
But now things have changed dramatically. Despite those around me appearing to be of similar heights to me, the odd tall, lank beanpole being the stand-out exception, I now find I and those around me are no longer average. Models posing in online shops have become the new average it seems. Some sites helpfully give the height of the model in the image. Five foot ten seems the norm. This is a full six and a bit inches taller than me, taller than what used to be the five foot four average.
So I know if the dress or skirt is described as knee length and that’s where it comes to on the model, that on me the same item would be mid calf. Some online stores give the length. I almost wrote ‘helpfully give the length’ but sizing matters are never quite so simple. The length given is for the model’s UK size eight or ten, with a note that the length for other sizes will vary accordingly. Hmmm! Why do they think larger sizes are necessarily taller? I’m left in the dark to work out how much my larger size might add to the length as no indication is given. So mid calf could well become ankle length. Of course some stores merely give an image and brief description, leaving the would-be purchaser totally in the dark about whether the item might fit or drown, be practically tripped up by the skirt length or with hands that disappear to the elbow of lengthy sleeves.
A few manufacturers have opted to introduce ‘petite’ ranges. It took me a while to come to terms with the fact my mature, once average, curvaceous figure is now regarded as petite – not a description I would ever have applied to myself. So, having at length sussed this out, I thought I could relax when ordering online, certain of garments that fitted. But celebrations were premature. While jackets are a more appropriate length instead of making me look like a 1950s Teddy Boy, and my hands are free to move as the sleeves are a shorter length, I still have a problem with skirts.
You see, manufacturers appear to believe that those now classed as petite should wear their skirts mid calf – a length I hate and which does little for the rest of me. The measurements of the recently average woman have been shredded with some new mid calf standard imposed on us. It’s enough to make me wear nothing but trousers.
Trousers – now there’s another problem. While some marvellous stores do sell trousers and leggings in three different lengths — 29, 31 and 33 inch, others merely sell trousers or leggings, leaving us to buy and find out the hard way that their trousers are made for giraffes and not newly petite women.
Naturally I have suggested to some online suppliers that more information on lengths would see more satisfied customers and fewer returns, but so far none have deigned to respond, leaving me to think they are only interested in the new five foot ten average and not us former averages now relegated to petites.
Is it just me, or does any other woman have problem with the length of clothes?