The husband is mystified that it took me the better part of an afternoon to shop for a pair of black pants.
He can find a new pair of pants in less than half an hour, including travel time to and from the mall.
Women’s clothes are more complex than men’s clothes. The pant leg alone can be a 15-minute decision. There’s boot cut, wide leg, straight leg, slim leg and lengths that range from ankle length, regular length, to long and extra long. Just reading tags is a sizable time investment.
Men have it easy. Their tags have two measurements – inseam and width. Men don’t even mind wearing their size on the outside of their jeans. Anytime I’m behind a guy with a tag that says 36 x 36, I want to applaud.
I admire the sort of confidence that proclaims, ‘I’m a perfect square and don’t care who knows it!’
What’s more, some men don’t need a lot of clothes, because they are content wearing the same ones over and over. We associate entire time periods with shirts the husband has worn.
The blue and white small checkered shirt spanned the years the kids were in college.
The maroon pin-striped shirt with Oxford collar covered the Ronald Reagan years.
For 30 years he’s worn the same shirt for yardwork and refuses to retire it. In another 20 it will qualify for the historic registry.
He’s a very stable person. Even his wardrobe is rarely subject to change.
Most women tend to mix it up more, in part because they have fluctuating dimensions to accommodate. There are B.C. hips (Before Children) and A.D. hips (After Delivery). Pregnancy almost always alters a woman’s structure. None of the pregnancy books tell you that, but it’s true.
Shopping is even more time-consuming if you’re a speciality size like petite. Petite is a euphemism for low-to-the-ground or short. There are plenty of petite clothes to choose from; the problem is that half of them hang on racks near the ceiling. Just getting the clothes down to try them on can be a cardio workout.
On the other end of the spectrum, we know a lovely young woman who is 6’ 6” and can never find pants that are long enough. You can shorten a garment too long, but you can’t add fabric to a garment not long enough.
She recently took a trip to the Netherlands fully aware that Dutch men and women tower over all other nationalities. The average Dutchman is 6 feet tall and the average woman is 5 foot 7 inches.
She had a fabulous trip. Not a single person asked if she played basketball. Plus, she came home with a suitcase loaded with new clothes. Every store was a tall girl store.
All it took was international travel to find a pair of black pants that were a perfect fit.
More from Lori Borgman: