A long, LONG time ago… (we all know by now that I am terrible at keeping up with writing things on this here blog, don’t we?) some fabulous people contributed their hard-earned funds to help us open up our shop, and we offered some perks in return. One of them was a chance to tell us about their pet peeve related to mass-produced clothing. So today, we’re hearing from Trisha (who is shaving her head for St. Baldrick’s this year, go give some money to fund cancer research if you can!)
The Pet Peeve
So here is what Trisha wants to know: What is up with the gap in the back of all the waistbands?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that there’s a good chance everyone reading this knows exactly what Trisha is talking about. I know I do. In case you don’t, here’s what happens: You go shopping for some pants. Or a skirt, it happens there too. You try on a pair. It seems like it would fit your waist perfectly, if only you could get it over your hips… which is not ever gonna happen. So you pick the next size larger. Sweet! It fits your hips perfectly! But now that you’ve got them zipped up, there is a huge gap at the center back. But you buy them anyway, because what choice do you have? And you wear them, and right after you pull them out of the dryer they are fabulous for about 5 minutes and then you find yourself with a terrible case of plumber’s crack. What’s worse is that you may even find you can successfully take them on and off without unzipping or even unbuttoning. This does not bode well for keeping your ass covered.
Why It Exists
The reason for this gap, along with numerous other fit issues, is the way mass-produced garments are designed. For each design, they have what is called a fit model. This is a person who’s job it is to have the garment tested on them. They do this in just one size (6, generally, I believe) and of course the keyword is model – which means they are likely to be tall and skinny and generally not too curvy. And that is the key problem for this issue. A not-so-curvy person doesn’t have a big difference in her waist vs. hip measurements; but most of us have a sizable increase from waist to hip. So when they take that fairly un-curvy pattern and then make it into other sizes (called “grading”), it doesn’t get curvier… it just gets proportionally wider. This is a mistake, if you ask me. (And everyone else who isn’t shaped like a tree trunk.)
What Can You Do About It?
WELL. Somehow we should all band together and demand that designers and clothing manufacturers start considering the bodies of actual people when they come up with these things. But given the likelihood of that happening, let’s talk practical solutions:
- Have them altered. Honestly, this is kind of your only option. You can learn how to do it yourself (it’s pretty easy) or you can have it done professionally. It should take someone who knows what they’re doing about an hour, and shouldn’t be terribly expensive. Ask your local tailor and then factor in the cost when you’re picking out your next pair.
- Custom jeans! Made from scratch to your measurements. Obviously, this is a more costly option… but it may be worth it, especially if your jeans get a lot of wear. Most mass-produced versions have stretch in them, even if they aren’t marketed that way, and the elastic wears out really fast, much faster than strong, sturdy denim. Perhaps you’ve noticed how they seem to get holes much faster than they did 15 years ago, before stretch denim existed? With a custom pair, you can request non-stretch denim, reinforcement in the areas that you personally wear through the fastest, and as a bonus, they will also be hemmed the right length.
Questions? Rants? Speak up in the comments!