Thatisbeyond…a rant to the high street.
I am not gonna lie, I buy almost all of my clothes and grooming products from the high street. It’s partly an up-bringing thing and partly a finance thing, but whatever is at the heart of it, it’s how I have rolled and how I thought I would continue to roll!
I have to say that over recent months I have lost patience with the high street and there are several contributing factors to my overall loss of confidence in key highstreet names:
A) A real lack of imagination in the design
B) REALLY questionable fit
C) Fit of clothing designed for model sized men and not real men
D) Overpriced basics
As you can see, I’m a bit ambivalent to the whole experience of shopping at the moment because it takes so much effort – to find a not particularly genius outfit and more than likely someone else will be looking exactly the same when I do wear it.
Shop space is given over to women’s wear ( I get this – most of their clientele is female) though in some key high street chains it can be as much as 90% vs 10%. This leaves a very small collection for menswear, many of whom don’t stock bigger than a standard sized large. The lack of imagination is even more clear in such a small space you see endless versions of the same top in different colours in tiny sizes and it’s really frustrating. I have to say that H & M are particularly bad at this, they even use window displays with products that aren’t available to buy in that store! That is very annoying. I saw some floral printed shorts I was interested in, but was told if I wanted to buy them I would have to go to another store – ridiculous! On the whole, I know that H & M are good for basics, but really, I bought a plain collared t shirt 5 years ago as an audition basic, they still sell the exact same one now only the same size is smaller! ( some of you will say that I have got bigger… Not so, I have put the two next to each other and the same size is 2.4cm smaller)
This leads me nicely onto “questionable fit” now the brand that I am focusing on in this section, is one of the few that I think has upped their game in terms of design, but the fit is just crazy! New Look’s men’s department is really strong at the moment, a lot of their summer wear is on trend and a bit different to other stores, but I have tested their sizing and today was the final straw. Because I know their sizing is all over the place I pick up trousers and shorts in three sizes 34”, 36” & 38” waists. There was no difference in the waist size at all! There was a little more space around the thighs, but the waist size was identicle on all 3 pairs. Some of their brands do extend to larger sizes but what does that mean when they all fit the same anyway???!
Now let’s talk about model sizes, I think male models look amazing, I wish I had their looks and body tone, but I don’t. That doesn’t mean though, that I don’t want to dress well. I should probably front up to my own sizes, to give you an idea of my stature. (A bit scary writing it down but hey!)
In several stores, their blazers only go up to a 40/42 inch chest – I am a 44inch chest and I am not enormous. I have a well developed chest and I won’t apologize for it, but just once, when occasion demands it I would love to be able to drop by river island or indeed Primark and pick up a size that fits on short notice. In some high street stores there are literally NO clothes that fit me. Let’s not pretend this is in line with any of the worlds problems, but I would say that is can be really disheartening and indeed p****s me off.
Overpricing is as much to do with the climate as it is to do with greedy brands, but for me, I am happy to pay for fit, but twenty quid for a t shirt I could get for £3 elsewhere is just mad! I have to say that this is not the case with all brands, but it is the trend at the moment. I have posted about how much I like NEXT and I think that they have got it right this season, and I also find Zara to be a heavy hitter too, especially with the fit of their clothes and generally their range is more than just basic wear.
In conclusion, I wish the high street’s priorities with regards to male fashion was different. Will my opinion really matter to them? No. But you know what, when we are in the financial climate that we are in currently, I would rather support a high street brand that is fashion forward, fits well & a little more expensive, than a a brand that lazily re-runs the same range, cheaply but with bad fit.