Monday, February 1, 2010

The loneliness of the long-limbed thrifter

Everyone who does a majority of their clothing shopping at a thrift store knows that it's a poop shoot just about every time out. Heck, part of what makes it so fun is the thrill of the hunt and the hopes of finding something amazing in just your size for an absolute steal. It's more than a bit addictive, really.

Being a rather tall fellow, I've had issues finding clothing that fits right ever since I was a kid. For a time, it seemed like I could never find shoes large enough (I finally settled into a size 13 or 14) and sleeve lengths and inseams are a constant source of frustration.

sadly, 35 inch sleeves are too short, so this $1 BB oxford found its way into the re-trade pile

Although I've gotten much better at eyeball tests over the years, I can't count the number of times that I've pulled a pair of pants off the rack giddily and held them up to my waist, only to find that the hems hung somewhere in my lower calf area. Sometimes I'll even double-down and look inside to see if there's enough fabric to let the legs out a couple inches, only to be crushed again.

Shirts are another matter, and even more consternating than pants, as different makers vary so wildly in their sizing. I have several shirts in size 16 with 36 inch sleeves that fit remarkably, yet I've tried on others in the same size that fit nicely in the shoulders yet come up a full four inches too short in the sleeves. It's come to the point where if I find a nice shirt that actually fits, I frantically scan the rest of the store hoping that several other items arrived in the same lot (and to be fair, I've occasionally been rewarded for doing so).

Hell, we all come in different shapes and sizes, and I'm sure that just about everyone has fable-worthy stories of the unobtainables; A pair of killer pants that came up a couple inches too short; an amazing jacket with a stain that was just far too creepy to buy; the most beautiful wingtips in the world that made you reconsider the fine art of foot binding.

In the end, though, we all just go out again, hoping for the next great score.

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