Shopping In The Men’s Department (Or, Tits In An Oxford Shirt)

My latest job venture is literally a 5-minute walk from my house.  This fact, in and of its self, is pretty unbelievable.  Going to work without using public transit or my car? Sign me up!

I’m a bartender by trade, and thus have had to wear some pretty horrendous uniforms, including a bowling shirt and a diner dress.  Both made of polyester and highly flammable.  That was back in the early 2000’s.  Recently, trends have moved towards wearing what you want, as long as it’s professional and mainly black in color.  That’s the uniform that I personally love.  It allows me to be expressive, feminine, and functional all at the same time.  So when I found out that my newest job was going to require me to wear a grey button-up oxford shirt and tie… well.  Let’s say I was far less than thrilled.

To put things bluntly, I am a big tittied bitch.  I wear a 42 DD bra, which puts me at a 50” chest, according to men’s dress shirt sizes.  Sounds simple, right? Find a men’s dress shirt that fits a 50” chest, and I’m set.

WRONG. SO SO WRONG.

My chest size puts my ideal men’s shirt size at an 18.  But what men’s sizing doesn’t account for is lady shape.  And honestly, why would it? Men’s shirts are tailored to fit a fairly angular frame without the curves that are inherent to women.  Men don’t tend to have hips that are wider than their waists, and large tissue masses over their pecs.  And don’t even get me started about ‘big and tall’ sizing.

My roommate, J, who is my best gay boyfriend, works at the same place I do.  So we tried to shop for clothes together.  He ended up finding his uniform pieces before I did, and found a really nice vest to accessorize.  I thought it was a great idea, until he told me what size he bought.  J is a men’s size large, for the most part.  He has an average build, about 5’9”, and at one point in his life was much, much heavier.

J put on his newly acquired vest, and I told him how nice it fit him.  I asked him where he got it.

“Girl, I got this at Macy’s.  They’ve got a great sale going on now; you should check it out.”

“Oh, I will! What size is that vest?”

“This.. This is a 2X. “

“No fucking way.  You’re not a 2X! I’m a 2X, for sure, but you’re no way a 2X.”

“Girl, just wait.  You think women’s clothing is frustrating? Wait until you try and find a shirt that fits.”

J was so incredibly right.  I hustled my ass to Macy’s, and asked some sales people to direct me towards vests.  I found some, and quickly grabbed all of the XL and XXL vests I could find.  I also went into the higher end area, where men have suits tailored.  The sales woman there was incredibly helpful.  I told her my chest size, over my breasts, and she grabbed a vest for me.  She told me that the designer of the vest uses a more traditional fit, opposed to the slim fits that most designers are using today.

I had no idea what she meant until I tried everything on.

All the vests, except the one she picked out for me, were incredibly small.  Tight and small.  I wondered to myself what men bigger than me do.. big and tall sizing didn’t fit me correctly, so I don’t know if it would have been any better for them.  I tried on one big and tall shirt, and I was swimming in it, like a girl wearing her boyfriend’s work shirt after a night of frisky sex.  Except it wasn’t sexy. It was sloppy.  I found one shirt that fit me well enough, but still puckered at my chest.  I bought it anyway, knowing a tie would go over it.

I returned home with my purchases, and told J about my experience.

“Everything is slim-fit! I just don’t get it.  I don’t want or need a slim-fit.  I am not slim!”

“Girl, I know.  EVERYTHING IS SLIM-FIT.  That’s why I have to buy a 2XL vest when I wear a large.”

“It just doesn’t make sense.  Americans aren’t small anymore. Why are we making clothes that don’t seem to fit anybody?”

“Lady, the reality of it is this.  We’ve begun to achieve gender equality in fashion, except it’s in the wrong direction.  Men’s clothing keeps getting smaller and smaller, getting cut slimmer and slimmer.   I’ve lost over 50lbs since the last time I bought a vest, and that vest is a size large.  Now I weigh less, and I’m in a 2XL vest.  I’ve never felt fatter, not even when I was actually fatter.”

My perspective was changed.  J was definitely right.  Men’s body images are skewed, just like women’s.  Another co-worker, T, said this about buying a vest:

“The sales girl at H&M is hilarious.  She asks me what I’m looking for, and I tell her a vest.  She brings me a medium, and I put it on.  I looked like Chris Farley in Black Sheep.  I told her to just bring me the biggest vest she had, and this is what I got.”

T’s vest was snug for sure, and too short.  T wears a 32 pant, and is about 6’3”.  He’s not big by any means.  So why does he need the biggest size at H&M?

It seems that finding clothing that fits properly is just a pain in the ass for everyone.  I’m not one to worry about numbers or sizing.  I wear what fits.  But when there is such a gap from one size to another, or when sizing simply stops, it becomes difficult to shop.

Realistic fashion for the American market seems to be a hugely lacking area.  Why designers don’t fill this gap baffles me; why miss a large portion of money from a market that wants clothes that fit?

I don’t know how this fits into feminist theory or how this addresses the patriarchy or any of that nonsense.  But I know that no one should feel like they can’t find clothing that fits properly.  No one should feel inadequate because of sizing, and stores should sell clothing that fit a realistically diverse array of bodies.

But, until I can find a men’s dress shirt that fits my tits, I’ll just keep buying stock in safety pins.

Advertisements

Comments

  1. jenelle says:

    Jeez I didn’t realize guys had such a hard time. No wonder they hate shopping

    • No foolin’! Maybe I should start shopping in the men’s department since their sizes are shrinking.

    • Just received my genie bra 3 pack, (how they are sold in Australia) pgosate was outstanding in turnaround considering I live in the North West. One complaint not really for anyone over a D cup size, it needs more support on the side panels. I am a 16 DD and 6’1 , the straps could be a little longer as I am longer in shoulders, waist etc, in proportion for my height, but it is comfortable and supportive, I will be using them around the house, and for exercising, but for work n going out, will be using old bras as they give a better shape. Those silly little pads to help uplift are not good for bigger cups, so took them out, and it fits a lot better. All in all, am happy but not as happy as you made me believe from the ads, that they were for the bigger busted woman. Will keep these 3 but will not be replacing them when needed. I give genie bra ***

  2. shannonhumphreys says:

    This reminds me of an internet campaign I read about last year to get designers to put the ACTUAL MEASUREMENTS on tags. Like they do on men’s jeans, but on everything. Then all anybody would ever need is a tape measure.

  3. I have given up on wearing buttondown shirts, my boobs automatically make them gap. 😦 too bad, because they look good on me otherwise…

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: