Questions that perplex, part one

The following things make no sense to me. Let’s start our survey of hard-to-answer questions with women’s clothing.

  1. If the average American woman is a tad over 5.4 inches in height, why are most jeans, yoga pants and trousers designed for hypothetical women who stand about three inches taller?  I’m an inch taller than the average, but I’ve lost count of all the pants I’ve had to shorten over the years because the hems were long enough to trip over. And “petite” sizes are too short. What’s going on here? Why aren’t pants that are supposedly  designed for mid-height women not properly sized to fit those same women?
  2. Years ago, brassieres were made of sections of delicate, filmy fabric and lace sewn together in a variety of fetching ways. Then, almost overnight, all bras became made of inflexible foam cups that generate perspiration. The change was probably made to keep costs down, but foam-cup bras leave much to be desired in the way of fit. They compress the breast tightly inside the confines of the cup, or when a larger size is selected, the breast then bounces and rattles around loosely inside its foam cage. Never yet have I found a foam-cup bra of any size or dimension that fits as well, or looks as fetching, as the sweet lacy whimsies of the past.
  3. What’s with the indescribably horrible dressing rooms at the local Macy’s (Bloomington, Indiana)? The dressing rooms there have apparently never been remodeled since that wing of the mall was built in the 1980s. In Macy’s horrible cramped dressing booths, all the mirrors are fattening mirrors instead of regular mirrors. Shoppers flinch with aversion from their own reflections, spotlit by the strong overhead light that cruelly delineates every ripple of cellulite and bulge of fat. So different from another unnamed retailer at the same mall, whose spacious dressing rooms are large enough for two or even three people, designed to resemble a boudoir, and lit gently from all sides for an even glow. If retailers truly believe that women will buy just as much from stores with horrible dressing rooms as from stores with lovely dressing rooms, they should compare notes on sales. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t particularly feel like buying anything after I’ve been made to look ugly and deformed in a distorting mirror, but perhaps Macy’s has a different sales philosophy: humiliate shoppers into grabbing anything off the shelf and getting out of there quickly without trying anything on.
  4. And the biggest, final question is: why do these three things endure, year after year, with nothing being done about it? It’s because it takes more than one nut with a blog to make a difference. Speak up! Suggest beneficial changes to management! Complain to management! Write your own nutty blogs! Have a skilled tailor or seamstress create custom clothes for you! Changes won’t happen without critical mass.
The tacky exterior of the College Mall, resembling post-modern Wild West storefronts.  Photo belongs to www.simon.com.
The tacky exterior of the College Mall, resembling post-modern Wild West storefronts. Photo belongs to http://www.simon.com.
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10 thoughts on “Questions that perplex, part one”

  1. You crack me up! So true! And I love the ugly photo… perfect. We seem to just accept things, how did this happen? Is it a reflection of our own dull wits? Surely we all have much more beauty within that we could bring to our buildings, towns, and neighborhoods. What’s to become of us if we continue to let ourselves be uncomfortable and uninspired?

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  2. A friend of mine, formerly of Bloomington but now in Philadelphia, started a business ( a movement really) called The Robust Woman based on the average height and weight of real Americam women. It addresses some of your issues about pant length. I have usually had the opposite problem, being 5’8″ tall so I often buy men’s clothing that covers my ankles and wrists.

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  3. Great comments. I don’t make a practice of buying clothes at Macy’s, perhaps that is because of the dressing rooms(?) but I also believe they use this store to sell a lot of old merchandise. I have had the same problems with shortening pants (am I shrinking?). And lastly, I have never experienced the bras you describe.
    I did love the article on composting in last Sunday’s HT.
    Thank you for everything you share.
    Betsy

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    1. Thanks for writing! I’m astonished that you haven’t seen the foam-cup bra; they’re ubiquitous at all the department stores, Target, K-Mart, etc. They are the default except if you’re buying the stretchy athletic bras instead. See http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/maidenform-custom-lift-satin-demi-bra-9729?ID=361259&pla_country=US&CAGPSPN=pla&CAWELAID=120156340000487115&catargetid=120156340001159687&cadevice=c&cm_mmc=Google_Intimates_PLA-_-Intimates_Brand+Maidenform_Maidenform-_-53030645607_-_-_mkwid_g0wAkipz|dc_53030645607%7C-%7Cg0wAkipz.
      all best, Carrol

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