Throw a fit on clothes that don’t

The post-Christmas shopping season is near, and that means sales, chaos, thrift, and more chaos. I’d like to revamp my wardrobe and keep spending, buying clothes that are 60 percent off, but I can’t because I have a lifelong curse — I’m afraid of fitting rooms. Better to go to the dentist and have the molars dug out.

Since I won’t try to dress up, my record is pretty close to perfect. Nothing fits. I blame the apparel industry for this predicament for reasons I will explain.

Here’s my routine: I take my pants off the rack, check them to see if they’re claimed to fit, buy them but when I get home, they’re either too narrow or too long, leaving me no alternative except for keeping them hanging in the back of my closet for a decade The time…or until the end of the year when I collect clothes I’ve never worn because they don’t fit and put them in Goodwill. Over the years, I’ve probably gotten more tax breaks from clothing donations than I have from my four family members.

You may be wondering why I don’t simply return them and get the right size. Well, I also have an aversion to the customer service department. Better talk to the IRS auditor.

This points to a fundamental flaw in the garment industry that can only be resolved by legislation. Now that Build Back Better has been shelved, I urge our members of Congress to come up with a compromise law that would require manufacturers to sizing clothing with odd numbers instead of even numbers and ban XL, XXL, XXXL 4XL, and 5XL. What do all those XLs mean anyway?

It’s sad to say that most Americans wear clothes that look like they came from Les Miserables. You will never see such inappropriate clothes in a modern city like Milan because it is against the law.

Since childhood, I have been cursed because my waist size is always an odd number like 33, 35 and 37. I seem to skip even numbered measurements, but all you can find on the shelf are 34, 36 and 38. The length of the pants is very odd. I can find 30 and 32 but not 31. Being an all around weird guy, this causes problems that often require the expertise of an expensive Italian tailor.

My pants are either too tight or too loose. I realize that dropping your pants off your butt is the American way, and I’m suggesting legislation to solve that as well. Manufacturers should be required to provide elastic waistbands under penalty of law.

When I went to buy a pair of jeans recently, things got really complicated. I quickly learned that there are more types of jeans than complementary health care plans for retirees. They have jeans that sit below the waist, jeans that fall at the navel, and jeans that swirl around the hips. I couldn’t find anything above the belly button, which is my favorite position but totally unfashionable. Then, there’s the skinny cut, the regular cut, the relaxed cut, and the baggy Bozo the Clown cut.

After 20 minutes of researching different types of jeans, I found what I thought I needed. “Regular cut, straight leg with regular in seat and thigh and sits at the waist.” You need a degree from Fashion Institute of Technology to understand this jumbo mumbo.

I didn’t figure out whether it was preshrunk or unbroken in the equation, so it seemed to fit well, at least until it came out of the washing machine. The truth is, I only have one pair of jeans that fits you. The others are either too narrow or too long…and are well intentioned though I’ve never worn them.

I also had a problem when I went shopping for a pair of slippers and discovered that they ranged in size from medium, which was 9 to 10, to large, which was 11 to 12. It was pretty big. Foolishly, I bought the narrow pair. Do not believe what they say. Insoles do not stretch. Start.

Here’s a shopping tip for all of you guys – and wives or girlfriends who have chosen their own clothes: Buy clothes that are labeled “elastic” or “elastic”. It doesn’t matter if it’s shirts, pants, socks, underwear or long johns. Stretching and flexing are key to comfort. Trust me.

Former Stamford attorney and Greenwich time editor Joe Pisani can be reached at

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