The clothes maketh the man

One of the most surprising things I learned last year was that T actually cares – at least a little – about his wardrobe.

We were holed up in our tiny third-floor hotel room in Rome. It was maybe 2am; we’d been watching Scandal and reluctantly decided it was time to attempt to get some sleep. Easier said than done; the A/C still wasn’t working properly (a common problem in the summer, I hear) and while it was difficult but manageable for me, T can’t cope once it gets past about 20 degrees – and this was probably 30-plus. It looked like a night of sleeplessness was all he had to look forward to, so I stayed awake for awhile to keep him company.

There’s something oddly intimate about conversations held in the pitch black. I don’t know how we got onto the topic, but he voiced some dissatisfaction with the way he dressed and a wish that I’d take things into my own hands (as popular culture dictates a good girlfriend should).

That’s not entirely fair, given that it’s quite impossible to shop for clothing for him in New Zealand. No normal shops sell items that fit him, which is why plain Warehouse shirts and singlets make up the majority of his wardrobe. All his pants are Dickies (which thankfully cater for a huge range of sizes) and while footwear is sometimes a struggle, we usually manage to keep him in decent shoes successfully. Also, I hate shopping, and I really hate spending a lot of money on clothing anyway.

Still, it broke my heart a little. So when we ventured into American department stores for the first time, and found plenty of shirts in not just 2XL but 3, 4, 5, it was like being let loose in Legoland. You can bet we stocked up – and will be ordering online from American shops in the future.

I don’t really understand why it’s so hard to find clothing in larger sizes here. Where the hell do big guys shop? It’s not like he can just shed some excess weight with a little effort; while he could stand to trim a little in the middle, the rest of his bulk isn’t fat. He’s just built genuinely huge. The one thing we CAN easily get for him is ties, where size doesn’t matter – between thrift shops and sites like ASOS, it’s easy to pick up all manner of styles for next to nothing.

So when he landed his new job, we both freaked out a bit. Up till now he’d either worn everyday clothes to work or had a company uniform. He owned two button-up shirts and one suit, which was definitely not going to be enough. He needed to build a work wardrobe, and that wasn’t going to be easy – especially as we only had two days between landing the contract and starting the job.

We managed to pick up some shirts and pants from Famous Brands Inc, the somewhat random discount shop in New Lynn that’s holding perpetual clearance sales, and more shirts and ties on clearance at Tarocash (which goes up to about 5XL), along with two good pairs of Italian leather shoes from Overland. All up, 5-6 shirts, two pairs of pants,  two pairs of shoes, and other small items (tie clip, shoe care products) cost just under $800. We actually managed to get amazing deals, despite being unable to wait for Boxing Day to shop. I think it’s highly adorable that he now has to iron his shirts and polish his shoes just to go to work, and that he actually takes pride in it.

 I guess for him not caring about clothes doesn’t mean not caring at all. It’s more like my philosophy: not caring about trends, despising the act of shopping, and just wanting a decent selection of items that look good and fit well in the closet to pick and choose from every day without too much thought involved.

5 thoughts on “The clothes maketh the man

  • Reply save. spend. splurge. February 3, 2014 at 08:45

    T’s experience is the same for me when I went to Asia. I couldn’t really find things in my size because I am far too tall (5’5″) and even though I am slim, I was considered a Medium or a Large!!!

    The only way is to (really), buy clothes here in North America when you can. T is definitely a tall and built guy and even BF finds it hard to find clothing sometimes (he’s tall too).

    Retailers still don’t get the idea that fit models that they use for guys AND girls are not the norm.

  • Reply Amanda @ MoveLoveEat February 3, 2014 at 09:36

    Oh I hear you! My b/f is tall and well built (he does body building competitions). Everything that fits around the arms (large or bigger) swim on him around the waist, and small or mediums that fit around the waist he can’t get his arms or chest into #lesigh we should have got clothes tailored in Vietnam but alas he is thinking about getting out of the industry which requires him to wear shirts anyway so decided it may not be worth the funds.

  • Reply Untemplater February 3, 2014 at 20:06

    Having met him, I can vouch that T is a big guy! But yes in the US he fits in and there are lots of places that sell clothes and shoes big enough for him. I’m glad you guys were able to get stocked up and get his work clothes in time.

    My company went casual, so I have been debating whether or not to give away most of my old business clothes. I only need to wear dressy clothes maybe once a quarter now, so not often at all. But I’ve held on because I’m afraid that if I gave most of them away, my company would end up saying “sorry guys but we’re changing the dress code back to business” and then I’d feed dumb having to re-buy work clothes all over again.

    • Reply eemusings February 3, 2014 at 21:41

      I’d probably keep them just in case, you never know, and your next job might wind up being more formal!

  • Reply Morgaine February 4, 2014 at 07:39

    Both me and hubby have problems shopping for clothes here in Canada! Hubby is tall (6’3″) and needs at least a 2x and I’m short (5’1″) and need XL or 18-20 petites. Good luck finding good quality clothes at reasonable prices for either of us. Its either cheap shoddy quality (Wal-mart for hubby) or expensive. I’ve been having good luck at one store for pants that fit except I still have to get them hemmed. $10 for hemming is worth it to me, but it still sucks after paying $40 for a pair of pants in the first place! Anyways, hope T’s clothes last him a good long time and I hope he’s enjoying the new job!

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