Sharon Owens: It’s just pants when designers fail to measure up for us girls
I love winter. I love winter because I can spend six months lounging in long cardigans and long overcoats and palazzo slacks and old Uggs.
Some weekends I just hang around the house in my pyjamas and dressing gown. No, it’s not because I can’t be bothered getting dressed. It’s because I cannot find anything to fit me in the shops.
I’m tall with broad shoulders and a narrow waist. But all the trousers I’ve tried on recently seemed to have been made for egg-shaped women; the waist measurement is usually the same or bigger than the hip measurement.
And the ‘regular’ trouser legs are either far too short or far too long. And quite often the hems are coming undone, too.
Trouser fabrics range from pinstripe to a shiny sort of linen to a scratchy charcoal wool mix. All I want is a plain, black, wide-leg trouser with a side zip and no fancy buckles or belts attached. But can I find a pair of basic black trousers anywhere? No, I cannot.
Finding an everyday top is even harder; many tops now have huge armholes and a neckline so low you’d have to wear a T-shirt underneath to preserve your modesty.
And if you’re tall like me, then the top won’t always reach your trousers, so you have to wear a cardigan to keep your abdomen warm.
And why are there so many balcony bras in the lingerie department? And why are there so many see-through knickers? Whatever happened to those old-fashioned cotton bra-and-pants sets that you didn’t have to spend all day long adjusting?
All the new coats are far too warm; you try one on in the shopping mall and you pass out instantly.
And why are coat pockets stitched up? Am I the only woman who wants to keep my house keys and mobile phone in my pocket in case I lose my handbag somewhere?
And the shoes. Well, shoes have been the bane of my life for as long as I can remember.
Just why are women’s shoes so murderously uncomfortable? Why do flat shoes have paper-thin soles? Every pebble on the footpath sends a thunderbolt of pure agony straight through my foot.
Why do most pumps have no straps to hold them on, so I have to walk along with my feet clawing onto them? Why do heels have to be so high? Seriously, is there a woman alive who can walk home from work in six-inch heels? Why have so many boots got no grips? Just wait until the frost comes and then we’ll have mayhem in A&E again.
Men would never put up with wearing ridiculous balcony bras and see-through knickers and knee-breaking six-inch heels. Well, none of the men I know. So why do we girls put up with it?
Please, for the love of God, will somebody open a new fashion house in Northern Ireland? And please, will they make a nice pair of non-scratchy trousers suitable for a tall lady with a small waist?
And can they make some tops that come right up to my neck and go right down to my waist, with sleeves that reach to my elbows? And please, could they make some comfy underwear that’s suitable for boring old daywear?
And listen: I’d pay good money for a pair of black suede ankle boots with comfortable uppers and heels I can walk in and grips on the soles.
I just want to open the wardrobe in the morning and get dressed, like my husband does. Instead of standing there and sighing with despair, because the one pair of trousers that fits me is still in the wash.
So I’ll either have to wear an evening dress, or a pair of old jogging pants to go to the corner shop. Or I’ll have to wait until my trousers are washed and then dried on the radiator (I haven’t room for a dryer) before I can leave the house. Yes, the situation is that bad.
I never thought I’d say this, but I’m wondering if I should just give up the struggle and buy a few velour tracksuits and some trainers.
Are there any retired tailors who might help me? There must be a business opportunity in this? Every woman I know says she can’t find anything to fit either.