Not always a good fit

Shopping for clothes is right up there with prostate examinations on most bloke’s personal hate list.

Reading that back, perhaps should have used a term other than ‘right up there’ and ‘prostate examination’ in the same sentence, but I think the damage has now been done.

Anyway, popped into Farmers yesterday arvo. Need some new grunds. It’s been a while.

Well. The grund section looked something like the flags of all nations at the Olympics, although worse: the Olympics if all the competitors were from the cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Can’t help but wonder what the hell happened to blokes grunds. This one sort of sneaked up on us.

I know that in New Zealand we often don’t get such a good deal with clothing, especially now so much is imported. I learned just how bad we are served a few years ago, when I went and got some shoes made tailored for my feet.

I learned a few things. One was that, as I had always suspected, I’ve got feet that are different sizes. Apparently most people have this, but the discrepancy on my feet is bigger than usual – a size and a half difference.

The other thing I learned is that overseas, in the US anyway, you can get shoes for wide feet and narrow feet, but NZ doesn’t have that: we’re just too small a market.

So some years back the shoe people just made a decision, all NZ shoes would be for wide feet. Which means that if, like me, you’ve got narrow feet, you are never going to get shoes that are very comfortable.

I suspect something similar has happened with men’s grunds. My theory is that overseas you can get them for blokes who ‘dress’ to the right or the left, but in NZ we’ve just been lumbered with grunds designed for guys who only ‘dress’ to one side. And it’s not my side.

This would explain why I’ve never had a comfortable pair.

3 thoughts on “Not always a good fit

  1. I used to buy most of my clothes at Hallensteins. Then they stopped selling cotton shirts and went to various flavours of “polynosic”. They actually charged a premium for this. I bought a few, based on a sales guy’s assurances. My regret was almost immediate and has never left me. I referred to this fabric ever after as “poly-obnoxious”. Not long after, while lamenting the lack of cotton clothing to another Hallensteins sales guy, he responded by saying the younger lies liked it and I wasn’t really in their target demographic anyway. Oh. Since that time, 10 years ago, as I look at my wardrobe, I realise I have been buying most of my clothes from a Canadian retailer: “Marks Work Warehouse”. Until very recently, most of their clothes were made in Canada behind tariffs that protected Canadian clothing makers. If I can’t get to Canada, I have mail-ordered what I want. The prices are reasonable and the cost of shipping isn’t too bad if you buy a moderate amount of clothing. Sounds outrageous, I know….Recently, however, the tarrifs were reduced and much that Mark’s now sells is now made in China. When I was in Canada last year, the staff in one store said their customers were getting pretty annoyed seeing the growing number of clothes from China….which are like the clothes in every other store that sells clothes from China. They don’t fit you in Canada, New Zealand or anywhere else if you aren’t thin and not too tall. So look for a country that still protects it’s local industries behind tariff barriers. But you’ll have to ignore the biggest one: China. Joke’s on us…and we can’t wear it comfortably.


  2. Hmm… I think its a bit of a stretch to say clothing will fit you better if its from countries with tariff barriers. I suspect other factors are at play. I would hate to see NZ re-establish such barriers. That’s because when we had that system we had very very expensive clothes. Shoes were particularly bad. I can recall, as a kid in the 70s, losing a couple of pairs of shoes at school, and how upset my mother was. And we weren’t poor, by any means – probably about an average income.


  3. Unless I buy shoes at the Warehouse, they cost me $250 / pair. he best shoes I;ve ever owned were the ones I had custom made by the “Last Footwear Company” in Wellington. I’m not religious on tariffs. If they are needed for some purpose, go for it. If they just collect revenue, take’em off. We will eventually have to reinstate them in some parts of the economy in order to ensure security of supply of basic goods and also to preserve some skill level in manufacturing engineering locally.Much of our existing industrial base and associated skills were created in a protected environment. As that skill base fades and more and more of our economy is dismantled, so will investment as it would be too expensive to be here in NZ, far from markets AND have to train all your staff from scratch. The investment “hill” will get steeper and we will see less and less of it. The same thing is happening to manufacturing now as happened with builders and plumbers 15 years ago when apprenticeships were wiped out. The reality is we are a small country at the arse-end of the world. Living here is a lifestyle choice, not an economic decision. If you want to make money, you’re nuts to stay here…and that is why industry isn’t staying here. The steady stream of plant closures and job losses isn’t being mirrored by job growth. The branch plants of multi-nationals we did have as a legacy of tariffs are rapidly disappearing. Things would be worse already if people couldn’t go to Australia and mask the underlying problem: too much low-skilled / unskilled labour with nothing to do and young people with no few attractive opportunities. My own daughter is facing this right now. She may leave NZ as the only jobs she can get are with people who try to get away with not paying the legal minimum wage. She’s currently on $11.50 and doesn’t want to say anything because she’s afraid they will give hr a bad reference if she makes a fuss about the illegal wage. Her contract is any hours, any time, any day, no overtime. Tariffs used to guarantee lw and unskilled workers some sort of job and through it entree into a world of skills. What to do when they can’t do that any more? Where the skills are the same whether you’re 20 or 60? Economics aside, policy makers don’t seem to be considering the social costs and consequences. They are there and they are growing.


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