I don’t usually shop for myself. When I get a few bucks, I’d rather spend it on my kids. As a result, my meager wardrobe rotation gets pretty threadbare before I finally break down and try to replace something. Thank God for ‘Jeans Day Fridays’ at work, because I was down to four workable pairs of pants.
If it isn’t obvious already, I’m not a clotheshorse. I don’t need to wear the big labels to feel good about myself. Never did growing up, still don’t now that I am a grownup.
So, I stop by Target and picked up a pair of Wrangler cargo pants. Twenty bucks, fits reasonably well; fully functional. If I had my druthers, I’d buy 10 pair. Beth won’t let me wear the same pants every day. I’m so glad I married her.
I decided to try my luck at the mall. I first headed into Aeropostale. The perky little high school kid came up to me almost immediately and asked if I needed help finding anything. I think she was shocked to find a thirty-something guy without kids in tow. I told her I needed pants, not skinny jeans, and gave her a quick flex of my money-makers. I swear she uttered, “Oh, Jesus” before becoming introspective. Maybe they had something in the back. The best she could muster was relaxed straight leg. I found a pair in my size and found the dressing room. Shockingly, this wasn’t going to cut it. I looked like I’d been given a khaki spray tan. She met me outside the dressing room with such a hopeful look that I felt bad letting her down. “Sorry, I’m kind of a freak,” I said as I left.
I’ve always had troubles finding the right fit. I have a big neck, big chest, and reasonable sized waist. My chest is more than 12″ bigger than my waist. By the time I find a shirt that I can button around the neck, it’s like I’m wearing a tent. My feet are size 11 long, but 4E wide. My sneakers could pass for snowshoes. My superpower, my calves, make it impossible to wear tall hiking boots or ski boots.
A word about my calves. BigCalfGuy’s got some big calves. Before I was well-known at my weekend job (where I’m allowed to wear shorts), I was known simply as “that big calf guy.” Some perspective: when Arnold Schwarzenegger first hit it big, he demanded to be photographed ONLY from the knee up. Even at the beach he was always in shin-deep water. Frustrated, he sought the great Joe Weider for advice. Joe gave him the secret to monster calves – and at his biggest, he only got 1″ of circumference on yours truly.
When did the world drift away from baggy, casual, and boot cut? These words used to mean success to me. If I read the new right, aren’t we as Americans getting bigger all the time? Why must we insist on slim fit skinny jeans? Seriously? It’s like Kryptonite for a guy like me.
I had similar luck in American Eagle. Nothing in a Size: Grown Man. I ended up at J.C. Penny, where the rest of the geriatrics shop (apparently). I bought two pairs of Dockers, but even they didn’t have a wide leg. I ended up settling for a waist size 2″ bigger than I’d have liked, just to get a leg that fit. I wear a belt every day anyway.
I can hear the feminists painting their signs, so before you start your picket march around my house, let me finish by saying that I get it. We men have it WAY easier than you ladies do. A pair of Dockers and a polo shirt get me through 90% of situations I encounter. I don’t know how you do it. I also recognize that a size 8 in one store has almost no relationship to a size 8 in another. Is that why it takes you all so long to shop for clothes; because you have to try EVERYTHING on?
Have you run into any similar situations yourself? Is there a specific style or cut that sends you running? Is there a cheap line of clothing best suited for a guy with a muscular leg? Help a brother out and leave a comment.