I loathe shopping for clothes.
I find it a soul-destroyingly miserable endeavour, punctuated by moments of intense rage and bitter resentment.
Take yesterday as an example:
I decided to hit Oxford Street in an attempt to find something to wear at a family wedding on Saturday. There’s no formal dress code (in fact, quite the reverse) and, given that I wasn’t intending to put that much effort into the outfit (I’m attending out of obligation; frankly, I’d rather stay home and poke my eyes out with acid-laced knitting needles), I felt relaxed and untroubled by circumstance.
I know, I’ll by a jacket. Or a blazer. Something blazery, in a jackety kind of way.
And then it begins.
Ooh, that looks nice. Do they have a Medium? Excellent. Right, let’s see how this fits… oh, bother; the sleeves are a bit short. Oh well, I’ll try another one. Oh, there are no more Mediums. Maybe I’ll try another store.
I quite like that one. I’ll put on the Medium, no wait, too big. Ok, let’s see. Ah, a Large- great. Hmm, it feels comfy, it looks good oh, nope; too short at the back.
Wow, I really like this linen, I think I’ll try one on. Just search for my size… ah, they’ve decided against S/M/L and opted for a number-based system, with multiple fits and length combinations.
Cue the forlorn trudge home, via the overcrowded sweaty delayed train, and the untimely blustery downpour.
As you can see, not fun.
It’s bad enough having to suffer the indignity of walking through TOPMAN being judged, let alone discovering that, as you thought, nothing here fits or is in your size. In fact, you shouldn’t be in here at all. Please leave.
Then, out of nowhere last night, it suddenly occurred to me-
What these shops need is a Cataloguer!
We all know the clothing-size-identification-system is flawed and has been for years; so, why hasn’t anyone tried broadening it out a little?
Let’s Dewey-ify Westfield!
100: Mens casual sweater.
100.1: Mens casual sweater- Small
100.11: Mens casual sweater- Small, but with slightly longer arms.
100.110: Mens casual sweater- Small, with slightly longer arms but shorter in body.
100.2: Mens casual sweater- Medium.
(Apologies to our Metadata Co-ordinator, who would undoubtedly gasp in horror at my un-educated, slapdash approach to the craft).
The more I thought about it, the more I realised how much High Street fashion could benefit from Higher Education.
For starters, with Dewey (and orderly shelving) you’d actually be able to find what you’re looking for in H&M (seriously folks, it looked like Primark yesterday).
Imagine having self-check returns?! No more agonising queues, crossing three departments of insurance, luggage and lingerie, only to suffer the impertinent faux-cross examination by an accusatory & suspicious Customer Service assistant intent on declaring you a fraud, as the garment has “clearly been worn.”
No it hasn’t; give me my money back.
I’m not saying I’ve entirely thought this one through- I’m sure there are many drawbacks to my idea.
But, just ruminating on the notion stopped me from opening my front door, exploding in an eruption of vitriol and expletives, before collapsing in a heap of tears and self-pity, all because I couldn’t find anything to make me look nice; and, from despairing over having to return the emergency panic purchase which, in hindsight, doesn’t fit, and I hate it anyway.
Basically, I’m imagining ways in which my work could impact on other industries, in order to avoid a cycle of self-perpetuating emotional torment. I’m clearly growing as an individual.