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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Trouser shopping — a reflection

I do not enjoy trouser shopping. Other items of clothing either come in well-defined sizes, or a coat, say, I can slip on by the rack. Trousers are harder. You have to find some promising candidates, then go off to a tiny cubicle and get half undressed to try them on. And if you don't like those ones, you have to get redressed and start the whole thing over again. In my opinion, only shoe purchasing is more irritating, where you need to get someone to help you before you can even get started. (Unless you happen to only have a left leg, I suppose.)

My ideal would be to go into the store, take off my shoes and trousers, and then wander around trying on pairs until I found the ones I want. Well, you'd think people had never seen a man in underpants before!

What I look for in trousers has altered significantly in recent years (and I'm not talking about flexible waistbands, although these should not be sneared at). One thing I really dislike in trousers nowadays are buttoned flies. When I first bought a pair with buttons up the front I thought it was quaint and amusing, that is until I needed to get in there in a hurry. That's when I realised why humanity had invented zips in the first place. They're not much fun buttoning up either, especially in cold weather when your fingers are numb.

Went I went trouser shopping last week I had a newer consideration in mind: would the pockets be big enough to fit my next mobile phone, now that the tendency is for them to look like small tablets. I don't even know for sure yet that I want a 6" phone, but I do know that my phone has to be able to accompany me wherever I go. As if anticipating the recent announcements from Apple and Google, all the trousers I looked at had capacious side pockets.

Another sign of the times: in Debenhams they have a QR code in the changing rooms so that you could download their wonderful Debenhams app. And on one pair of trousers a tag suggested I might like to text a number to donate three pounds to a marine conservation charity. As I was just about to make a considerably bigger donation to Debenhams, I passed on that one. The connection between marine conservation and what I wear on my legs wasn't obvious; perhaps the idea is that people will feel less guilty about spending a large amount of money on clothing is they donate a small amount to charity, thus allowing them to spend even more on clothes.

Some things, though, never change. As usual it seemed that an army of similar sized people had visited the shops just before me, leaving mostly trousers too wide or too short for yours truly. Or I'd find some with plenty in my size, but I wouldn't be seen dead in them. Not that I'll get much say in the matter.