Saturday, May 31, 2008

Online clothes shopping for fat men

When you weigh an ounce or two more than 20 stones (that's 280 pounds for our Western neighbours... or nearly 128 kilos for our Eastern ones), you eventually come around to the conclusion that the local Dunnes Stores just isn't going to have a good supply of summer clothing that covers your beer belly.

The "smallest" size I can wear these days in tops or teeshirts is XXXL. Now, either the news reports about the slobbering spread of obesity in the Western world isn't getting through to the store buyers, or there are a heck of a lot of slightly built, fit building workers still roaming about. I say this because any given day there is hardly room to manoeuvre around displays of S, M and L sizes in the Menswear departments.

It's like finding a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket to see an XXXL label on a teeshirt in our local shopping centres. I almost knocked Herself over a couple of weeks ago on seeing two (count them!) at the bottom of a pile of polo shirts.

So I've turned to the Internet for summer clothes. Lately I visited a UK-based site,, where I purchased the above classy number. I'll be wearing it this June Bank Holiday weekend as I tend the barbeque and no doubt shall be the life and soul of the party in it for.... oh.... two whole minutes, maybe.

Apart from the printed tees, the site supplies various coloured styles and other clothes up to 13XL sizes. (I'd like to see a label that says XXXXXXXXXXXXXL....!)

The "Anorexia" tee is available at £12.99 (€16.54) with postage and packing extra. In all I chose 5 items: "Anorexia"; the Duke Spirit Linen Mix, the Espionage Cotton tee, and two Izod Cotton Polo Shirts. The whole came to £72.95 (€93.00) inclusive of postage and packing.

By the way, €93.00 would purchase fifteen and a half summer tee shirts of good quality in my local Dunnes Stores outlet. Money sent abroad because they don't cater for my size. Think on, Department Store owners!

Everything came through in good time and good order, with the slight exception of the Izod shirts. The Website also caters for the TALL man as well as the wide, and Herself has been looking askance at me in my brightly coloured cotton dresses. I show her the maker's label and say:

"This is the style in Pakistan!"

But she isn't persuaded. So the moral of the story is to read the Sizing charts provided on the site and do as much online examination of the product as possible before placing an order. I'll definitely be shopping there again.

One might well ask why it is I'm paying for UK Sterling-priced products given the weakness of the US Dollar against the Euro. Well, the US-based sites I visited seem not to be aware of the rest of the world as a potential market. "There is no postal rate for your area" one online ordering system told me. "You'll be contacted with the details of the additional cost once your order is placed."

"One pig in a poke, please!"

Or, if they do, they equate the distance travelled in the post to be roughly equivalent to a trip from Earth to Mars, making the postage and packing rates wildly expensive.

If anyone locates a reasonably-priced US site that sells tees to places outside the USA, please let me know.

E-Bay is another place I've looked, again with mixed results. One guy had an offer of six teeshirts from his online shop for £40 Sterling and wanted another £40 p&p to send it 100 miles to Ireland!

We're not getting thinner, only poorer, it seems. I'm off now to get the garden into order for Sunday's barbie.

Have a great weekend!


Angharod said...

Love the Anorexia shirt...will have to look for one here for Himself. He's a 2X, and also hard to buy for.

No wonder the Irish pop over to NY etc. when they need new clothes. Prices there are a disgrace...I never found much (except a sweater or two) that either fit my size OR my budget...except in the thrift stores! When next I come I'll raid the Thrifts and buy an extra bag to bring cheap cast offs home.

Willie_W said...

Yes, Angh. It is more cost effective to bring an empty suitcase on a flight to New York, ignore the sight-seeing and take an organised tour of the best shopping (not necessarily the big-name stores). Several US-based tours are available with just this in mind.

There's also been controversy recently about the mark-up charged in shops in Ireland which are UK based. Price tags for Ireland come with the UK Sterling price and a Euro price which appears to be wildly out of step with the exchange rate (and not to the shopper's benefit). We are told to "shop around", as if there's time and the will to do this! We'll always be ripped off, I think. It's something in the water.