Help – my clothes are shrinking!

Well, not really, but somebody’s been buggering about with men’s clothing sizes the last few years.

I’ve got clothes going back about 10 years (hey, they were expensive – I look after them – and I weigh the same now as then – sadly!), and the size – XL – fits me perfectly, with my waterproofs having enough room to go over a couple of fleeces and still leave room for luxuries, like breathing.

Now, though, an XL waterproof jacket will just about take a T-shirt under it – anything more and breathing becomes problematic – and a new XL fleece, from the same manufacturer as my old XL fleece, Craghoppers, is way too small.

I’ve just had to order a 4XL waterproof bikers’ jacket (below), for use on my scooter, so I can be sure of getting sufficient warm clothes under it during the winter (the company does, at least, have the sense to publish the actual measurements, to make things easier – many don’t).

Update, October 18. Jacket has arrived, and has ample room for me to fill with insulating fleeces when it gets cold. Also, and not apparent from the pic, the back is heavily elasticated, so it fits snugly over a just T-shirt, without being baggy. Note too – as I expected from the pic – it is without external pockets (it’s intended to go over leathers). As pockets, if carelessly closed, can fill with rain, this isn’t a bad thing (there’s a decent-sized inside pocket under the storm-flap). Something else not apparent is a drawcorded hem, to keep out cold draughts. The cuff closure is assembled back to front for my needs – maybe a manufacturing fault, or a design fault, I don’t know, but it takes seconds to figure out how to get around it and it isn’t a problem. For the money, very hard to fault.

One cock-up. The jacket folds into its own pocket in the back lining, which has a cord-lock closure. Not too clever, as you’re going to wind up sitting on the cord lock when wearing it, so that’s coming off. Er – that’s it.

The 2XL bikers’ jacket I originally bought for winter (a size bigger than I thought I needed, based on previous experience), turns out to be rather smaller than my old XL gear.  OK for summer and autumn only, as all I can get under it is a light fleece jacket – in winter I’ll need 2 fleeces and a full set of thermals! Maybe a sweatshirt, too. All I can say is they must be breeding some bloody skinny bikers these days.

It’s the same with gloves. All my adult life I’ve been medium – now I have to buy large.

As far as I know, though, nobody has announced any size changes, they just happened, and screw you if you shop online, or by mail order, because you won’t have a sodding clue.

So on that basis, I recommend Get Geared from where I’m getting my new jacket, and who have the brains to publish the actual dimensions! Also worth a look for thermals (the microfleece underwear looks pretty good), and gloves for summer and winter (bare hands on a wet summer day are just miserable). To be honest, the jacket I’m getting isn’t remotely elegant (a “bag with sleeves” design, in black), but as long as it keeps rain and wind out, and heat in, I’m past caring. They do, by the way, have more stylish – and vastly more expensive – designs, but really they’d be overkill at 8mph!

By the way, if you’re tempted by any other biker items, bear in mind that a lot of it is very function-specific. If you fancy a balaclava, for example  (don’t snigger; if you’re much under 30 you’ve probably never experienced a seriously cold winter; a good chance of that under 40, too** – depending on where you live, of course), they are designed to be worn under a helmet, and you’ll be better at a store selling walkers’ gear.

**Finding the front door frozen shut, so you can’t get out, or having your fingers briefly freeze to the car door-handle, or exhaling in relief, sitting in the car after ten minutes de-icing it, only to have your breath freeze on every pane of glass Even less fun when there’s two of you.

The last winter I saw like that was 1984-85, when, while driving over the Cat & Fiddle pass from Buxton, around midday in January, the whole interior of the car became sheathed in ice. from our breath, the engine was so chilled the heater gave out barely a warm breath, and the screen-washer reservoir, just behind the engine where it was normally kept warm, froze solid.

That’s balaclava weather! And we have a hell of a lot of drivers who haven’t the remotest idea how to cope with such conditions, because they’ve never seen them.  Just a thought, in case we get the hard winter we’ve been promised.

A scooter, by the way, will cope with a hard frost, as long as it’s stored indoors and on charge, so you start out with warm batteries. Nothing sucks the energy out of batteries like sub-zero temperatures. Just keep your range down – not that you’ll be wanting to be out for long anyway.

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2 thoughts on “Help – my clothes are shrinking!

  1. This is a strange one, Ron. The exact opposite has happened with women’s clothes – for example, what used to be a size 12 is now a size 10. We’re supposed to be flattered by this and so buy more clothes. In fact, it’s just irritating and confusing. (I think some sort of survey was done asking women what they thought, and most were more befuddled than flattered.)

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