The cliché about women’s clothing, when compared to men’s clothing, is that we have a lot more variety. There are pants, shirts and the usual, but there are also dresses, dungarees, skirts, gowns, salwars, kurtis, sarees and the list goes on.
So much variety! Awesome. But why is so much of it also impractical?!
Here’s a list of five things we wish clothing brands would take note of, because as surprising as it may seem to them, we aren’t really like the lifeless mannequins who wear these clothes. We like our freedom to move about and work, thank you very much.
Where do I even begin? Let’s start with just how tiny pockets in women’s jeans and trousers are.
In a world where phones are getting bigger, why do women’s clothes have pockets that are getting progressively smaller, or worse, fake?
While you CAN manage to fit your phone in your back pocket, paying a few thousand rupees for a cracked or damaged screen because you accidentally sat on it isn’t really appealing.
Bags are great (there’s lots of variety there too: sling, tote, handbag and so on) but I’d love to go hands-free without having to carry my phone and wallet in my hand at all times. And heaven forbid if you’re the one carrying the bag, because chances are you’re going to end up carrying everyone else’s chapsticks and wallets in it. So much for light and practical.
But you know what’s worse than having small and unusable pockets? FAKE POCKETS.
What is the point of these things? They’re just an extra bit of stitching (or flaps) which will for some reason make the piece of clothing more fashionable (and more expensive) with no practical use whatsoever. There is really no excuse for this.
And even if it weren’t for the practicality, sometimes, I just want to warm my hands by placing them in my pockets (or strut around coolly, you’ll never know), but I can’t. Because they’re too darn small or non-existent.
2. Ridiculously expensive undergarments
Now, you’ve probably discussed all about the best lingerie brands with your girlfriends and the durability of their products but can we talk about just how ridiculously expensive good lingerie is?
And by good I do not mean fancy or flashy lingerie (they’re calling it bridal these days because apparently unmarried women don’t like lacy and red stuff), but the basic bras and panties which can provide decent comfort and support. If I were to go out and buy three simple, underwired, lightly padded bras from affordable brands today, I’d easily have to shell out anything between Rs 2,500 to Rs 4,000.
I'm sure there are folks who can explain the logic behind this pricing or point me towards cheaper alternatives, but that’s not the point. A comfortable and supportive bra is NOT a luxury, it's something all women wear. Whether women should wear bras considering the garment is a patriarchal construct is another discussion for another day.
Given how commonly bras are worn, shouldn’t they be more financially accessible and not require me to sell off a kidney?
And let’s not even get started on luxury bras: you know, the strappy, strapless, backless, stick-on kinds. Now, if you have no qualms about having your bra show and comfort is your priority, more power to you.
But not every woman is comfortable with her undergarments peeking from the clothes. And finding a bra which fits the right proportion of peek-through or is completely invisible is nothing short of a treasure hunt.
For one, these are more expensive - even though less or the same amount of fabric is used as a normal bra, the "multi-purpose" demands that you pay more. And for women who have differently sized breasts or a heavier chest, finding the customizable bra with the right support can be a nightmare.
3. Smaller = Get ready to shell out big bucks
This one always beats me. The smaller women’s clothes get, the more expensive they are going to be. Logically, shouldn’t something that uses less fabric cost less? So how on earth does a pair of denim shorts cost the same if not more than a pair of jeans? How can a bikini top cost more than a full sleeved top?
It’s almost as if the garment industry is conspiring to morally police women to cover up more (just kidding, unless you believe me).
4. Thin, see-through material
The other day I was looking through an e-commerce clothing store to buy some tops to wear to work or for an evening out. Considering summer is almost upon us, I was looking for something that looks nice and professional but allows me to breathe too.
Needless to say, my exercise wasn’t much of a success. Most of the clothes I liked were either synthetic fabric, or too see through. Now I have no problem if my undergarments or their lines make a show but not every woman wants that. Neither is that considered appropriate in every environment.
And I get that layering is a thing but what if I don’t want to wear three layers of clothing, no matter how thin they are? I don’t want to buy a fancy camisole for a fancier top. Just something nice and comfortable to wear to work and an evening out without having to carry a coat along: is that too much to ask for?
This is not to say that there are no options, but so much of women’s clothing in this regard is meant to put them on show than designed for the comfort of the wearer. Why should we have to choose between comfort and practicality?
How many times have you loved a garment but have had to let it go because it's just a little too tight or loose in one place? There’s already a lot of literature on how women’s clothing sizes are arbitrary and not really made for flesh and blood people who may not necessarily fit into the body type which rule the Small, Medium and Large labels.
There’s more talk now about plus size women and models but even so, shopping as a plus sized woman can be a difficult experience: you’re cut off from a lot of fashion because it won’t “suit” your body or it’s still hard to find something that fits right.
There’s also the one size trend: where a garment is made in one size because apparently, that can fit everyone. Standardisation of bodies has always been a thing with sizing but this takes it another level. Check out this video to show how impractical this one size is:
(Opinions expressed here are personal opinions of the author.)