Monday, October 17, 2011

The Economy and My Sleeping Shorts

I'm gonna talk about my shorts.  Now, before you all run away screaming, there's actually a point to this.  So, I took my sleeping shorts out of the dryer and realized that the elastic was getting all frayed and raggedy.  They're actually cotton shorts I got from Wal-Mart in Milledgeville, probably around 1995, Pro-Spirit brand, 100% cotton.  But since they're 16 years old, and I haven't stayed the same weight all those years, they've gotten worn out (trust me, there's a reason to all this).  So I decided to go to the local Wal-Mart and find a new pair of shorts just like the ones I have. 

Problem. There isn't any.  Things have changed since 1995.  Briefly:

  • All except one brand only sells athletic shorts in Polyester or some form of microfiber.  I want cotton! The one I found, which was the right fabric...
  • Was also way too long.  Fashion has changed since the 1990's, and changed a bunch since the 80's.  I don't even know why they call them shorts any more.  If I wore those they'd go down well past my knees, I might as well wear sweatpants.  
Now, before you all get an image of me wearing shorts in public, let me assure you, these are simply for lounging around the house in.  Maybe you'd be lucky enough to see me mowing the lawn in them (which would never happen, since I don't, as a rule, "mow the lawn."
  • It's also October 15th, and most stores have stopped selling shorts except for those long, polyester basketball shorts that are silly looking.  Go back and look at NBA games from the late 1980's.  They didn't have any problem wearing shorter shorts to play hoops.  And these were the masters of the game.  Michael Jordan, Larry Byrd....etc..., and if they are proud enough of their legs to show them off on TV to millions of people, then there must not be much wrong with them.  But that gets to the next section of this blog.
So I went to Goodwill, and they've put up their shorts for the season.  I thought, maybe a sporting good store would have some good, comfortable, shorter shorts.  Running shorts or something.  Even getting past the fabric, I had another problem...
  • I'm fat. They don't sell running shorts (ones that are created to not be fashionable) in a 46 waist.  It doesn't exist in a mainstream clothing store.
Tried everywhere in Conyers, and found nothing but long, annoying polyester shorts that would be uncomfortable for me to wear. So I went online and found what I was looking for.  Hanes carries Lounge shorts (Kohl's did too, long ago), that would work.  But they are carried during the summer, so I'll wait till Springtime to find them.  Online they are available, but expensive ($20.00 for one pair, they're 2-packs at Wallyworld. 

I also found that people in Europe are far less affected by fashion and capitalism (more on that in a minute) than we are, and most sports dictate a soccer (futbol) style short to play in.  Great, but it's still Adidas style polyester.  But Rugby, in the old world, uses 100% cotton shorts that are of the right length.  They even have pockets!!  So that's what I've decided to get, once I get money and a job and stuff.  Yes, I just wrote a whole blog on my shorts.  Live with it.  And there's a reason for it too.  Because I found some interesting things while looking in the clothing stores that relate to the economy, to fashion, and to the whole state of things.

I was in Belk's, looking for a shirt to do interviews in, one that I can wear I tie with, and I noticed that there were a ton of short-sleeved dress shirts in all different colors.  I've ranted many times about the insane fashion of wearing long sleeve shirts in the middle of summer in Georgia. So now they've gotten fashionable again.  Sigh... and now I don't need them cause I don't have a job, or money.  But I wondered, what would make short sleeved shirts now in vogue?  And short women's shorts (I don't get that, either, well, I do, but that's another article I've probably already written), and the sudden popularity of "skinnyjeans."  Okay, so guys can wear skinnyjeans that leave nothing to the imagination, but shorts must be long and baggy?  Again, another blog).  It has to do, I think, with the amount of material it takes to make each item of clothing.

The recession has made every company find ways to cut costs, from the incredible shrinking ice cream container to the cheapening of fabric around the letter jackets I see at the Heritage High School football games.  I mean, seriously, it's just imitation leather now.  The trick for the fashion industry is to save money any way they can, from lessening the metal accessories on high-end jeans to reducing the length of sleeves.  If companies can convince the working man that short sleeve shirts are more fashionable (by using intriguing color combinations with matching ties), and then charge them the same, they are saving money in the long run.  My mom watches HSN quite a bit, and all they have are capri pants now, not the full length ones, because they save money by shortening the pant's length. 

If you go to Kohl's today, you'll find a considerable lack of big, baggy jeans.  They aren't financially viable anymore. You can still get them at Hot Topics, for a ton of money. And now you're thinking, why doesn't this apply to all the long shorts they still make by the ton? Well, the key to saving money on less fabric is to convince the public that the change of fashion is all the rave.  For guys, for long basketball shorts, they have to reverse the course that they took in the 1990's.  To entice guys to buy shorts-that-weren't-short, they had to put a social stigma on the previous length.  Namely, that if you liked short shorts, you had to be gay.  And Richard Simmons didn't help that out at all.  When the NBA went to longer shorts, and the stigma of being gay if you wore short shorts stuck, they had it made.  Of course, if you look at Pride parades and the like in the various cities, you'll see that the stereotype is partially true. So, to save money on shorts, the textile industry is going to have to persuade everyone that wearing short shorts is perfectly acceptable for all sexualities, genders, and cultures.  This, as you know, will not work.

I, myself, don't care about fashion.  I wore velcro shoes till I was in High School.  I hate how longer shorts hit the back of my knees when I walk.  I hate the feel of those mesh polyester shorts that never keep you cool, and for sleeping, polyester does not work.  So I've got to find short, cotton, shorts to lounge around in.  You may now return to washing your eyes out with soap.

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