Shopping for Skinny Guys? A Waist of Time.

Harry McCarthy laments the high street’s unwillingness to cater for the 21st Century rake.

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Unlike the majority of the population of the Western world, I did not spend the whole of January doing everything I possibly could to shift some of my festive Ferrero Rocher-induced weight.

Not because I didn’t need to per se, but because any extra weight that I did acquire over the season of goodwill is likely to have dropped off me during the excruciating annual trawl from store to store, trying desperately to find something, ANYTHING in the January sales to fit my unconventional frame.

It is considered dreadfully bad taste by those who are more generously proportioned for folk like me to bemoan our skinny state, but bemoan it I shall, and will continue to do so until at least one shop on the whole of the high street gives in to my demands and makes something that A) I’d be seen dead in and B) actually fits a 27” waist.

Whoever came up with “Thin is In” certainly wasn’t referring to the male population. It would appear that even today, when self-love and body confidence are the mots do jour, that an overwhelming majority of the mainstream high street stores that guys of my age and means tend to shop in are only catering to one of the many types of young man: your average gym enthusiast with pumped up arms, stumpy legs and no visible waistline.

Well, allow me to let you into a secret, Messrs River Island et al.: we aren’t all like that. Some of us have never been to a gym in our lives, have arms and legs like willow branches and waists that would make the daughters of Downton green with envy. Would something other than skinny jeans (which on us don’t even look skinny and need to be held up by a belt done up as tight as it will go) really be too much to ask for?

Thankfully, there is one exception to the rule, and that exception is, of course, Topman, in whose stores those in need of cutting edge fashion in miniscule sizes will almost never be disappointed.

The hugely popular brand sparked outrage among the body-conscious community when it introduced the XXXS, but why? No one batted an eyelid when Debenhams began making its dreadfully mundane garments available to those in need of an XXXL.

Concerns that Topman’s “irresponsible” move would promote the growing trend for “manorexia” were certainly not met with the argument that Debenhams was encouraging obesity, but they should have been.

Just like some men are naturally large (or even extra, extra, extra large), others are naturally skinny. As one such man, I can safely say that it is possible to do no exercise, put double cream in more or less everything and still require a 34” chest skinny-fit jacket – something nowhere other than Topman (not even on Saville Row!) is able to provide.

Until at least one other high-street brand begins to recognise this, my wardrobe will remain full of burgundy chinos and acid wash carrot legs. That’s fine for now, but will it still be acceptable when I’m forty? Perhaps by then somewhere else will have finally answered my needs. Either that or I’ll have given in to Debenhams’ influence and made myself obese.