Over Christmas, I learnt to weld. I needed clothes to wear, and so started with my dad's old gear. Which worked okay, but was a bit bulky and awkward. Of course, it's not insane to want clothes to fit you. I decided to check out the local workwear store in town, and not surprisingly they didn't have any women's safety gear. I wouldn't have minded so much, except for the fact that for a girl I'm a little odd shaped as it is. Small waist with very round butt, hips and thighs and short legs. Women's pants don't tend to fit well so men's are usually out of the question completely unless I'm okay with a 92 inch waist and to roll up the legs.
I thought I'd wait until I was back in Sydney because being the largest city in Australia I thought they'd be decent enough to stock the women's ranges offered by KingGee, Bisley, etc.
Today was the day I was going out to get stocked up on clothes. I really am a creature of habit and discovered as a teenager that I am terrible at looking trendy in the latest fashion. There was a lot of heartache before I learned to accept my own style. Which usually includes clothes I can be comfortable in studying, walking dogs, bushwalking and tinkering in. My other half is used to it now, but I think he sometimes wishes I could put my hands on something that isn't stained, have holes in it or wearing thin.
On my list was a pair of work pants. As a kid, I trashed my clothes. As an adult too, but I learnt to only trash cheap tees and cargos. No one ever told me, and it never occurred to me to buy something built for work. Only recently did it become obvious, when out gardening my other half exasperatedly asked me why I didn't have work pants; something he's had since he was 14.
So into the shop I went. So many styles of work gear. Your traditional heavy drill cotton trousers and shorts, bright pink, yellow and orange safety vests and even the $200 Bisley women's steel cap boot. This my friend is the clue that made me think I'd find what I wanted. After spying a very cool looking pair of rip-stop men's cargo pants I asked the sales girl (one of two) where the women's version was.
Nope. Doesn't exist.
Disappointed, realising I'd be stuck with the basic cotton drill navy straight leg pant I asked where they were.
Haha! Nope! Not those either.
No women's gear.
40+ men's styles from short to pant to casual polo there was not one stitch of women's gear.
Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me.
The girl gestured to the mens. I explained my dilemma. I'm... robust? Curvy? Womanly? Portly? Can women be portly? Men's trousers didn't work. too narrow in the leg, too high in the crutch and generally not an option. She sighed and apologised.
I thanked her, and in a last ditch attempt to salvage myself I had a better look around. Maybe there was a nice, wide leg, baggy assed men's cargo I could try. And that's when I spied them.
The super adorable kids safety shirts. The smallest size was about a 3. In pink and orange. I had seen them on TV, but here they were for sale. This established, well stocked store had thought of the children.
Not the women that actually work and need proper work gear. But the children of the tradies so they could look like mini grownups. Someone had thought, yes! Let's make a space for these! But let's not bother with anything for women. The market isn't big enough, we'll never sell any. They can make do with ill fitting men's gear. But your little darling can look like daddy when they're at home!
So you bet your ass I wrote an email.
There's a difference between not finding clothes to your taste and not even being offered any to start with. The heartache from years of never having the right sized bra in stock (or it not even existing) was torture. This just pissed me off. Especially seeing there is women's gear available. It's just that the store manager didn't choose to stock it.
And brick and motor stores wonder why we head online in droves. Choice.