Trousers are another matter entirely. For some reason I have never fathomed, most stores, even stores aimed at the “larger man”, assume that if you have a large waist, you will have short legs. Even High and Mighty (a store that I loathe, anyway) assume that you are either High, or Mighty, but not both.
There are a number of online stores that I can buy cheap cargo pants and joggers for wearing around the house and the garden, but getting a quaility trouser always seems an effort.
So it was a pleasant experience last year, when I was in San Francisco, to find “Rochester Tall and Big”, a store a bit like High and Mighty, but with class and without the attitude. They, too, only had ready-to-wear trousers (or should I say pants?) in my waist in 29-inch leg or less; but they also had racks of “unfinished” trousers, waiting to be turned up to your exact requirement. In my case, 33-inches.
What is more, they measured me, pinned the turnups and then made the alterations while I went and had lunch.
I bought two pairs from them, and have worn them for the last year. Each time I washed them, they came up like new. While on holiday in Dorset, last month, I snagged a pair on a bench seat, and badly tore them. I’d gotten good wear from them, but my immediate thought was “where will I replace them?”
Have no fear, young Chris, because Rochester’s have a store in Knightbridge, oppossite Harrods. I called ahead, and confirmed they stocked the same range, and were not just a poor English version. Then yesterday, I ventured down to London for a day’s shopping.
The store is deceptively large – at ground level, it is a single door, leading down a corridor to a lift. However, they take up a large portion of the first floor of the building, with clothes for the taller, wider and taller-and-wider man. I picked up 3 pairs of trousers, and also two jackets, which I hadn’t intended. Clothes for the larger man invariable come at a premium (whether it is because we are captive market, or because it needs so much more cloth, I have no idea). So the trousers were around a hundred quid a pair. But the jackets – both very nice, and my size – were on the reduced rack, marked down from 250 quid (yeah!) to 60 and 80 quid. Well, I don’t mind spending that on a jacket, so I bought both.
Unlike my SF experience, they were unable to make alterations on the spot, but they’d told me that in advance, so it was no problem. They offered to pin the trousers and have them ready for collection at a later date, but that would have meant another trip to London, so I took them as they were. I figure getting them turned up locally should be no problem.
Leaving my wares with them, I went and had a look around Harrods, something that I always start with enthusiasm, but quickly tire of. During which I had that beef sandwich I mentioned yesterday.
After looking at a few other shops in the area, I picked up my packages, and took a lazy walk through Hyde Park, stopping for a while to read in the sun. Once on Oxford street, I walked down to Selfridges and had the famous hot salt beef.
I was planning to go further down Oxford Street, but I’d had a pretty full day, and my feet were starting to hurt, so I jumped on the train again and headed home, tired, but happy.