fred sets off to shop!

I swam into town the night before last, leaving Himself out in Flintstone Manor to cope with the possibility of power failures and isolation. If the rains escalate while I'm in town shopping for hats and shoes , I trust that Himself will stay put. We have a gas stove (can be lit with match), candle-powered hurricane lanterns all around the house, and I always leave the can-opener OUT IN PLAIN VIEW BETWEEN TWO CANDLES WHERE I HOPE EVEN A MAN COULD FIND IT.

I hope he'll stay put if disaster strikes, because the roads that connect the South Fork of Long Island with the Rest of the World are world-famous for heavy traffic and lengthy back-ups; summer, rain, spot floods and thick ground fog only add to the charm. They are also festively decorated with signs that read "Hurricane Evacuation Route" or sometimes just "Evacuation Route."  And the county's official Hurricane Preparedness Guide suggests keeping your passport with you!

You'd need a passport only if you went in the other direction, that is, into the Atlantic and on to Portugal, so one wonders what they really expect. Clearly, from the available choice of roads, nothing good.  Enough about preparedness, except to say that I am always well stocked with unscented white pillar candles from Target. It's bad enough to be isolated and crazy worried about everybody you know and don't know. Ambiguous chemical floral aromas do nothing to improve the situation. I would rather return to find him sozzled and unwashed at home than apoplectic in a shelter with the car abandoned when he lost it.....

I want to buy a hat or two for the coming fall/winter season, and I have to start trying on shoes. This must happen as early as possible because cute hats that actually fit my Very Large Head are rare beasts indeed. One size fits all is not a true statement. One size fits most is equally non-inclusive. Take it from me, a shoe in a Medium width will need stuffing on me, and a size L or even L/XL hat - isn't. In the days when a Lady didn't leave home without a hat, how could one avoid being forever housebound? I put this to my Oldest Living Female Relative, who explained:
Women's hats once came in sizes based on the diameter of your head. If you had a large head, you would buy, oh, a 22 ½ or  22¾.
She continued:
In fact, most women's articles once were specifically sized. Shoes came in widths from AAAAA to D. You could also find shoes with a "combination last," for example, a shoe with a AA heel and a B rest of the shoe. Shirts came in real sizes, none of this S-M-L. Nylon stockings came in real sizes. Sweaters came in sizes 30 to 38. Socks came in numbered sizes, and you measured your sock size by wrapping the sock, heel to toe, around your fist. If it just met, that was your size. 
She went on, you wouldn't think such a sweet old bat could convey such ire.
Compare buying a woman's shirt in a size S with buying a man's shirt, where you need to know his collar size in ¼ inch increments and his sleeve length in ½ inch increments. Men's belts are also available in inches. Men's shoes are still made in a great choice of widths.
 Where, oh, where, can one find this degree of over-the-counter specificity in women's articles? OLFR blushingly replied, "Well, dear, one place is in the brassière department." This is true - cup and band. Anywhere else? More blushes: "Not at my age, dear, but I understand they are still considered fairly reliable protection."

I guess if the fit of what you wear is really, really important to the people who - in reality -  control the manufacture and marketing of women's articles, you can find it really well sized. And if your shoes pinch, take them off and lie down.

Um, I just thought of a product for men that is available in sizes from Gigantic to Unbelievable.


  1. I feel your pain on the hat sizing issue. I have a giant head and I have never found a women's hat that fit. So sad :(

  2. Southern Belle Ph.D.August 17, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    I soooo understand. I apparently have a large head as well. This was discovered in high school when I was in the marching band. I do love hats though. I also recall the days of shoes that really fit my 5A heel and 4A foot. Now I am pretty much required to buy Stuart Weitzman shoes to get the necessary 4A shoe. And if I like them, I buy them. Read "desperation." Very much enjoyed what you OLFR had to offer!!

  3. I wish shoes still were consistently sized for width. I like Cole Haan which I can get in narrows and Tory Burch which runs really narrow even though they aren't sized for width. If it weren't for those two companies I wouldn't have anything to wear on my feet.

    Sweaters really haven't changed even though numeric sizing has been replaced by lettering. They still pretty much follow the same sizing with small being equal to a 34 and going up or down by two inch increments. Obviously that doesn't work for anything oversized, but it still applies to normal, slightly fitted sweaters.

    What I resent the most are coats and jackets with lettered sizing. I wear a 2 or 4. Most places have XS as a 0-2 and small as a 4-6. Since I fall squarely in the middle, most XS are a little too tight and S are a little too big. Neither is right.

    If it makes you feel any better, I too have a big head. DS could wear an adult 0 hat in Lacoste at age 4. Tiny headed DH can wear the same hat. DS takes after me...

  4. Hi, ladies, thanks for stopping by!

    Hats: I'm very happy for winter with a tweed newsboy cap and a tweed bucket hat which I ordered from an Irish company called Hanna's Hats. They actually called me back - from Ireland! - to make sure I really wanted the women's bucket hat in the size I checked.

    Shoes: Oh, everyone's feet are different. I can find one or two things that work if I spend days on the project and make a capital investment. Sigh.

    My dad always told me that I had a Very Large Head because I had a Very Large Brain and needed a place to keep it! Obviously, from your reports, there's more than one Brain of Substantial Size and Power out there.

    And Nana always claimed that narrow feet are a sign of noble blood. Go figure.


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