Costumes and the Internet

[First: a disclaimer. I don’t know if I have ever actually playfully teased a woman for complaining about shopping for clothes, clothes sizes, or anything like that, but if I have: I sincerely apologize.]

I, like so many geeks before me, go to comic cons. A lot of them, in fact. I consider myself a member of many fandoms: Star Wars, Star Trek, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, etc., etc., and far too many others.

Like a lot of my fellow geeks, I would like to occasionally dress as a member of one of my fandoms. “Cosplay,” for the uninitiated.

One of my favorite fandoms is Firefly, that incredibly excellent, but short-lived, Joss Whedon creation that succumbed far too early to the ravages of Fox-network-osis. The easiest cosplay to do from that show, for me, is Jayne Cobb. Mercenary for hire and unwitting member of the Serenity family (despite his best efforts), a Jayne costume is essentially a pair of boots, some cargo-type pants (dark), and one of his signature t-shirts, along with a sidearm and the by-now-requisite “cunning cap,” which apparently even non-Firefly fans can identify. Add to this the fact that Jayne sports a goatee, which I also prefer, and it’s quick and identifiable to every fan at the venue.

But I wanted more. So I thought, “why not go online and find a Captain Malcolm Reynolds costume?” Why not, indeed?

I realize that the idea of buying clothes over the internet, especially from overseas (which is where so many of these costuming places work out of) is dicey. I’ve read the stories of women who have ordered dresses, only to end up with not-quite-the-same-thing they ordered. I have actually seen some really nice costumes from some of those places in person, though, so I figured “how bad could it be?”

But it’s not like I went into this blind, or anything.

Not thinking I needed to do a custom order, I checked the various suppliers and their size charts (which are surprisingly the same, like there’s a standard or something… weird). I settled on the XL variety from one of the websites whose pictures seemed the most promising. For the record: none of the sites seemed unduly overpriced, so don’t think that I simply said, “that one’s the cheapest.”

Any-who, the default sizes on the XL are for someone 71-73″ tall (I’m 72″), pants 40-42″ waist (my dress pants are 38″), shirt and coat 46-48″ chest (I measured 46″), and sleeve length of 36″.

So, I paid, they made, it shipped. It arrived yesterday.

So, right out of the box, I wish the browncoat was a bit… browner. It’s not bad, but darker would be better. Not a big deal, though. A bit tight across the shoulders and chest though…

The shirt? VERY tight across the chest. If I lift my arms, I’m going to tear it. And the sleeves, as soon as I raise my arms out in front of me, come sliding halfway up my forearms. And it’s short in the torso. So short I don’t think it would stay tucked into the pants.

And speaking of the pants…

Malcolm Reynolds pants weren’t peach-colored, were they? I don’t think so. I’m fairly certain they fell into the tan/khaki range. But certainly not peach.

I did put them on, and they closed and zipped, but if I tried to sit down… I could feel the seams starting to stretch and creak.

Emailed them, and sent pictures as their webpage requests. They responded by asking for pics of me measuring the costume to verify how it matches up to their chart.

Sleeves: 34″ (too short by 2″). Chest: 46 (technically good, but no way a 48″ chest gets in either the shirt or coat). Waist: 40″ (again, technically good, but a 42″ has no hope).

Sent the pictures back, reminding them of the color problem in the pants again, and am now waiting to hear what they say.

Regardless of what they say, I suppose I will be looking for a different supplier, and will err even farther on the side of caution and order the XXL.


Because what I have learned is this: we are not as tall, skinny, big, small or beautiful as we think we are, no matter what a tape measure or our existing clothes say, at least at far as clothes sizes go.

Ladies, once again I offer my apologies and empathy. Guys do not realize how often you all must deal with crap just shopping for real clothes, much less special clothes.

Oh, and by now you must be thinking, “why didn’t he include any pictures of himself wearing the costume?”

Because I’m not stupid. Duh.

Even I have standards. Not many, but I do have them.


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