IT’S always the little guy who gets the attention.
Wee David was the one who walked away with all the kudos. And ever since, regular Joe and his average-sized counterparts have been decked out in the finest of clobber.
Tall men often have to look on, and wonder what might have happened if the slingshot had missed, and they’d resolved matters by talking. But being king size shouldn’t mean you can’t be as smartly tailored as the next guy. Thankfully, the days of fashion forsaken by the long-limbed are nearing an end. And not before time too.
“There would’ve been a tendency for people to think that a big guy should be happy that he’s not naked,” says Justin Dixon, owner of Tall.ie on Dawson Street, Dublin. “People would think — ‘Sure, he got trousers to fit him and a white shirt. Get him a t-shirt and what not, and sure won’t he be alright?’ — you know. But big guys want fashion too.
“People who’re very tall go into shops expecting to be disappointed. They just think ‘well, I’ll go in, but ...’ Then when they come through the door, and find trendy stuff, properly cut, they don’t know themselves.
“In no time, they get to thinking ‘hey, I want to have a shirt like my mate’. And so they should.
“Who doesn’t want a bit of style?”
High hopes for future threads
Diarmuid Casey (30): Electrician, 6ft 8in
“Looking down on rugby legend Paul O’Connell?” asks Diarmuid Casey, allowing himself a smile.
“I suppose I would be, I am 6ft 8in. Sure, by 14, I was around the 6ft 3in mark. Going into shops back then, I remember saying ‘I don’t care what it costs. Can you get me something?’ But they wouldn’t bother. It wasn’t worth the hassle for them.
“So, I used to order them online, from America,. You’re taking a chance but you’d no choice. Usually, you’d get stuff long enough. But Jesus, it was made for fellas an awful lot wider than you. I’m not skinny or anything, yet what I’d be getting would be way too baggy. So, you’d just belt it up. And drive on. Make do as best you could.
“My mother used to get trousers for me in a shop that would do special orders. I can tell you — you’d be minding your clothes because you’d be lucky to get them. Actually, I was wearing suit pants and shirts when everyone else was in casual stuff. It’s only now I can get jumpers and tops and jeans that I take any notice of fashion.
“Sure I used to wear a formal jacket like a coat. I didn’t even have a hoody or anything like it, you know? The range simply wasn’t there. When I went to my sister’s wedding, I had to wear Dr Martens boots. I couldn’t get shoes. Now, I can be way more relaxed. And when I shop, I might drop €500 or €600 a go. It’ll do me for a year.
“I was down in West Cork recently. and I was talking to a woman, doing a bit of business. And her first question wasn’t about the product I was selling, it was — ‘Where d’ya get the clothes?’ Her son was having the same difficulty as me.”
You’d usually find me in jeans and T-shirts
Mark Lennox (42): Computer Programmer, 6ft 10in
“Pay more, cry once. That’s my motto,” says Mark Lennox, 42, a computer programmer. “I bought a pair of trousers once. And they fit perfectly. They were one of those designer brands. If I found them again, I’d definitely get another pair ... even though they cost €200. Armani wool trousers, that’s what they were.
“I used to save up and travel to Paris, and spend days walking around all the shops. There was nothing here. Of course, you wouldn’t do it too often. But when you’d go, you’d get stuff for years to come,” says Mark, whose inside leg measures 39 inches. “You’d think the Netherlands would be a great but I’d no luck there.
“When I was 16, I was already 6ft 5in. Walking around in ridiculous-looking trousers, flapping around my ankles,” he remembers, cringing. “Not the nicest thing at that tender age, trying to attract the girls, looking like a feckin’ eejit. Wearing odds and sods of shorts and T-shirts, and whatever I could get.
“I just got a new job there recently. And of course when they told me what the dress code was, I groaned. Having to wear a shirt and tie everyday isn’t the norm for me. Any time I’d buy online, the body might fit, but I’d have to chop the sleeves off because they’d be too short. So, you can imagine — I’ve a lot of tailored shirts.
“I’m not really into fashion. You’d usually find me in jeans and T-shirts. But everyone does like to feel good in what they wear. And even though I’ve had to go to London to get formal shirts, I still hate shopping. It’s nice to go travelling. But bringing the stuff home... now that’s a real pain in the arse.”
Tailored to suit
David Delaney (33): Builder, 7ft
“Shopping? Basically impossible. It was a nightmare trying to get stuff” says David Delaney, explaining what it’s been like, as a 7-footer, to search for clothes.
“There’s one place in Dublin, and another in, em ... Wales. But no offence, they’re pretty much geared for, well, heavy people. And that’s no good to me.
“I’m 38 in the leg so trousers are really hard to find. But you will get them, eventually.
“I never had a jacket though until Tall.ie set up. If you’re my size, you’re talking long arms, long legs. You’ll get t-shirts and tops to fit, well kind of and not really, if you know what I mean. But you’ll never find a jacket.
“The sleeves just aren’t right. They only come half way down my arms. When I was about 15, I was 6ft 6in and growing. That’s when I started running into problems.”
Today, at 33, David’s more relieved than anything else that there’s finally a place he can pick up clothes — on a rail — that match his shape and look the part.
“It’s like this — the big stuff was usually designed for the fellas with weight,” he says. “So, when I put on a top, the shoulder would be all wrong. You’d just end up resigning yourself with a ‘look, I’m not going to get anything else’ — and just trying to forget about it.
“I remember thinking I’d be able to rent a suit for my wedding. Christ, that was a close call.
“I had to go and get someone to make one for me.
“Put it like this — if a certain very famous tailor hadn’t stepped in, I was in all sorts of trouble.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved