Skip to content

Holding It All Together-Clothes For Penguins

By Amy McCollom
Do you remember back years ago when Sears or somebody came out with easy-to-match clothing called Garanimals?  Those were the clothes that had tags on them of different animals to help you choose outfits that made sense and matched.  The tiger went with a tiger piece, a lion went with a lion piece, giraffe went with a giraffe piece, and so on.  It made buying an outfit for your kid easy.

I wish they had clothing like that for adults now, only I would change the concept a little.  Instead of matching animal to animal for clothes to match, I would have different animals match different body types, based on what people’s body type resembled.  Then I would match color to color for matching outfits.  

Please, feel free to steal my idea.  I am too old, tired, and poor to run with this idea.  The world of fashion needs a wake-up call.  Why?  The fashion industry apparently thinks all women look like Barbie.  I assure you, we do not.   We are all shaped differently.  This is very frustrating for those of us who do not fit those dimensions.  

Today I have been shopping online for a new coat, and it is always the same problem.  When I find a coat that I like, and that fits me around the middle, it will be too long, and the sleeves will come down to my fingertips or even cover my hands completely. 

My problem is that I am built like a penguin.  No disrespect to these magnificent flightless birds.  But I’m a little rounder on the bottom with big feet, very short arms, with a stubby neck and tiny head.  I also have beady little eyes, so there’s that too.  How do I find clothes for a penguin?

I measured my arm “inseam,” if you will, from my armpit to my watch band, and it is 17 inches long.  My three teenagers all have arms at least 19 inches long, my dog’s arm measured 10 inches, and my cat’s arm was 7 inches long.  

So what is the normal length of a person’s arm?  After searching around on the internet, the consensus is that 25 inches is the average length of a healthy human’s arm.  There is a lot of flexibility in that measurement, as it doesn’t take into account much about the condition or details of the human other than they are healthy, but of all averages of averages, that is the average length of arms.  But as we all know, I am nowhere near average.  

I tried pulling up the sizing chart for each website I visited, to see if I could match my measurements to the size of the coats, but I found out that the standard length of sleeves for a coat in my size (and the next four sizes up or down from mine) is 22 1/2  inches long!   This is why I still haven’t bought myself a new coat in years, because I can never find one that is penguin-sized.  

I suppose I could find a tailor and have the sleeves altered, and perhaps, the bottom of the coat hemmed up as well, but that all costs time and money.  I wonder if I could take on that big of a task and not flub it up?  But it doesn’t just stop with coats and jackets.   Every shirt I put on to wear, every pair of pants or skirt I try on, is a constant reminder that I’m a penguin in a Barbie doll world.  

But to every cloud there is a bright side.  While cutting off a pair of jeans, I got a great idea to make an owl out of the denim scrap that fell to the floor from my cutting table.  Thus started a side hobby, and an endless supply of fabric scraps from sadly trying to hem this or that myself.  I guess when life makes you a penguin, you learn to swim with the wings you were given, eh?…

Leave a Comment