Sunday, October 14, 2007

Suits you sir, part II...

Lets all hold hands now, all hold hands, thats right, don't break the circle, someone put that Marc Bolan song on the record player, all hold hands, close our eyes and chant "1973, 1973, 1973, 19....."

There, here we are back in 1973, the teenage acne'yed JerryChicken is doing his O levels this year but more importantly he is exactly the right size to be a "standard" male model mannequin.

What is the "standard" size for a male mannequin in the UK ?

I don't know, but I do know that when I was 16 years old I was the "standard" size for the UK tailoring industry to hang clothes on me.

How do I know ?

Cyril over the road told my dad it was so.

Let me explain.

Cyril over the road was a tailor, a time-served tailor who had worked his way up to be the manager of a rather large Leeds based tailoring company in the days when Leeds was the centre of the UK for off-the-peg tailored clothes.

Cyril was quite a big shot in his company and was in charge of "next years fashions", part of his job being to attend all sorts of trade shows the length and breadth of the country showing off his company portfolio to retailers making ready for next years clothing stock.

Cyril and our dad had a nice little sideline going in suit lengths, Cyril would "find" the odd suit length lying around at work that no-one seemed to want or need and our dad would find a buyer for it and they'd pocket the proceeds , and then pocket further proceeds when the buyer asked "this is all well and good but what the hell do I do with a suit length, who will make me a suit from this rather expensive suit length" and of course our dad would recite his favourite saying "well, its yoru lucky day, for I know just the right person..." and Cyril would get the job of making up the suit, working late into the night in his garage which he had converted into a small one man tailoring factory.

And then one day in 1973 Cyril wandered over the road and mentioned to our dad that I was just about the right size now, just about mannequin size, just right to buy the trade fair samples after Cyril had finished displaying them to the retailers.

And so I became the most trendy kid in our school.

Not content with the constant quest to keep up with this years fashions, I was turning up at school wearing next years fashions and none were more amazed than me when Cyril handed me a pair of Oxford Bags one day.

Oxford Bags were the big trouser craze of 1974, but I wore them to school in 1973, Prince of Wales check they were, flared all the way down the leg with huge turnups at the bottom - everyone at school was in awe for you could not yet buy them in the shops - I was "the Face", the one to follow, and they became even more in awe when I turned up one day in another pair of Oxford Bags in a tartan pattern.

I must have looked a right twat and fortunately there are no photographic records.

There was however one problem with wearing mannequin trousers.

When tailoring company's make clothing for the trade show mannequins they want to make their product look as smooth as possible, smooth legs, smooth hips, no protrusions, no lumps and bumps...

...and so they don't make them with any pockets.

...and the male genitillia area isn't too spacious either. I minced my way through two years at school, trendsetter I was, comfortable when I sat down I was not, many was the time that I scrunched my newly aquired tackle when sitting on hard school chairs, you females may laugh but there are tears in the eyes of most males who read this paragraph as they recall the days when sitting down suddenly has left them with an empty scrotum and gonads in the "undercarriage up" location.

For two years I was mannequin size and for two years I was our schools dedicated follower of fashion, no, not a follower, a dedicated predictor of fashion until in my 18th year beer took its toll and my waist size went up one and Cyril sadly went back across the road with a pair of next years trousers unsold.

However a year later, and as John Travolta and "Saturday Night Fever" broke onto an unsuspecting and as yet disco-less world then Cyril noticed that our Ned was now the right size to fit the male mannequins garb, unfortunately for our Ned the first thing that Cyril brought over the road was a full three piece suit - in white, in best John Travolta stylee - oh how we laughed when he wore it just the once to go to The Fox in - our dad later sold it to a club turn of his aquaintance.


Anonymous said...

Is that you in the Pic ? ;-)

Gary said...

No, I am far too trendy to appear in photos such as that.