So out of sheer curiosity, I went and looked up Topshop the other day. I gathered from the Boosh stuff that they're a high street retailer, probably very Mod-y, but I was unaware until I went poking through their website that they were also somewhat mad. The have tights with panthers flocked onto the front. Mixed in with the suits sets with drainpipe trousers are things like matching motorcycle jacket and hot pants in flower-print PVC. Half of their socks glitter, ffs. This explains a lot -- not leastly, where Fielding gets some of his more baffling sweaters.

There is actually a Topshop US now, both online and in the form of a few freestanding boutiques and in-store sections in a number of Nordstrom's locations. I would characterize their prices as "not entirely out of the question" -- higher than Target/Kohls, lower than Lord & Taylor -- and they gained a lot of points with me when I discovered that their entire shipping policy is "That will be $10". No kidding. Airmail from the UK. Between this and finding out that Ann Summers even has clearance stock in my size (many US retailers, including Victoria's Secret and Frederick's of Hollywood, are discontinuing less common bra sizes -- I wear 32D/DD, which is off the small end of the common band sizes, and off the large end of common cup sizes), I am seriously considering just goddamn mail ordering all my clothes from the Motherland from now on.

Further investigation reveals that Topshop still uses fit models, which is encouraging. A fit model is a live dressmaker's dummy, more or less. The idea is to put their samples on a proper human being and watch said human being walk around and carry things and bend and otherwise do things that the people buying their clothing might be reasonably expected to do. The fit model gives feedback about comfort and movement, and the designer gives feedback about fit and drape, and the sample is sent back for refinement until it actually becomes a wearable piece of clothing. A lot of brands don't bother doing this anymore, which goes a long way towards explaining some of the truly baffling problems with mass-produced clothing.

I can't find the full chart of required measurements on any of the casting ads, but their idea of a US 6 (UK 10), which they also use as a standard mannequin, is 5'4"-5'6" and about 36"-27"-36". This is a significant improvement over a lot of American boutique brands, whose fit models/mannequins are typically something like 5'8" and a size (US) 2 -- it's pretty close to XOXO, actually, which sells through Macy's, and in which I am on the small side of a US 6. The waist on everything is always a couple inches too big, but it's less of a problem if everything is low-rise, which pretty much looks to be the case at Topshop.

There happens to be a Nordstrom's with a Topshop out in Burlington, which is about 45 minutes of boring bus time from here. I am considering having a go at buying a pair of skinny jeans, now that they've been around long enough that they aren't all painted on and so low-rise I would need to wax unmentionable parts of me to wear them. (Not jeggings. NEVER JEGGINGS. I have standards, goddamnit.) Is there anyone out there who's actually bought some of this stuff from Topshop, and can tell me if it's worth trying to find something that fits me in their brand? I'm thinking that a company with a shorter fit model will make things that are less ridiculously ill-proportioned on moi, who is 62" tall but has a 44" waist-to-floor measurement in catwalk heels.

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