One of things I realised last year, while scanning in lots and lots of negatives, is how familiar a lot of the clothes I was wearing were.

It’s a problem faced by all people of a certain shape and/or size: we just don’t fit off-the-peg.

My work shirts need to be 16½” collars, which also covers the love-bump – but then the sleeves are inevitably too long. I have to shop around and hope.

Casual shirts, I can get away with a medium – really – because I don’t need to button up the top. But the sleeves end up a bit tight, I can only wear ‘classic’ fit, and it’s not always obvious on the label.

When I was in Canada in 2007 I bought three work shirts that I still use (they had a year off, remember), which fit perfectly although they are wearing a bit thin. Obviously, I’m the same shape as the average Canadian middle-age bloke.

I’ve a checked overshirt hanging up that I rarely wear these days. I took it with me to Egypt… in January 2002. It was a gift from Canadian relatives, so I reckon it’s at least 25 years old. It still fits… but then, anything I’ve bought on the last 25 years probably still fits as I’ve not grown up or out that much since 1990.

Suits you! Or not

I have a wool and cashmere blend jacket for work, which is certainly looking frayed around the edges. You can’t put anything small into the pockets as it’ll fall through into the lining.

This jacket’s so old it’s from C&A.

My dinner jacket/suit has long since paid for itself, but only comes out one or twice a year. In fact, I had the jacket taken in by an inch or two, a couple of years ago!

But this post was prompted by my ‘good’ suit, the Austin Reed one I bought in early 2004 to attend a formal squadron dinner. A mid-grey wool and cashmere blend (they do feel comfortable), adjustable waist straps instead of belt loops. Handy for important events such as visiting Westminster, weddings, funerals and – these days – job interviews.

The seat of the trousers has worn out.

You wouldn’t notice if I didn’t mention it, because when I’m not sitting on it it’s covered by the jacket; but as well as thinning out there’s now a sizeable hole in the material. I’m distraught – and just because I have a couple of interviews lined up before the end of the year.

For one thing, Austin Reed is no longer on the high street in the way it was when I bought the suit (their former store is now yet another Sainsbury’s Local); I’d have to go to a franchise in Holmfirth or Harrogate. For another, pretty much every suit I’ve seen recently in Moss Bros. and the larger department stores has belt loops, not the adjustable straps.

On the bright side, I could now pair the perfectly-fine jacket with a pair of black trousers and replace the aged charcoal jacket…