My last career job was with a federal agency which required wearing a uniform. I worked my way into the position of Supply Logistics which included ordering tailored slacks/pants for 300 officers. The ordering forms referred to them as “trousers”. Not once did I ever hear a fellow officer use the word “trousers”. The supplier offered free tailoring which most officers preferred. I learned the hard way that the rate of return on slacks was extremely high. To address that, when I delivered slacks, I required the officer to try them on for fit before they actually took delivery. 

Officer Bill was a memorable example of how wrong measurements could be. He ordered a 42” waist and a 30” inseam. Just in case you’re not aware of where the inseam measurement comes from –start at your privates’ area or, your crotch, if you prefer, and measure down to where you want the very bottom of the hem to rest on your foot at the ankle. Bill, after trying on his slacks, exclaimed in frustration, “The length (inseam) is way too long.” 

Bill, I said diplomatically, what waist size did you order?”

Bill replied “42”

Bill, I said, diplomatically, “Let’s measure your waistline right now, just to be sure”.

His waistline, at his navel measured 52”.

There, Bill, I said diplomatically, is your problem. You’re wearing your slacks at your pubic hairline, not your waistline resulting in 10” of fabric resting on the top of your shoes.


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