Sir Isaac Newton (sans Capri pants)
         Sir Isaac Newton

While science has been at odds with both church and state throughout the centuries, and even today finds wide swaths of deniers at all compass headings, it is generally agreed that the world has been more assisted than not by the discoveries of the noodle-minded among us like Newton, Einstein, etc.

So why, for heaven sakes, can’t clothing manufacturers all get together once and for all and agree on what constitutes small, medium, large and XL?  What exactly is the hold up? Why can’t they come up with a unified field theory of shoe sizes world-wide? How come a Nike size 10 is an Asics size 11!? How am I supposed to shop on-line or at Costco when everyone just makes up their own dimensions?

If Archimedes (287 – 212 B.C.) could find a method to trisect an arbitrary angle (using a markable straightedge — the construction is impossible using strictly Platonic rules) how hard is it to measure the waist and inseam on a pair of jeans? How does one brand’s 34”-32” fit like a glove, while another brand ends up looking like Capri pants?

People, the world is seemingly coming apart at the seams all around us. Might I suggest we set aside our tribal, religious and political differences for just a half-second and straighten our the tailoring dysfunctions as a unifying place to begin the reconciliation?  I’m certain Sir Isaac and Albert would concur. Thank you.




  1. Toni, thanks much for this commentary. I have shared this post with my co-workers at Garry Gribble’s, since we do our best to get people that personal fitting, though sometimes the customer does not want the size that makes the most sense (“what, a size 10? I’ve never been in a 10 in all my life, I need a 9 and no larger!”). You can lead a horse to water……

  2. haha, it’s never about the customer, it’s about free market capitalism, designed for me to win as all others lose, as in “I’m getting mine and you’re not getting it, so go figure it out for yourself, although it won’t matter because I’m going to destroy you anyway”

  3. You’re on to the whole can of worms Toni and Rico has indeed answered it correctly! The whole universe and especially our planet goes in a uniform pattern. If you mess with the system it will breakdown eventually.It’s a historical way to continue a form that works. So it goes beyond in-seams and that’s why everything in our country is going south i.e. transgender can choose which bathrooms they want to go into and hey, honestly, I don’t want to be in there.The Bruce Jenner thing and the awards given to building it up, are totally wrong and we need very much to get back to what has worked with the railroad lines and stick with the 4 feet 8.5 inches because it has always worked for a good reason.

  4. An oldy but a goody seems applicable here:

    The US standard railroad gauge (width between the two rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches.Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were built by English expatriates. Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used. Why did “they” use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons which used that wheel spacing.

    Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?

    Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts. So who built those old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe (and England) were built by Imperial Rome for their legions. The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots first formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for (or by) Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Specifications and bureaucracies live forever.

    So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse’s ass came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.

    An update to this old (perhaps true) story: The two space shuttle booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory had to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses’ behinds. So, the major design feature of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a Horse’s Ass!

    So, with that context, I believe the answer to your question, Toni, is that we have too many horse’s asses involved in the running shoe and apparel business.

    And btw, you’re not supposed to buy running shoes and apparel online, you are supposed to support your local running store.

      1. Toni,
        I intended to insert a “smiley” emoticon after my comment about supporting local running stores., sorry about that too harshly judgmental sentence. Unfortunately not many places have such a thing any more (ok, mostly due to online buying), but not the fault of most “real” (oops!) runners. And of course I, and apparently most of us, are “guilty” of buying lots of things online. But nothing like a “real” running store (shout out to Heart and Sole in Albuquerque!), a real bookstore (heck, even Barnes and Nobles now qualifies for that label), a real coffee shop, etc. Perhaps a topic for another “slow news” day 🙂

  5. Toni – Even in the midst of all the chaos throughout the world I’m so happy that the most important item on your agenda is the length and breadth of the inseams on your trousers! No wonder we love you! Gloria Ratti


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