Thursday, February 10, 2011

Trying it on for size...

The following post is a guest editorial from former APSer, Chris Teixeira. The Stern Scoop misses Chris's comedic yet informative posts. Enjoy:

At APS, we pride ourselves on being able to offer quality information and detail on almost every piece of gear that we carry. Yes, we said “almost every piece of gear” -- there’s something like 50,000 products in our system, so unless you’ve picked up a dictionary and memorized every word and definition in it, get off your high horse.

The trickiest place, by far, to offer this information is when it comes to apparel. We’ve been around the block a few times, so we can immediately tell when a product is manufactured well and when it has all the right bells and whistles just by looking at it. What we can’t always eyeball, though, is sizing.

Sizing is super tricky. The sailing apparel industry has to cater to a global market – all 7 billion of us and our various shapes and sizes – and there is no industry standard for sizing. This is why some people love the fit of a Musto Salopette and some people can’t stand them, opting instead for the fit of the Henri Lloyd offering.

So we’re left to fend for ourselves a bit when it comes to getting information about sizing. Sure, we could trust the manufacturers and their sizing charts, but in a nod to our British readers and BBC viewers, Top Gear proved that you can’t always take the manufacturers at their word. When they measured out the true horsepower of a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, it came up a hearty fifty-three horses light. That’s right – a full 11.6% off. And in our world of performance sailing, with boundaries being pushed and tolerances super tight, 11.6% is pretty useless.

Our solution is simple: in-house testing. And lest you think a small business like APS can’t cover all the bases, allow us to show the spectrum of sizes we have covered:


Meet Warren, Bryn and Katie – all sporting the same set of hideous plaid shorts that Warren was supposed to wear as punishment for possessing the navigation skills of Helen Keller in the last instance of the Volvo Ocean Race’s online game. Thanks to a little spring cleaning, they were once again found, and the perfect illustration of our sizing process was born.

So there you have it, dear readers – when we speak about apparel sizing, we have your size covered.

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