Clothes and Shoes

If you are a man living in the Manila Metro Area, and are not what one would classify as Big & Tall and have feet size 12 or smaller, you should be ok with clothing and shoes. You may have to put in some foot work to find the things you like, but you should be ok.

If you are a man living in the Manila Metro Area, and can be classified as Big & Tall, some of the larger department stores do have Big and Tall sections. Whether they will go up to your size or not is another question. You can have pants made to tailor fit you, and if you’re willing to wear a barong style shirt (which I hear are quite comfy) you can have those made for you, too. So, you won’t end up naked. But you may have to rely on having clothes shipped to you, which is something I’ll cover someday in another post.

If you are a man with feet sized 12.5 or higher, you are pretty much out of luck as far as I can tell. Again, shipping is an option, and again, someday I will talk about that.

If you are a man who will be living in the provinces, I honestly don’t know what your chances are for finding clothes or shoes. I will say that as a 5’10” woman, I am taller than most of the men I meet here. And if I had to guess, I’d say that most men here would be a US size medium or smaller. I expect that the easily available clothes in the provinces would reflect that.

If you are a woman who has size 8 feet or less, is of a petite height, and is a size 12 or less, congratulations, you have won the clothing and shoe lottery and I’m a little bitter towards you right now. To get a sense of what you are in for, locals jokingly refer to Payless Shoes as Paymore, because they can find dress shoes for, oh, $3 if they want to. You don’t have to. You can still find the same high quality brands you are used to and pay US prices for them, but you also have the option of being Imelda freaking Marcos if you want. Likewise, you will be able to shop in any store for clothing, and will pay anything from $4-$200 for a shirt, depending on where you go. We have everything from cheap local options to Banana Republic and Hermes. So, no worries.

If you are a woman who has feet from size 9-12 and wear up to a size 24, you are still ok. Some department stores will carry shoes up to a 9, fewer up to a 10. Payless Shoes carries their full line up to a size 12, but they are the only shoe store I know of that goes that high. (If you wear a 12, you are probably used to mail order shoes anyway.) Many stores will go up to a 14 or 16, but after that, your options are really limited. Gap carries up to US XL, some department stores will have plus sections, but they are Filipino plus, so 2XL in the US becomes 4XL here, and they tend to be designed for short ladies. Marks and Spencers is your best bet for plus sizes. They carry up to 24 on the store shelves, but the store itself can be very pricey. ($50 for a graphic tee, $140-200 for a dress.) They do have at least one outlet store and several excellent sales spaced throughout the year, though.  You also have the option to have things tailor made to fit you. Often the seamstress can work from a photo of the style, but it would be easier if you can scrounge up a pattern. (Which aren’t easy to find locally, but are much easier to have shipped than a ballgown.)

Shopping for kids is an experience, because the clerks seem to think that the age of the child always equates with the size. I’d take my kids in and the clerk would ask me how old they were and start bringing out clothes that were clearly too small for my kids. Also, most kid clothing stores (as of a few years ago, when I last bought kid clothes here) stop at size 10. (Because age = size, so size 12 is teen wear!) There are a few exceptions. One of the local dress stores would carry some styles up to a 14, and Guess Kids went up to a kid’s Large. Boys should be ok, because as soon as they size out of the kid’s clothing stores, there will be plenty of adult clothing stores with options for them. As the mother of girls, though, this sizing issue bugs me to no end, because I had a hard time finding clothing that fit them here until they got older. They were too big for the available kids clothes, but not curvy enough for the teen fashions. So, for the last few years, we’ve been mail ordering all their clothing. Which is something I’ll talk about how to do someday. In another post.

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