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This online clothes size farce proves we need to return to the High Street

IN the days before Lycra, the trend for tight jeans required us to temporarily remove all our internal organs, lie on the floor and use a coathanger to yank up the zip.

Having sex was virtually impossible, because by the time we’d removed them we had fallen asleep with exhaustion.

Now, jeans come in all shapes and sizes and — hallelujah — streeeeeeetch where necessary to accommodate our lumps and bumps.

However, it’s imperative to try before you buy if you want to find the perfect pair and, thanks to lockdown, I found myself shopping for jeans, and other clothes — online.

The results prove why we simply mustn’t allow our struggling High Street clothes shops to vanish without trace.

I’m usually a size 10, but am now sporting a bread-baby after lock- down so decided to play safe by ordering a size bigger. Pictured is, apparently, a pair of “size 12” jeans from online giant Asos (brand — Bershka) in front of my old size 10s

I couldn’t get them up one leg and, quite frankly, Kate Moss would struggle too. So they’re going back.

Then a beguiling ad for summer dresses popped up on my Instagram account and I clicked through to a site called “Cinderear” showing a wide range of very pretty frocks on tanned and shapely models.

I ordered what was described as a “Printed Folding Holiday Swing Dress” in what looked like an airy cotton, cinched in at the waist with a brown leather belt. The colour was described as apricot.

What arrived — several weeks later — was a beyond-hideous sartorial aberration that was “Made in China” (I should have known), out of a paper-thin polyester that would make me think twice about standing near a naked flame.

What’s more, the colour was more camel and blue than “apricot”, it swamped me, and the brown belt in the photo was nowhere to be seen.

It cost me $48 — approx £36 — and the returns policy is so ­unintelligible that it’s not worth the bother. More fool me.

Buying a bookshelf or bog brush online is fine, but clothes is another matter. I like to feel the fabric and see the fit.

So a couple of weeks ago, I masked up and ventured out on a shopping trip to West London’s vast Westfield where I felt like a ­Hollywood superstar having a ­personal shopping experience. It was 10am on a Monday morning and virtually empty.

Little wonder when the ­government guidance says retailers must “discourage customers from handling products while browsing, and keep fitting rooms closed”.

One store let me try on a dress then sanitised the cubicle afterwards, another told me that if I tried something on they would have to then take it off display for 72 hours.

In LK Bennett, the fitting rooms were closed and I asked if I could try on a blouse over my clothes, just to see if it actually fits. No, they said, you have to buy the item, take it home to try it on, then bring it back if it doesn’t fit. Needless to say, I returned home empty-handed.

So, if our High Street clothes shops are to survive the pandemic, two things need to happen.

Unless classed as vulnerable, those of us who actually enjoy clothes ­shopping need to get back out there as soon as possible and actively support them. And the Government needs to relax its strict rules and let retailers and shoppers take individual responsibility for what happens in store.

If I have to wear a mask and gloves to try on a pair of jeans in a cubicle, then I’m happy to do so. I’ll even wipe it down afterwards with my newly repurposed “apricot” dress.

SPORTED by the likes of Chris Waddle back in the day, the mullet is apparently enjoying a resurgence during the pandemic.

Oh dear. Now barbers have reopened, let’s hope the trend proves short-lived for the naff hairdo that was once described in a dictionary as: “Short at the front, long at the back and ridiculous all round.”

THE Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not feature in TV drama The Crown because there’s not “enough distance” from their story, says the show’s creator Peter Morgan.

Also, their life is so outlandish that the series would fall under the category of reality show rather than drama.

VINNIE JONES – the “hardman” of football – is seeing a psychologist three times a week after losing wife Tanya to cancer.

“I would recommend going to see a psychologist 100 per cent,” he says.

“You’re not lying down on a couch as if you’re some lunatic or serial killer. Blokes don’t want to talk about it.

“They’ll talk about the girl they slept with last night but won’t go and talk to a doctor about how they’re feeling.”

He’s right, and with men accounting for 75 per cent of all suicides in the UK, it’s never been more important for men like Vinnie to convey that showing vulnerability isn’t a weakness – it’s an admirable strength.

CLAUDIA SCHIFFER turned 50 on tuesday and says she has “never felt more confident or happy”.

She adds that she embraces “now” and: “I don’t try to look or feel younger.”

She doesn’t need to really, does she?

LIFE’S precious silences are few and far between. And when you’re PM, one can imagine they are practically non-existent.

Particularly as, the ­second you step into the privacy of your own home, there’s a baby with no “on-off” switch.

So Boris’s holiday tent – pitched a hundred yards away from his rented cottage on the Scottish coastline – intrigues me. Was it an escape for him alone to snatch a few hours of quiet reflection?

Or was it a chance for him and Carrie to have noisy sex away from the baby and ever-present bodyguards?

NO ONE begrudges ­politicians a holiday – ­particularly during a ­parliamentary recess.

But when you’re an Education minister, you have one job – to be around when the ordure inevitably hits the fan over A-level results being randomly downgraded by an algorithm.

Yet not only did Gillian Keegan book a trip abroad, she actually posted a photo from the French Alps on results day – when countless students saw their future plans evaporate. Duh.

She also decided to stay there after the quarantine rules came into force – meaning she will have to self-isolate at home for a fortnight on her return.

But hey ho; she’s a taxpayer-funded civil servant so she’s comfortable (some might say complacent) in the knowledge that, unlike the self-employed, she won’t be losing any pay.

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