adding to the list of ephemera that have a greater effect on the world than most people would credit is the nature of modern tailoring to enforce a sedate and restrained presence.  most modern clothing is engineered to prevent you from raising your arms.  the ‘line’ or ‘drape’ of the clothing is ‘ruined’ by over exerting.  (pardon the excessive use of scare quotes, but these are indeed concepts I find scary…)

in certain varieties of formal wear it is expected that you should stand up straight and observe a certain level of decorum. and the clothing is tailored with that in mind. lay a dress jacket down on a table and you will see that the sleeves are constructed to hang very vertically.  military dress uniforms follow a similar style. but if you put it on, you’ll also notice that the armholes extend quite low. dropping an extra couple of inches from the armpit itself.  this is the crux of the problem as the functional part of the sleeve is really from the bottom of the armhole to the point just below the deltoid. you can see this if you put on the jacket and raise your arm. you’ll generally find that the whole area above the deltoid rises as a unit coming away from the arm, probably lifting the entire shoulder section if the suit is constructed stiffly enough…

this is probably forgivable in formal wear, where the expectation that you should not need to raise your arms is probably true. but in things like sweatshirts and ‘sports coats’ and things this is ridiculous.  this is one of the big reasons for things like plumber’s crack or the ‘dagenham smile’. usually blamed on ill-fitting pants, (trousers for the british.) but really attributable to a shirt that is designed to lift 6 inches should you ever reach for anything above shoulder height. if you can stick a second arm into the armhole of your shirt, you might as well be wearing a crop-top.

all this leads to overly quiet living. and thence to obesity. and spandex isn’t the answer…

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