BUYING menswear in Whanganui has never been easy. Face it, men have never really been targeted in the marketplace, outside of luxury items like automobiles and lifestyle things like fragrances.

But try to buy basic, but mid-market and comfortable, trousers and shirts, for example, and you're not given a heck of a lot of choice.

The same with shoes.

There seems to be the attitude that men don't like shopping: their wives will buy for them and they'll be happy with what they're given.

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Manufacturers are not particularly concerned with looking after the male population, which is why there is so little in the way of selection, variety and sizing.

Want natural fabric? There's a rack over there, or there used to be.

Want something with a bit of colour? Ummm ... we could order something in.

Want different leg lengths in trousers? Ha ha, sir, you must be joking. You have to pay extra to make things fit.

Anything New Zealand made? Only if you take out a second mortgage.

What about shoes?

We no longer stock men's shoes, but there is a shoe store in the avenue. Just the one, unless you want something in plastic and I know just the place.

Just why half the population is being ignored or treated to second-best is something no one can explain without resorting to patronising porkies.

Men shop. We wear clothes and shoes, use toiletries and like to scrub up occasionally.

We're also discerning shoppers. We know the difference between toxic chemicals and natural products and we don't get sucked in by brand names.

We like variety and we also like comfort.

We also like to dress well for the office or for special occasions.

We're also restricted by budget, so don't try to sell me a T-shirt for $100 just because it's made in a garage in Levin.

Now ask yourself why so many people are starting to look at on-line purchasing.