The Pants Rant, Part II

Dear Pants,

This time of year is the hardest for me.

I’m generally pretty mindful of my food intake. But like most living human beings, I pay a LOT less attention to quality and quantity of chow from late November until right around my birthday in mid-January. That’s two months of devil-may-care munching, and there is always some weight gain.

And that’s natural and fine and I am generally OK with it. But this year was even harder because I had the Martian Death Flu for nearly two weeks and didn’t hit the gym at all during that time. So I’ve gained more this year than usual.

And do you know how I know?

Because this time of year is also generally the COLDEST here in MN,* and that means there are days that I can’t just throw on a pair of tights and a kicky full skirt – an outfit that would flatter me even if I were to gain 20 pounds because it jives with my natural body shape. I mean, I could wear a pair of tights and a kicky full skirt if I didn’t mind losing my legs to frostbite. But I enjoy walking.

So I have to reacquaint myself with you, Pants. In a more formal, ongoing way. Sure, I stop by and say “hi” on the weekends sometimes, when a pair of skinnies and a formless sweater can conspire to create a cozy-casual ensemble. But at this time of year, it’s a different story. When I visit now, I have to put on my longjohns and cami, and THEN shoehorn myself into a pair of you, and THEN layer a thousand work-appropriate layers on top of that.

And I am reminded that I am just not terribly compatible with you, Pants. You might fit fine when I’ve been biking to work a couple of times per week, and when I’m NOT wearing what is essentially another slightly thinner pair of pants beneath you. But under these circumstances? With the winter weight and the longjohns? You subdivide my wubba. You pull in the crotch. You add bulk to my waistline. YOU DO NOT FLATTER ME. And you make me even more miserable than I’d be on my own, attempting to stay cheerful when it’s -30 and dark all the time.

I wear you so seldom that the prospect of buying more of you just to fit me for a couple of mind-numbing months out of the year makes me downright ornery. So, Pants, I’ll be implementing some workarounds this year. I’ll be wearing my floor-length skirts as often as I can, and even layering them with each other for added warmth. I’ll be doubling up on tights to see if that will make skirt wearage a possibility in subzero temps. And I’ll be finding ways to make my leather versions of you work-appropriate so I can go without longjohns once in a while.

I appreciate the effort, Pants. I know you try hard. But it just isn’t working out. I’m sure you’ll find a nice shape of girl who will love you – one with smaller hips or a flatter tummy, who will adore your laid-back cool. I’ll stop by and see you when I can, and I hope we can stay friends. I wish you all the best.

Love,
Sal

P.S. Don’t be insulted if I spend WAY more time with your cousins, Leggings. We just get along so well!

*Yeah, it’s warmish here now … but we’ve already had several weeks of subzeros, and I am 100% certain more will come before spring.
(Read Part I right here.)
Image courtesy ian__w.

  • Gillian

    I laughed SO HARD while reading this. Fabulous for a morning where I have to endure class until 9:00 pm.

  • La Historiadora de Moda

    Oh, Sal! If I wrote a letter to pants it would read so similarly.

  • Kate Coveny Hood

    I can sooooo relate to this. Too funny.

  • Kari

    I am with you 100%, and I think a big part of it is also due to my body type (hourglass frame, large hips and rear, and definitely carrying more body fat at the moment than I should be.) The other thing is that I've spend the past two years learning how to make skirts and dresses work so well for my lifestyle that it's hard to even see myself in pants. Fortunately, I can get away with skirts, particularly with tall boots, in most weather here since Seattle doesn't usually get the biting cold weather that you have in Minneapolis. Hope that you stay warm!

  • Meli22

    lol sal you make me smile :D

  • Kasmira

    Oh, I hate the pants too.

    I'm thankful that it's warmed up here, lately. I'm actually in pants today, but a very thin pair with no other leg layers.

    Regarding skirts in winter…if it's an a-line or full skirt, I wear polyester fleece yoga-type pants underneath when out of doors. With a long coat on top, it doesn't look too odd.

  • Rebecca

    Cleverly done! You're NOT alone, by the way!

  • Christina Lee

    LOL!!! Sal, it's like you were writing this for me–I am SOOO feeling this way right now. I throw pants "step-brother" (aka sweat pants) on as soon as I get home! :)

  • Paula

    Goddess, yes! Unfortunately I'm a synthetic chemist and long pants are basically a requirement for work. And I didn't get comfy with tights until this year when I discovered footless tights (i.e. leggings). So mostly I have been feeling ugly most winters and workdays. :D

  • K.Line

    I LOVE this. And I so hear where you are coming from. This time of year is tough. Between the misery around us and the lure of beautiful food (to take the edge off), well, it's a bit scary to step on the scale. But leggings are our friend, aren't they? :-)

  • myedit

    So true… It's cruel because it's the one time of year that you have to wear pants and then you feel crappy all day becaue they pinch your love handles. It's also cruel when you read Cali blogs and they say it's cold, so they threw on a boyfriend blazer and rolled their socks up to cover their knees.
    ps. Pants are kinda pissed because I've been hanging out a lot with their second cousin (also related to the leggings), my Roots trackpants with a hole in them. Ahhh…comfort.

  • Mardel

    You know, you have a marvelous ability to turn frustration and adversity into hilarity. Thanks for the big smile this morning!

  • Linda

    My body issues have decreased 75% since I quit wearing, shopping for, or ever thinking about pants and jeans. I know I don't live in MN, but I do live in Boston, and I've found tights + leggings + slip + skirt + boots plenty warm (and I walk two miles each way to work). It's the leggings over tights that's the key. (But I don't even bother with this if it's over 25.) Especially if they're tight/clingy enough to look like tights when they're tucked into boots. I can take them off at work if I get too warm, or just leave them on.

  • Alli

    Oh, dear Sal, you are too funny! I feel your pain and hope writing this letter was somewhat cathartic for you. :)

    Glad to hear it's warmed up for a bit!

  • fröken lila

    i so understand you – and guess what, with me now being moved to oslo, a.k.a the freezing north of europe, i finally did what i should have done a long long time ago: i invested into thermo-underwear and woollen longjohns. and i tell you, its so worth it, because i can wear those longjohns (70%wool, 30%silk and warm like nothing i have worn before) under a pair of thick tights in -15°C under a skirt and i feel warm and cosy. ok, if there is a lot of wind it's still a bit uncomfortable, but that's fine as long as i'm walking and don't just stand around.

  • evanadine

    "You subdivide my wubba."

    you, my dearest sal, are a wordsmith!

  • cwhf

    Ditto on everything you just said. For me, dresses are just an easy way to look put together and be comfortable. Flattering, but also stylistically easy for me—pick out some tights, some great shoes and accessories and I am done. Whereas pants you have to pick a top, pick shoes (that have to be the right height depending on pant length, ugh), possibly a belt and make it all match–it's too much for me most mornings.

    I have a much healthier relationship with my casual pants and their cousins (jeans, leggings, skinnies, the occasional culotte—stop laughing!!!). But alas, not work appropriate.

  • childfreelife

    Do you have any wool tights? They might be a bit itchy, but I bet if you layered them over regular tights you would be pretty warm.

    I also recommend wearing legwarmers until you get to work, and then taking them off and putting them in your bag. Sometimes legwarmers are appropriate at work, but I don't know when that time is off the top of my head–but they can get you there and home for sure.

  • futurelint

    Ha! So funny and cute! I totally agree, I am not a huge pants fan, but I do like them for the fact that when my pants start getting tight, I know it's time to double down at the gym and skip the cheese in my omelet for a few weeks… I wore pants for a whole week straight when it was like -20 here and I was miserable… I decided I'd rather be cold than feel less than confident about my appearance… a day or two a week I can handle, so let's hope we don't get another long arctic blast here (though I know we will!)

  • crispybenfranklin

    YES! Yes, yes, yes, and YES! I'm so glad I've moved from the arctic tundra of Ohio to a place where 40 degrees is considered cold. I HATE pants.

  • Danielle

    My first time commenting but I definitely feel your pain. Skinny jeans and leggings are fine on me but slacks…ugh!!! They do nothing but make me look squat!

  • bekster

    This has absolutely nothing to do with pants, but your "wubba" comment made me think of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47bZuHuuL8M&feature=related

    Actually, there could be some deep self-esteem issues in this song. (Sometimes when I wear pants, I think I see a "monster in the mirror" too.)

  • Hannah

    I'm a recent skirt/dress convert, which is amazing considering I flat-out refused to wear anything but pants until I got into college! I'm still figuring out the whole skirts in winter thing (Michigan winter, no less!) but it's not too bad since I'm only outside for a few minutes at a time.

    I still have a few pairs of pants which look great on me and I have fun wearing them, but I've started to become more comfy in a skirt than pants, especially at work.

    I did have a question about leggings though. I usually layer leggings underneath whatever I'm wearing. But then I feel the need to put socks on. Then I think, why am I not just wearing tights? That little space between legging and sock is drafty. How do you get around this?

    Thanks and great read!

  • gypsyariana

    Thank you, Sal! Wonderful post! I'm definitely a skirts or jeans woman…HATE trouser pants with a passion. Especially with the after-holiday weight gain.

    Thankfully, in Atlanta, it doesn't get too cold too often, so skirts, tights, and boots in the winter is a wardrobe staple for me!

  • All Women Stalker

    Haha funny! If I were pants, I'd be really sad by now. But I'd be happy that Leggings is taking good care of you. :D

  • Elaine

    LOL!!!! This was sooo funny! But so true. Finding pants is a MISSION. I'm totally fine with leggings… lol

    clothedmuch.blogspot.com

  • Anonymous

    I flat out refuse to wear any pants except jeans, and have been this way as far back as I can remember. I would try the leggings over tights thing, and floor-length skirts help too (particularly if they are denim or otherwise heavy weight).

    I went to college in subzero temperatures and got around the pants issue with tights, layered socks and VERY insulated wintry boots. I also wore colored jeans with a lot of stretch. The only time I've really HAD to wear pants was mucking out my parents barn in December and even then, men's jeans took care of me.

  • Solidaritybitch

    Girl, I so hear you. I think pants do not flatter so many body types. They are so unforgiving too. I have a problem with my rise (which is long), and my ass is quite, uh, "petite", so I look like I have a pancake-booty in most pants (but not leggings) and it just accentuates that I have a longer torso but average length legs. Not fun! Give me skirts and really cold legs! (I do occasionally dabble in skinny jeans, since I can cover up the problematic crotch/rise area)
    Have considered really long thigh high leg warmers for the commute, which you can take of when you get to work? Sexy and warm. Also, I am fan of smartwool tights (they are powerful with a pair of opaque black tights underneath). They are amazing. Just a thought.

  • lisa

    Good for you for wearing what makes you feel good, Sal! Have you tried wearing a pair of leggings over a pair of tights? I swear, it makes my legs practically windproof under skirts. I bet if you tried this under long skirts and tall boots it'd stand up to your harsh Minnesota winter well enough.

  • grace

    Oh how I hear you! I don't know who pants actually are made to fit, but it's nobody I know.

    Leggings+skirts (multiple if necessary) are the only solution I've found.

  • Sal

    Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions! I'll definitely be trying out some legwarmers … much to HM's chagrin, I'm sure. ;)

  • The Cake Decorator’s Daughter

    Haha. Pants suck.

  • WendyB

    I didn't know that I was so blessed to have a friendly relationship with pants!

  • Joanne Faith

    Haha! I totally feel the same way about pants. Why must they be so restrictive half the time?!

    Am wishing tights ARE pants.

  • Jen

    What if you wore pants without longjohns, and when you went outside, you wore an ankle-length coat with high boots? Then you'll be warm outside, but rocking some flattering pants inside!

  • ebinbaby

    I use wool legwarmers to breech what I refer to as "the great divide" – the air space between the top of my boots and mid thigh that is not adequately covered by the bottom of my long coat. I find it even warmer than pants as boots have better wind blocking potential. We regularily have -40C (which apparently is also -40F!)weather and I take the bus and this method works fine for me for most of the winter, although I do sometimes have to resort to pulling out pant's comforting cousin "ski pants" on occasion.

  • rb

    I too broke up with Pants recently (not that we had much of a relationship anyway.)

    Not only have Pants caused me all the trouble you mention, they also are more in love with my ankles than my toes – I just can't find them long enough. Don't worry – skirts are cuter anyway.

  • Miss Peregrin

    Hahahaha, love it! I actually wish I was more of a skirt person though – I never feel comfortable in them, so I'm always wearing pants.

  • Natalie

    Yep, not a huge fan of pants myself, particularly jeans. I can't even imagine how awesome it would be to shop like a man and just pick a pair of pants off the shelf based on waist size and length and KNOW they're going to fit without even trying them on! It's part of the reason I wrote this post:

    http://adventuresincarpooling.blogspot.com/2009/09/difference-between-men-and-women.html

  • What Would a Nerd Wear

    oh sal i feel your pain!!
    i too love skirts much more, but have found that a few sneaky pairs of sleek trousers help me feel better than jeans in the cold and lumpier winter months.

  • delerith21

    ebinbaby! -40C – where do you live? Here in Russia it's -30C and windy, I hate winter months for this! I usually wear woolen tights and skinny jeans with layered tops, oh, and my uggs too (with really thick wool socks inside). With a long dawn coat on top of this! And I forgot my fur hat.

  • Audi

    I find pants to be a drag in the winter because, despite being warmer, they get soggy around the cuffs when it's raining unless you've got them tucked into boots. But thanks to you, Sal, I just ordered a pair of leather pants, and I'm pretty excited about the possibilities for waterproof warmth.

  • gina

    Great post! I've gain a few pounds since last winter, most of it in my stomach and hips, so very few of my pants fit comfortably this winter, just when want to wear them again!

    I've been rotating between the few pairs that do still fit well, and triple-layering my tights and leggings. If it's super cold and windy (not unusual in Chicago), I'll add a pair of jeans on top of the layered leggings for my commute.

  • Amy

    Amen sister. I agree with everything.

    Does anyone have recommendations for good leggings? I have heavy thighs and have always resisted leggings but I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should give them a try.

  • vi

    i must have linked this post to a bajillion people!! i laughed SO hard!

  • Joni

    To each her own! I'm a big fan of pants. I'm sad in the summer when its too hot for them. I especially love unique and patterned pants (brighter colors, plaids, pin-stripes). I've got thicker ankles that look best encased in pant-legs, so I guess I'm lucky that pants work well for my body-type.

  • Shannon

    Oh, my gosh that is perfect. Exactly how I've been feeling. It's so unfair that just when you really need pants, when it's freezing cold, is usually the same time of year most of us put on a few pounds!

  • Kara

    exactly.