Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pants pants

Somehow I have managed to get to the age where if I accidentally tied too many helium balloons to my deck-chair then reporters would describe me as "middle-aged",  yet I've only just learned some apparently old-hat sayings.

Until recently I thought "pants" only meant two-legged garment suitable for wearing when when climbing ladders, hanging upside-down or when all your skirts are in the wash.  Luckily I have hip young friends who inform me that "pants" has another far more interesting meaning.  Ever since learning the other meaning, I've ditched naff, stink and crapola like an ungrateful old bag for my new one and only rubbish-word; Yes, I've been wearing out "pants" with gay abandon.

Shopping malls: pants!
Moving ads on websites: pants!
Cup and Show Week (known in this household as Sup and Throw Week): pants!
Repair company that charged me 2x $85 hourly rates + 2x $22 travel charges for a job that took the tradesbloke less time to complete than it has taken me to type this line: pants!

But the most "pants" thing I deal with on a regular basis is my inability to just go to a shop and buy... pants!  See, this entire century, I have been unable to find trousers that actually fit me (Elastic waists don't count;  I have standards and I'm not "elderly", though according to reporters I probably will be next year).  My idea of heaven is being able to swan into a shop and find pants that not only fit me, but are also fashionable, flattering and comfortable.  Too much to ask?  It seems so.

It is a mystery to me how this has happened.   I am not a house-sized person.  I am not even home-unit sized.  I am just a normal sized person and I have been the same size the entire time I've been a grown-up (except for pregnancy 1 when I resembled a very short hot-air balloon and pregnancy 2 when I looked like an anorexic with a basketball shoved up my jumper).  I am not an odd-shaped person.  I have a waist and I have hips.  My waist is not freakishly small (it is bigger than my neck) but it is considerably smaller than my hips.  I suspect that this old-fashioned shape - which used to make pants shopping such an easy experience - is, in New Zealand, in 2010, the cause of my pants-buying problems.

The low-waisted trousers in favour for the early part of this century are a nightmare on me. Their "waistline" sits at the widest part of my body so there is a constant battle with gravity to keep them up.  After bouts of belt-induced sciatica I gave up on shop-bought pants and stuck to homemade pants and skirts.  As pant waistlines have risen again I've ventured back to the shops, but every pair I try on has enough fabric left flapping at the top that if I took in the waist I'd have enough fabric left over to make a matching bra top. The only pants I have tried on recently that fitted me were in the most expensive shop in Christchurch.  They were French, gorgeous and fitted like a glove.  I seriously considered selling the car complete with one of TheShortFolk to buy them, but instead went home empty-handed - and made a pattern and sewed myself some pants.

I've been reading my stash of vintage fashion books (to sell or to keep?) so envisaged some high-waisted, wide-legged sailor pants like vintage Chanel leisurewear.  I imagined wearing them with a small stripey T-shirt, an enormous sunhat, mental sunglasses and high wedge-heeled sandals.  The finished pants fit well and are very comfortable.  However they remind me not quite enough of Coco on a cruiseship, and a bit too much of my youngest sister - not as she is now but as she was as a four year old in the mid-1970s in her somewhat-mental favourite Mothercare pants. Sadly my new pants are a tad pants.

That's not my new pants pictured above.  Those mental numbers are from a comic strip advertisement in The Netherlands, found here on Neatorama.

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