Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Pants, not tights

Ever since skinny pants arrived on the scene, I knew I should be joining the rest of the female population and squeezing into them. On Tuesday I tried and failed. This new pair of mildly narrow pants is as skinny as I'll ever get. 
The Globe's Leah McLaren broke the horrible news first: skinny jeans had arrived. She tried some on and was so upset that she took them off quite quickly. Then came a 2015 sketch on the CBC's The Irrelevant Show called "Tights are Not Pants," in which one woman grills another about wearing tights as, well, pants. Call them leggings, jeggings or yoga pants, but if you buy them in the sock department, have to sit down on a bed and scrunch them up to get them over your feet and adjust the crotch seam at the top -- guess what? They're tights, not pants. In which case, you should wear a long sweater to cover your butt. The sketch ends with a man saying: "Who cares if they're tights or pants?" and adding he's 1.2 billion times happier to walk behind a woman wearing tights instead of pants as pants. Three or four other male voices chime in to agree.

Which leads to my friend Ros and I sitting at a restaurant window Tuesday and watching the women walk by. Every single one was wearing something tight and dark on her legs -- ultra-skinny jeans, leggings, tights, yoga pants. "It's like a uniform," said Ros. "Everybody is wearing the same thing."

Now Ros, like me, dresses casually and comfortably. We like pants that aren't too tight, sweaters and shirts that are long and loose, and hike-worthy jackets. Our primary footwear is running shoes. But it turns out that years of watching skinny jeans and tights on all the women around us have had their effect.

"I've been thinking," said Ros, "that maybe I should catch up." Uncannily, only a week earlier, I had been impelled strongly enough by the same feeling to end up in a store fingering a pair of something black, rubberized and vaguely repellent. But there is comfort in numbers, so Ros and I headed downtown to The Bay. In a dressing room, remembering the CBC sketch, I scrunched up a piece of dark fabric and convinced it unwillingly over an ankle. The higher it got, the more it felt like squeezing into a rubber tube, unforgiving and circulation-stopping. I thought of the corsets women once had to wear, and the damage it did to their bodies.

But there was something that looked more like pants in what I suspect is the store's old ladies' department. They went on without scrunching, and had a slightly more contemporary look than the semi-flares I've been wearing. I bought them -- it was seniors' day, after all.

On the way out, I passed a store display of pants. Most were as skinny as the ones I couldn't get into, but there, in all their glory, was a pair of flares. Perhaps I jumped the gun. Another few years and my collection of old bell-bottoms may be just the thing.


1 comment:

  1. Well, I see you can buy bell bottoms, now called "flared trousers" from a designer firm called "Farfetch". Well, their prices are a little far fetched....$1,000 - $3,000. Are you in, Carol? I loved the bell bottom look but I was then wearing them with high heels. With my short height, not sure I could pull it off with flats and I don't think I'll be going back to wearing heels. Ah...fashion.

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