I abhor stretch denim. You know, those ‘jeans’ that contain lycra, that stick to you like…well…paste? They are hot in the summer and provide no warmth in the winter. Midway through the day, they are sagging in all the wrong places. When you stand up, your pants don’t stand with you. Yep. Stretch denim. Ugh. Yet, we are nearly forced into wearing them. Over the past six or so years, I found one all-cotton, Wrangler jean on the market that I pay top dollar for, in order to have ‘barn jeans’ and as of two years ago, they were redesigned with a ‘stretch’ waistband. And they still don’t fit. What ever happened to old-fashioned Levi’s made of 100% denim? Jeans that got softer and more naturally faded as the years wore on? Those beloved jeans that stayed in our closet for years on end? It’s no wonder the women of the world have resorted to leggings as ‘pants’.
Yesterday, Mr. LucyLoves and I went to one of our favorite shopping meccas on the quest for pants—any style pants—for yours truly. Now, pants have always been a challenge because while I have a slim figure, I have always carried what weight I do have in my hips and derriere. This means to get pants to fit in the ‘bottom’, the legs and waist always ran a bit loose. Easy enough to deal with—wear a belt. But today it seems pants are made in one width, from top to bottom. Not only do I have a ‘little’ extra room in the waist but I could fit an entire second body into the waistband with me! Even those hard to find ‘drawstring’ summer linen trousers I long for to take on vacations are no slimmer in the waistline than anything else on the rack. What’s with that? Why on earth do clothing manufacturers think we are all one width, from head to toe? Despite knowing a few ladies with a little extra around the middle, very few of us have a belly the width of our arse. I’m sure it’s exasperating for the majority of us. Thus, the fascination with the absolutely horrendous leggings. In my humble opinion, leggings are not pants. And yes, that is my opinion. Leggings do nothing to accentuate the positives of a gal’s figure and go above and beyond at showing every aspect that one would probably be better off to conceal after about the age of 27.
After five hours of searching and trying on every pair of pants in 11 different stores, we went to lunch. While we waited twenty minutes for our table, we decided to look at what other women were wearing. Of the 24 ladies in all age groups who passed by, all but three were wearing leggings. THREE! One very elderly woman was in sweat pants and another senior aged lady was in a pair of nylon slacks that she has probably owned since the ‘70’s. The third gal, middle aged, was rather tomboyish, dressed in a hoodie and what looked like a pair of her husband’s jeans. Probably because she can’t find any gal’s jeans to fit. Admittedly, a handful of those legging clad dames looked great. The teens with their stylish ponchos and Hunter boots. The two-middle aged, made-up, ladies who obviously lunch in their tasteful Eileen Fischer tunics. I get that. I can even see the point of the pregnant mom chasing her two toddlers in leggings and an oversized parka. Understood. But everyone else? Let’s just say I have seen better looking attire on sweat-laden women at the gym. And much less of some things I didn’t care to see.
As our search continued, Mr. LucyLoves wanted to go into L. L. Bean to search for a new winter jacket and he suggested I head to the ladies’ section to look for, what else, pants. I snickered, thinking they couldn’t possibly have anything that anyone else didn’t have but off I went, to waste some time while he shopped in coats. When what did appear before my wandering eyes but…could it be…COTTON jeans? Well, no, they were the usual stretch denim variety that everyone else pedals. But hanging next to them were casually styled corduroy pants. No, they couldn’t possibly fit any better than jeans and I was exhausted from changing in and out of my clothes already. Sigh. I had time to spend so I grabbed a few pair in three different sizes and headed for the changing room. OK, no luck. Then I saw another pair on the way out of the changing room that I hadn’t previously noticed so I went to take a look. Sigh again. An elastic backed waistband. “Well”, I said to myself, “how much worse can that be than leggings?” So off I went again to the changing room, armed with yet more corduroy, ‘relaxed fit jean’ style pants. When I zipped up the first pair, I nearly fainted! I was sure I grabbed on to the handle bar on the wall! Fit? Fit. FIT! The angels broke out in a rendition of ‘Hallelujah’ that was so loud, I feared I would be ejected from the store!
I did not walk, I ran to the nearest sales associate to ask if they had these pants in other colors. “Only two I’m afraid, but I do have more in different styles,” she replied. “No, I want THESE” and she broke out laughing, then informing me that they were one of their best sellers. I told her that while I was not a fan of the elastic backed waist I would take as many colors as were available and that’s when she told me she wished she’d had more because they were flying out of the store. It seems there are a multitude of women in all age groups looking for pants that actually fit, without the Lycra assistance. This lovely young thing also reassured me that the elastic waistband, while looking rather ‘dowdy’ was not deterring even younger gals from their phenomenal cut and, as people are used to complete elastic waist leggings, no one seems to care as they are covered by a top anyway. Best of all, no belt required!
I asked about other pants for those of us gals with a bigger behind and a tiny waste and she pointed me to L.L.Bean’s version of the straight-leg fitting winter legging—a heavy knit pant that can double as a casual date night trouser or slacks with a blazer for a more professional look. I had my doubts but she assured me I would not be disappointed. Bring on the second near faint. Not only did they fit my body, but they curved in to hug my waist and the length was long enough for a mid-heal boot but not too long for a low winter shoe. I don’t think I have ever been so overjoyed by a shopping find in my entire life. Even a new designer handbag purchase that I had saved for months to buy wasn’t as thrilling. I felt an elation like no other.
I no sooner dressed, bundled up my find and headed out of the dressing room when Mr. LucyLoves came wandering over. He asked me if I had any luck and I handed him four pair of pants. I kid you not, his jaw hit the cold tile floor. “They fit? They really fit?”
“Yes, babe, they really fit”.
“She’ll take one in every color.”
Live a beautiful life!