The Pants Rant

It’s official: I hate pants.

Last week contained a long stretch of subzero days. So did the week before. Heeeey, week before that, too. (And it’s getting kinda OLD, Minnesota, any chance you could knock it the eff off?) I don’t have far to walk in the bitter, biting, soul-disintegrating cold, but after a certain number of snot-freezing days in a row, I give up. I tire of dealing with the freezing knees and breeze-tickled ladyparts that come part and parcel with winter skirt wearage. After a certain number of snot-freezers in a row, I will resort to pants. Silk long underwear and heavy duty pants-pants.

Now my pants wardrobe is decent but – at this point – underutilized. Within the past year I finally accepted that a girl with my figure just plain looks better in skirts, and I’ve seldom looked back. Therefore, pants have languished. Many of my pairs are fairly floppy widelegs that do poorly in wet, snowy conditions and must only be worn during the five dry, warm days we get each fall/spring. A few pairs fit only on bloat-free days, and several are in outlandish colors that work very occasionally. Just not a lot of pants-y outfits being constructed in my world.

So back to last week, right? Defeated by seemingly endless subzeros, I decided to haul out my go-to cold weather pants: A pair of super heavy black twill slacks purchased at the Gap last year. Slapped on the longjohns and yanked on the pants … only to discover that the dry cleaner had shrunk them a bit. In both length AND girth. Swell! Futzed with the top half of an already annoying outfit for several minutes before settling on some slightly awkwardly layered v-necks and a shawl, and trundling out the door.

Friends, I looked awful.

My previously smooth acrylic shawl began to pill and look moth-eaten by noon. As its static field charged to epic proportions, it also became a magnet for shed hairs and miscellaneous office lint. My bottom-layer-shirt had long sleeves and top-layer-shirt had three-quarter sleeves, which normally looks kinda cute and quirky … but in this case just looked like an amateurish mistake. Even my hair got in on the fun, wiggling free from its ponytail and sprouting, Medusa-like, from my scalp.

But the pants. The pants were the miserable main event.

Those evil pants squooze my belly, creating unsightly muffintop that even my pilly shawl could not disguise. And since the waistband on my long underwear tends to creep northward throughout the day, I was occasionally treated to DUAL muffintop from the waistbands of both undies and regular pants working in concert. Plus the pants were now too short to be slacks and too long to be crops … so they just looked wrong. There was much disgruntled sighing, tugging at cloth, and displeased scowling.

And YES, I was PMSing at the time, so there were angry hormones involved. But still! The whole experience reminded me that I am just not a pants person. I will wear them occasionally, and feel pretty comfortable kicking it in my jeans on the weekend, but generally speaking I am all about the skirts. Pants – clothing originally designed to fit MAN ASS – just won’t work for me, no matter how many lady-accommodations have been made in recent redesigns. Skirts are for me. I look smashing in skirts, and sub-par in pants. And I will deal with freezing knees for the remainder of the winter to avoid feeling as uncomfy, frumpy, and grumpy as I did during last week’s pants fiasco.

Images courtesy Banana Republic.

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62 Responses to “The Pants Rant”

  1. Christina Lee

    ya know, I owm a couple of pairs of trousers that fit me like a glove and if anything EVER happens to them, I will cry!!! Because they are my go-to pants every time!In a way, pants are like jeans- finding the right pair is like finding a needle in a haystack!!!

  2. Deja Pseu

    Those pants you pictured? Those are Jackson fit trousers, which I consider absolute miracle pants. They are “curvy” (cut generously) through the hips and thighs, and don’t gape at the waist…in other words, they fit like a dream, skimming over tummies and saddlebags. No, I don’t work for BR, just LOVE these trousers and have them in a few styles and colors. (Can you tell, I’m a trouser gal? I have more trouble finding skirts that work for me.)

  3. Michelle

    AHH, you are hysterical,and totally reading my mine. I HATE pants, even when a lady not as curvey as me wears them, I tend to think they look funny, sexless. I champion the skirt too, (but I am a wuss and can’t wear them in the winter b/c that means tights, ewwww, and cold legs….ouch). So, trouser jeans! and, ok, really heavy tights too, but luckily I live in a warmish climate. I am totally going to stock up on skirts for the spring and summer.

  4. Amy

    I hate pants. I also live in the soul-sucking place that we like to call “Minnesota” and just last week I finally decided that I couldn’t wear skirts and tights any longer. I bit the bullet and pulled out my pants.

    I have lost a few pounds over the past few weeks (mostly thanks to a demonic cold that won’t. let. go.) and so all my pants fit me perfectly. Yet – I still hate them. I have a very hourglass figure with substantial thighs. Pants are not meant to fit this form. Even when they fit, they always look a bit off. Either they are baggy in the butt or they gap weirdly at the hip or waist. Either way – not flattering.

    And I have a couple pairs of Jackson pants from BR which, I admit, are better than most. I’ll still take skirts/dresses any day and twice on Sundays to fit and flatter my body.

    I am so looking forward to our upcoming “warm up” (if you can call near freezing “warm”) just so I can dip into all my beautiful skirts and dresses again.

  5. GreatCanadianBeagle

    Hey There,

    I am with you! Oh yes, I am. I’ve recently discovered your blog, and the more I read, the more I’ve come to the conclusion that we have essentially the same body. Same height, smallish chest, hips galore, small waist. And on and on. So I speak from a simillar point of reference when I say that skirts are just BETTER for our figures.

    When I was in high school , I hid behind humungous sweatshirts and Modrobes, these insanely brightly coloured, loose, scrub-like pants that I believe were only ever available in Canada. When I grew up a bit and decided that I wanted to look like a girl, I quickly became frustrated with my options as every pair of pants I tried fit in the waist but squeezed my thighs, or fit in my thighs but fell off my hips or…well you get the idea. It took a big re-conception of myself to go for skirts, but once I did, there’s been hardly any turning back. And I live north of the border, so skirt wearing in winter is a major commitment. I find double layering of wool and cotton tights does the trick on most cold days. I even hike and skate outdoors in a skirt. I have a couple pairs of Mountain Equipment Co-Op serious outdoors pants, and a pair of snow-pants for skiing, but short of these extreme situations, its skirts all the way!!

    And your description of snot-freezing cold? Brilliant! I know winter’s beginning to drag when I see pictures of girls in Southern California with their comments about the jean jacket they had to throw over their sundress because it was cold, and feeling an almost murderous rage come over me for just a second…

  6. Cal

    If I could wear a skirt or dress every day for the rest of my life I would…and I’ve felt that way pretty much since birth.
    Today I have on pants. They are cute. They are also fighting with my underwear and my butt has become the casualty. Perpetual wedgie at the office = not a good thing.

  7. Casey

    This post cracked me up! πŸ™‚ I have developed over the years to someone who very rarely dons a pair of pants. I just don’t like feeling like my boo-tay is being squished in a million places. rofl! In fact, I think the only pants I own are jeans (which are more “wardrobe must-haves” than anything else). *sigh* I just prefer the ease and flattery of skirts; just makes one less thing for me to worry about and stress over. hehe!

  8. Sal

    GreatCanadianBeagle: Hi, has anyone ever told you you have THE BEST INTERNETTY NAME EVER? If not, let me be the first.

    I am yet to layer tights because I tend to have enough trouble with the creepings and migrations of a single pair … but many people have recommended this technique, and I’m sure I’ll go there sometime this winter.

    And I love my Cali girls to bits, but also have flashes of murderous rage when I hear complaints about it dipping below 40. I was PSYCHED when I woke up today and it was a balmy 11 degrees. I shit you not. I WORE A MINISKIRT.

  9. Linda

    I am so with you. I don’t understand the insistence from so many fashion mavens that we all “need” to find the “perfect jeans” that are out there if we “only” commit to trying on 758,000 styles and then hemming them to the exact length for each pair of shoes we might ever wear with them. EVERYTHING about skirts is sooo much easier, even in the winter (and Boston is not as cold as Minnesota, but it’s pretty cold).

  10. Couture Allure Vintage Fashion

    I’m just the opposite. I look AWFUL in skirts and never, ever wear them. I think there is one skirt hanging in my closet from years gone by. Pants are for me!

  11. Hammie

    obviously we do damp cold more here in ireland but I usually go for a skirt and heavy tights combo on a cold day. Leather skirt if it is really swishy sleety rain. I find my leggies get to warm each other that way??

    I don’t agree about pants; but skimming black lycra is gorgeous on a bumptious figure although your arse might get sore from getting pinched all day for looking so lovely.

    Wear a short tunic dress over soft lycra pants and get the best of both Sal. Oh and lycra pants look great with long boots – plus have you considered leg warmers on those cold knees?

    You can pretend to be Irene Cara in your lunch break – you want Fame? you gonna pay for it; In Sweat….

    ps. sounds like someone needs to have a trying on day – with a big bag to go to goodwill. seriously stop tormenting yourself with clothes that do not fit or flatter. I am So Itching to come over there and do it for you!!Don’t make me send Clinton and Stacey to you!

  12. christine

    presently…i do not own a decent pair of pants. That said, I wear skirts…and occasionally(alot , actually…lately) I freeze. I own some wool stockings that I wear over tights on really cold days…but honestly, I too…am a woman. Thus, the woman shape. I look awesome in skirts..for the most part. I move better too. I hold myself differently in a skirt, as if I know I look more womanly. My husband even comments that I am flirtier in my skirts!
    so…that said…skirts it is, I even went out in the snow with my littles in a cord skirt with long johns underneath. How bout that?!

  13. Sharon Rose

    Hi there-I’m a great lover of jeans and leggings but not trousers. I have 2 pairs of black trousers for a ‘just in case’ occasion, I just much prefer dresses. I don’t really do skirts much, I have 4 denim ones. Soo, my favourites are jeans, leggings and dresses!

  14. Alison

    I’ve gone both ways. A few years ago I didn’t own any skirts or dresses. This last year I have been wearing both. I actually like them now. The winter does get to me, but even a night out at -34f I actually wore a skirt.

    You guys totally crack me up, thank you for the entertaining post. At least it is going to be beautiful for the next few days!

  15. Sal

    Hammie: I know, I’ve now mentioned TWO pairs of ill-fitting pants. But the thing is, come spring and bike riding, they’ll all fit once more. It’s not them, it’s me. Know what I mean? πŸ˜‰

  16. Little Audrey.

    1) I have great legs but for some reason, I never wear skirts.
    2) I hate shopping for pants, yet that’s all I wear. Last time I went jean-shopping, I started crying before I even got in the dressing room.
    It’s fairly bizarre that you decided to write this post, because I’ve been thinking about 1) and 2) a lot lately, and trying to figure out WHY.

  17. La Belette Rouge

    I am a skirt gal. I always prefer to wear skirts over pants. I have very few pants( jeans I have more of but those are different). I do like Banana Republic pants and Jcrew pants well enough. But I prefer a skirt.

  18. K.Line

    I am SOOOOO with you. I have had this experience 5 times, it seems, in the last 2 weeks. And I have PMS and I hate everything, especially the relentless -20 degree days that are worse with windchill and the fucking snow that will not go. I’m actually getting depressed by it all. Oh, I feel your pain. You are not alone.

    Also, good chance to buy some new ones and burn the others! (When’s that ban finished??)

  19. Noemi Rochelle D

    Darling you just have to find the perfect pair of wide leg forgiving pants in a dark color. Put on some heels with them and look tall and lean. its all about the perfect pair trust me. I have also struggled and I mostly wear black leggings underneath my dresses all winter…xoxo Noemi

  20. i_b_erin

    Im a total skirt girl also..
    And yes, double tights work, as well as fun boots to help keep your legs warm.
    I wear them, and I feel dumpy dumpy dumpy..and the waist thing…uggggggggggggghh
    geeeezz why bother?
    Except an occasional sweat pant and home..teheeee

  21. Budget Babe

    I don’t own a single pair of pants. I live in jeans (all different colors and washes.) And if I need to dress up, I wear a dress.

  22. rb

    You know those little girls who will only wear dresses? I was one of those. And now that I’m all grown up, I still hate pants! One of the worst parts of going on vacation for me is trying to find something pants-like that I can wear for obligatory vacation things like canoeing (hubby’s idea of fun) or hiking (ditto.) I am tall with long legs and also wide hips, so it’s really really hard to find pants that fit in the first place, and then once I find a pair, I just hate how they look.

    One downside of being a skirt girl is having everyone constantly ask why you’re so dressed up. I am used to it at this point.

  23. glitterdice

    I hate pants too! I own exactly 1 pair of jeans (that I haven’t worn in a year), and a few pairs of dressy pants that get worn a few times a year at best. I live in NYC so it’s not as cold as your region, but I make due in the freezing weather wearing skirts. I layer tights with more tights (something seethrough so you get say purple under gray fishnet), and then a pair of thigh highs over the dual-tights. This way I get to wear amazing color/pattern combinations on my legs that I don’t get to sport in the warmer months! And if it’s really cold, legwarmers over that (they can come off indoors but look kinda fun with all the layering). And boots. I find this keeps me snug and warm and dry. Pants just get all wet at the bottoms in the slush so I don’t bother with them. Boo to pants!

  24. orominuialwen

    Getting to wear skirts comfortably all year round is one of the reasons I escaped Wisconsin to go to college in Florida! I look and feel awful in pants. I have and extremely high waist and round middle, so every pair gives me muffintop, even if they fit well everywhere else. (Where the waitband of the pants narrows, I get wider!)

    I wear skirts just about every day down here. If it gets “cold” like today (in the 40’s! ha!), I wear knee socks. Since I’m only home for about a month during the winter, I can get by wearing my ugly-but-comfortable pants (fleece leggings!) around the house and wearing layered floor-length skirts with tights outside. I’m also a great devotee of leggings under a skirt or pants.

  25. lisa

    Have you tried wearing leggings over tights, or layering thigh-high socks over tights? It’s saved me several times this winter when I’ve wanted to wear a skirt.

    I only own one pair of pants and I rarely wear them because they’re hemmed for a higher heel and require a thong to look good. Most of the time I’m a jeans gal. I don’t know what I would do if my office instituted a “no jeans” policy–the software developers especially might be at a loss.

  26. Kelly

    “clothing originally designed to fit MAN ASS”


    Anyway, I actually *just* posted my own mini pants rant a few minutes ago. I don’t hate pants in theory, but the body I’m working with looks a trillion times better when I wear skirts and dresses. I have pretty much give up on all pants except my beloved jeans – and only 2 pair of those are beloved. I cannot wait for the spring when I can shove all pants into the closet and not have to LOOK at them again for months.

  27. Anonymous

    Have you tried putting on two layers of opaque tights (worn with boots, of course) to stay warm? It may be a pain, but it sounds like it is way more favorable than pants!

  28. Q's Daydream

    Haha! Love this! I myself just today wore a pair of jeans to go grocery shopping. Well the entire time I was shopping I felt so confined and uncomfortable, that I started to believe everyone else noticed. The first thing I did when I got home, even before putting away the food was take those silly jeans off! lol! I guess what I’m trying to say is yes I’m a….dress girl! ;o)

  29. amy

    I TOTALLY understand about pants not fitting correctly. Ever since dear Aunt Flo became part of my family at the ripe age of 12, I have been gifted with a waist-to-hip ratio more severe than Marilyn Monroe’s. That paired with my “athletic” thighs (they’re made to pull a plow, as I’ve always said) does not make for well-fitting pants. I have been driven to buy the size that fits my booty and then taking in the waist two sizes. It’s soo fun trying to actually get these pants ON. That being said, I don’t tend to find too many skirts in the stores that fit me right either. Even so, I still prefer the way skirts fit/look on me. I guess it’s a good thing that I enjoy sewing! Right now I’m planning out the new additions for my spring wardrobe, and I don’t think I have a single pair of pants on the list. I can’t wait until the weather allows for comfortable skirt wearing!

  30. Brande

    Ok, here’s a question for you Sal:

    I love skirts. LOVE them. Like you said, they’re feminine, figure-flattering, versatile, timeless… in a word–perfect.

    My nearly obsessive penchant for paisley also helps my love of skirts, because there are so many of them in, that’s right, paisley!

    BUT. Ever since I gained weight in high school I haven’t been able to wear them. My upper thighs rub together and no matter how much I shave/wax/Nair them, it’s still like sandpaper every time I take a step. And I have to walk A LOT at my job.

    So I have condemned myself to ill-fitting trouser pants and unflattering wide-legs. *sigh*

    Is there a solution for girls like me? I can’t be the only one!

    Signed Hopefully,

  31. Sal

    Brande: Hmmm, I will give this some serious thought, but two things come to mind immediately.

    My Spanx are thick enough that even the pokiest of hairs can’t get through. My pair hits just above the knee, but they come in all sorts of lengths. So that could work, especially with more fitted styles.

    Or, depending how far down you’ve got rubbing issues, boxers or silky boyshorts under your skirts could help. Silk is probably a better bet than cotton since it’s less bulky, but maybe slipping on a pair of shorts under full skirts will curb that sandpapery business!

  32. E

    I’m hating on pants too, Beautiful Sal. I just checked my Flickr files and noticed that, with the exception of jeans, I wear pants on an average of one time per month.

    Just get a whole bunch of these babies and layer ’em up. It won’t be as bad as you think πŸ™‚

  33. Skye

    Sounds like a classic PMS kind of day. Bleurgh. I don’t like normal trousery kind of pants either, I think they are boring and unflattering and they always make me feel like the biggest frump in frumpville. I don’t have any advice – just wait for spring and have a big pants fuelled bonfire!

  34. Nina (femme rationale)

    the only type of pants i’ll wear these days are jeans. i’m not a fan of trousers/slacks, either. it’s just hard to find one that fits you perfectly. i feel you on this one.

  35. Cupcakes and Cashmere

    i just knew i’d like this post when i read the title in my rss feed. i feel you. 100%

  36. Style & Inspiration

    I totally feel your pain. I hate shopping because pretty much nothing fits me. I can’t even find a pair of eye glasses to fit me right! I call myself the “odd size girl”…pants, shoes, glasses, tops. So I’m totally relating. I haven’t worn skirts much…always have trouble with any kind of tights and finding the right shoes. Clothes are just generally uncomfortable to wear, but gorgeous to look at. At least that’s my experience!

  37. kittyscreations

    I am of the camp that likes both pants and skirts. I have a couple pairs of slacks that I love and look great on me. I also love to wear my pretty, girly skirts. I used to be a pants exclusive girl, but now I love both and wouldn’t want it any other way.

  38. The Seeker

    Oh no beauty, pants are so great!
    So comfortable and stylish.
    I’ve seen you in pants and you look soooooo good.
    You must find the perfect pair of pants, then you’ll fall in love. πŸ˜‰


  39. Kate Coveny Hood

    At some point in my 20s I realized that I didn’t have the best legs (I love how I had no idea before and wore minis like I was Barbie). So ever since – I tend to prefer pants to skirts. But having to wear “practical” pants for weather is another story.

    Sal you are so creative – can’t you do an 80’s retro thing with leggings under a skirt (maybe even leg warmers)???

  40. Imogen Lamport

    So many of my women clients have bodies shaped for skirts – the rise seam and bottom measurement vary so much from woman to woman it’s very hard to get pants to fit beautifully. The only pants I have that fit me really well were made for me by a bespoke tailor.

    My problem is not the extra lush bottom, but the completely washboard flat bottom, so I have saggy baggy bums in my trousers, which is not pretty.

    I love skirts, and am wearing them more and more these days.

  41. AsianCajuns

    Dual muffintops are the worst! I’ve been wearing tights under my pants since it’s been pretty cold here in Atlanta and it’s not pretty. It’s even more depressing when the tights are suppose to be control top and they just roll down as your belly flops over – not good for the ego!

  42. fleur_delicious

    can’t do without either. Like you, I look smashing in skirts, but I’m an incorrigible tomboy and every time I wear a skirt, I worry, “but what if I need to climb a tree today? Or hang upside down? Or run and play?”

  43. Sheila

    Oh my god, Sal, you just kill me. That was too funny.

    I am not a pant fan – I own maybe a dozen pairs (this comes from someone who has over 40 skirts and 40 dresses, so you see the discrepancy here) and I rarely wear them. I own 6 pairs of jeans (and 2 of them never leave the house they are so awful) and even then, I only wear them on casual days at work.

    Give me a skirt any day.

  44. miss cavendish

    I absolutely get this. But seriously, why don’t you ditch the long johns when you get to work? If I had to wear a layer of something under my trousers that added bulk (and long johns do that), I’d go mad from discomfort!

  45. Make Do Style

    To get a decent pair of trousers you have to spend large money and ensure alterations are made to make them perfect!

    Dresses and skirts are a delight, they look great but also good trousers do the same but without the funds the majoirty of us are consigned to durge and lack lustre offering!

  46. momo

    when the temps are below low, I wear pants. When they go up to warm enough where I don’t have to wear I can have bare legs I’ll wear skirts. I hate tights/pantyhose/stockings the way you hate pants. They make me want to commit acts of violence by the end of the day.

  47. Anonymous

    I live in the frozen north and know what you mean about staying warm in a skirt. There’s a useful and entertaining post on dressaday about warmth without pants:

    The comments are enlightening, too.

    BTW, you can wear your silk long johns under patterned tights (looks cool, feels warm)!

  48. Down Comforter

    I thought I was weird for hating pants too πŸ™‚ If I have to cover my legs for warmth sake, I always go to my jeans. Can’t wait for spring to pull out my array of skirts!

  49. NiKi

    i totally agree! i hate wearing pants, but as im doing chemistry for my degree im forced to wear jeans or pants. no shorts/skirts/dresses allowed. im working my way round it slowly πŸ˜€
    i look awful in any kind of pants. only recently i found some jeans i look ok-ish in.
    skirts and dresses all the way πŸ™‚

    have u tried layering leggings or knee high socks over your tights? knee high socks look so cute and have kept me warm many a winter.

    good to know im not the only one who hates pants πŸ™‚

  50. bernthis

    ironically, I own two skirts and that is it. I hate how I look in them and feel much sexier (my legs look longer) in pants.

  51. Coffee with Cathy

    Well, the wrong pants can do evil things to your body but when you luck onto a pair that loves you, it’s pure gold. Loved, loved, loved your story of being attacked by your outfit. That happens to me more times than I’d like to admit. You can always tell, can’t you, when your clothes are going to sabotage you as the day goes on? I’m sure you looked incredibely fantastic the next day in revenge!

  52. Spandexpony

    Hilarious post! This definitely reminded me of every day of junior high. Nothing fit right, everything was crappy, you tried to make an effort sort of and then suffered the humiliation of having people see that you tried but failed. Gahhhhh!!! I say, stick with the skirts. Layer the tights. The only time I wear pants anymore is on a supremely casual jeans day, or when the top of my shirt hits well below the waistline.

  53. Frances Joy

    I hate winter because I hate both pants AND tights. Not only is it difficult to find pants that fit my curves, it’s nearly impossible to find them in the right length – I’m too short for regular length and too tall for petite. It’s not as much of a problem with jeans, though. Why IS that?!

  54. heiligeglut

    Heh. When I was younger, I went to a Christian school, and all the girls HAD to wear skirts. When I graduated, I swore I’d never wear a skirt again. It took me a good five years to try on another skirt.

    Now…I haven’t actually worn a pair of pants since August. I’m in central Pennsylvania, so not as cold as Minnesota, but it still gets pretty nippy some days, and I find that two pairs of tights usually does the trick. The only problem is keeping the skirt from wanting to hide between my legs. I need more slips, dammit!

  55. fashion herald

    I’m a pants girl, i’d do classic ysl pants every day if I could! seems like there are two very defined camps on this, yes?!

  56. wimbittworld

    Coming in late to this discussion, sorry.

    I do not even own a pair of pants, except some sweat pants I wear to drive the kids to school on cold mornings. Of course, I live near Atlanta, where the cold is only mildly less than warm.

    To keep warm in skirts, I use thigh high socks (I shop at most days. For bitter days, I wear long johns under a longer skirt with boots. I hate tights. The waistbands always roll down and my tummy hangs over. The thight high socks are the way to go!

  57. MsKatieKat

    I am NOT a stranger to the dual muffin top. I feel you, Sal! There are times where I feel like foregoing pants altogether because they give me the muffin top from hell (or in winter's case, the dual muffin top from hell). However, pants accentuate my legs well. If only they made not-so-tacky elastic waistbands that won't squish mercilessly!

    So yes… I totally sympathize with the pants-hating!