Tag Archives: fashion

the white pants paradigm: hello, spring

2 Apr

Seemingly moments ago, in a post called “pot pie paradigm,” I wrote about the warm cozies that accompany the arrival of autumn: pumpkins and hot coffee and the undeniable desire to wear corduroy. Oh, and the undeniable desire for pot pie.

Sure I wore corduroy last week, after the official start of spring, but the rain was coming down in sheets, and all I wanted to do was sit inside and drink tea and eat the mini bundt cakes someone dropped by the office (unsolicited baked goods are surely on the long list of perks of working at a church). And then I made a half-hearted promise to stop incessantly writing about the weather on Facebook, where I also repeatedly threaten to get one of those UV lights that are supposed to make the sunlight-deprived generally less bummed out.

But then – the sun came out. Sure it may be gone tomorrow, but today, I want to eat asparagus. I want to rearrange the throw pillows, and edit my knick knacks, and maybe spruce up the joint with some flowers.

Yesterday, after a bright, happy day surrounded by Norman Rockwell looking, seersucker wearing, egg hunting children, and in a fit of sunny ecstasy, I went out and bought a pair of white pants. Ladies, you know the pants – they will look just perfect with a nautical, navy striped tee. Or a sparkly top. Or pink. Or wedge heels or sandals. Or even deck shoes, a colorful belt, or an arm full of bangles.

I think when a guy looks at white pants he sees a 1980’s Don Johnson or 1980’s James Spader, or most likely an impractical purchase. Maybe he says, “Don’t you have white pants?” And you say, “Um, those are cropped, and from five years ago and now they fit weird anyway,” or “Yes, silly, but those have a cigarette cut, and these are flared, but not like an obnoxious flare,  just flared enough to make them perfect for wedges.” It is at this point, and you can see it in his face, when he becomes sorry he asked. This scenario may also be applied to black shoes.

When women look at white pants in early spring, they see the promise of what is to come:

Sunshine and patios and tossing your head back to laugh. You will live in a catalog and you will not be sad. You are not allowed to be sad in your white pants, unless of course, you just sat in gum, which totally happened to my mom at Sea World. Now in 2012, we know not to wear white pants to theme parks, and most especially water-themed theme parks.

I’m going to eat brunch in those pants, but not just any brunch, it will be brunch with a view of the sea! I’m going to catch up with an old friend while wearing those pants and drinking a white wine spritzer (Yes, they still exist! And they are surprisingly refreshing! And if you were to spill, it’s got spritzer right in it, so it will probably not stain – so practical and smart. Somebody should pin that.)

My new white pants, with just the right amount of flare, are currently hanging like a decoration in my room, representing the pristine hope of spring. Nobody has touched them with potato chip hands, or dribbled iced tea on them. No animal has rubbed on them in a friendly greeting. I have yet to sit in something green or sticky while wearing them.

I will not wear them today or tomorrow; there is more rain in the forecast. I will leave them hanging there in place of the cheer-you-up UV lamp that one of these years, I really will buy. But the white pants are a better deal, which fellas, in the unlikely case you continued reading after you saw  “flare” or “wedges,” is something you might appreciate.

**Thanks for all the support and fun comments after the organization post was Freshly Pressed, which was way cool, and entirely too intoxicating. Thanks, hello and welcome to the all the new subscribers, and double thanks if you decided to stick with me after reading about my pants.

don’t call that vintage: threads

31 Mar

My mom showed up at my house a couple of weeks ago with an armful of hangers. “I brought you some of your clothes,” she said.

“Wait, what? What clothes?”

“Your clothes. From your closet at the house. They are all clean, and in good shape. Do what you want with them.”

And there in her arms were tops that I instantly recognized as yes, my own…my own, from middle school and high school. I held up each piece up for inspection with a suspicious eye.  I totally appreciate vintage clothes. I’ve saved some of my mom’s handbags and skirts from her Betty Draper days; well-made, beautifully cut classic wool skirts…now lovingly stored for the day that I shrink to the size of a Betty Draper smurf, so that I can actually fit into them.  (Note to self: Food was just healthier back then. It’s today’s additives. It’s advertising. It’s the economy. It’s your crazy schedule! It has nothing to do with how much you love cheeseburgers!) What I was looking at now, my friends, was not vintage.

The turtleneck tank top had arm holes that most certainly would have reached my waist band. My arms in high school were like matchsticks. How did I get away with this? Wait, it must be a headhole. No? Definitely an armhole? Oooooh, I forgot about the second tank top underneath. That must have looked fantastic. I stared at it. “I can’t wear this one mom.”

“Sure, you can,” she said matter-of-factly. “Wear it under a blouse. You know, like a dickie.”

“OK,” is really the only thing you can say to that without sounding like a jerk.

Aaaah…the teal button down, dare I say, “blouse;” also square, also cropped, but with a sophisticated hint of acid wash. I remember popping the collar on that bad boy to show off my asymmetrical bob (with perm), polishing the look with some high waisted, white, peg leg pants. I was trying to remember what shoes I wore with this while Zach lay across my bed on his tummy, legs kicking up in the air, chin in his hands, carefully surveying the situation. “That shirt looks like Spongebob Squarepants.” I nodded my head in agreement and put the Spongebob Squarepants shirt into the very special pile with the dickie.

I held up the short sleeve pink cardigan and it formed a perfect rectangle. I peeked at the tag. Hold the phone! Benetton! Scoring something from Benetton was a real coup in middle school. My mind was reeling with possibility – I could belt it, or wear it with some skinny jeans and flats (I say that about EVERYTHING). When someone would undoubtedly ask who the designer was, I could say “vintage Benetton” like they do on the red carpet…you know, vintage Chanel, vintage Halston…it would be exactly like that. I set about unbuttoning it, getting it off the hanger, mumbling to myself, “I’ll just take a sec and try this on, lemme get my arms through the holes, button this up…there we go…I can make this work, let me just take a look here   – wait, no, nevermind… I cannot. I cannot make this work.” I cannot wear a square tummy revealing pink cardigan with giant buttons, even if it is Benetton.

It’s not like it was Esprit. As a kid, and through certain parts of adulthood, I would wear anything Esprit. I’ve never since had such fierce brand loyalty. My parents would take me on pilgrimmage to the San Francisco outlet. I’d save every tag, and catalog each piece in an Esprit notebook. And this felt like a totally normal and appropriate thing to do as a brand loyalist. Last year, as John and I were strolling through New York, my heart leapt when we spotted…an Esprit store. I didn’t know any existed. I raced in, and though it didn’t smell the same as it did when I was a kid, I had the same sense of euphoria.  Before escaping to the Sony store to try out a 3-D TV, John looked around. “They know who their audience is,” he noted, “They are are marketing it directly to you.” He was right. I was surrounded by women who looked exactly my age, and who I’m guessing were crazy for the sutff in 1986. They probably cataloged their stuff in an Esprit notebook too, also in a totally not-weird way. I bought a pair of pants that day, which as it turns out, are the best pants in the world.

As for the little slouchy black cotton jacket with distressed metal snaps that my mom delivered with the other stuff? That, I may have tucked quickly and quietly into my closet.

The photos at the top are of my very styley and tiny mom. The b&w photo is circa 1958. The ones with the baby (my brother) are circa 1963. Down here, that’s me as a kid. I was really into “outfits”. I thought I was pretty hot stuff….I’m pretty sure it’s 1986, maybe 87.  If you look closely, you can see my first Swatch.