When Culture Eludes Me

With a title like that, you were probably expecting something sort of deep for a topic, right? Like why it’s actually a stretch to think that we might get adequate climate change legislation in my lifetime, or how it is that we have all these hybrid cars on the market and most of them still get under 40mpg…or something genuinely green.

No, what I want to talk about is mom jeans.

I need help, all you my faithful friends, and if you call me a fashion-impaired loser behind my back (or even comment quietly that if my rear end were smaller I might not have this problem) I won’t mind, as long as I don’t hear you.  Take pity on me, and lend me your aid.

Most of you know my deep love for ebay shopping. I honestly don’t much like shopping in stores, since I don’t have any time anyhow, and at 5’10” I can so seldom find anything that fits me off the rack, anywhere.  It’s why I learned to sew. And it’s why I know exactly which companies sell “tall” pants and jeans, and regularly do ebay searches to find out if anyone is selling a pair. Which is how I ended up with the like-new olive-khaki pants you see at left.  For $5.99. Not bad, huh?

While the big pluses of ebay shopping include good prices (if you know how to work the system), giving second life to otherwise cast-away perfectly good clothes, and avoiding patronizing businesses with whose practices I take issue, the minuses include not exactly knowing what you’re going to get till you get it. For example–normally when I see “boot-cut” I can interpret it as meaning “not skinny around your ankles”–in short, fairly normal down to the hem, maybe a little wider. That’s what most “boot-cut” pants I have look like.  These suckers, in real life, have a little bell-bottom vibe.  Not a big deal–I can always alter the bottoms.  And until I have time to do that, I can wear them to work only on days I know I’m just going to be sitting around in my office not really seeing anyone. (Or going to a staff meeting.  I honestly could care less what the staff thinks of my clothing choices.) Or to the park with the kids.  Or I can pretend I’m doing the 70’s retro thing.  Or quote internet sites that say these are actually now sort of “in.”  In a way, thank God for ebay, because until pants I bought there started having this lower-rise thing going, I didn’t really pay much attention and was still looking for the pants I’d been accustomed to for years. (You know, pants with waistbands.)

No, my real problem is the hips. Because until fairly recently, because I do most of my shopping on ebay, I subsisted on “mom pants.” You know the ones, the things you could last purchase new in the 1990’s sometime, except from Lands End–nice long rise, waistband that sits at the –imagine!– waist, a couple of pleats onto that waistband allowing room for that abdominal curve and rear-end curvier curve, pants you can work and walk and sit and crawl around on the floor in. To me, for ages, they were just…pants.  Until I first heard a teenager (with about 2% body fat and low-rise jeans on) refer to them as “mom pants.”  And saw this Saturday Night Live spoof commercial. And even found the “guide to mom pants.” (Is there anything you can’t find on the internet?)

So okay.  Even though they are apparently making a comeback (is there any greater sign that one is a fashion ignoramus when something is making a “comeback” that you never really knew was gone?), most fashion-y sites say they are pretty much a no-go. Which I sort of knew, I was just in denial.  Because I crawl around on the floor a lot with my kids.

Unfortunately, the alternative becomes pants that sit at your hips.  I’m not talking crazy-low-rise, which are just not in my universe, but ordinary pants that sit about at the hips and don’t actually come up over the hip bones to sit at the waist (I mean, you see the picture, right? These are practically mom pants themselves). Because the waist has this nice feature–it keeps pants from sliding down your hips.

So, any of my dear friends who wouldn’t mind helping me out here–how in the heck do you wear pants that sit at your hips without their a) falling down (I was running to be on time for a rehearsal in a pair of these and I swear I thought they would fall down around my ankles), b) needing to be unattractively hitched up every ten minutes, c) displaying my seriously not-huge-but-certainly-present love handles to their best disadvantage, or any of the other pitfalls of not having on a pair of no-worries high-waist pants that stay exactly where you put them all day?  I’ve been struggling with this issue, silently in the despair of my room, for probably a couple of years now, and I am still lost.  Is the trick to wear them so tight they won’t go anywhere? That doesn’t sound like much fun.

Please, I need help. I need an intervention. I need wisdom and guidance. And most of all, I need pants that will stay up.

(And by the way–any of my other dear friends who still wear the mom pants–and yes, I honestly do too, because I have them and they fit and I can do anything in them–you should know that you can still find them on ebay, fairly often, though it’s rarer every day…we can band together as a sisterhood, secure in the knowledge that we will never sport plumber-cracks nor worry that the world will know what kind of underwear we have on, knowing that whatever activity we are called to, we are ready. Mom-pants wearers, unite!)

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Posted on October 5, 2010, in rants, responsible shopping and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I can’t give up the mom pants. Now don’t get me wrong, they aren’t up under my bra, but they do sit at my waist. Hipster jeans make me look even chubbier than I already am. I have to hitch them up constantly and they are just simply uncomfortable. At the age of 42 I no longer care. Comfort is king!

  2. That’s the thing, you know? “oh no, Mom pants are so unattractive, they make you look all hippy and bulgy” Come on, like the hipsters don’t do the EXACT same thing?

    Then again, I was one of the ones who was really crushed when the whole leggins-and-tunic-tops thing became something you didn’t wear out of the house in public…I loved that, it was like wearing jammies all the time.

  3. Ha! I have a nicely prominent rear end that keeps them from falling down. 🙂 But I did have a problem with the plumbers crack thing until I started trying on my pants before buying. If they’re shaped right, the pants fit just right without showing my underwear – Gap curvy works well for me.

    But while we’re ranting about pants, can I just say that I hate skinny jeans. The other day I was out and about when I discovered a whole in my jeans in an unfortunate location (this was a seriously falling apart pair of pants) so I swung by the goodwill and bought the first pair of jeans that fit, unfortunately skinny jeans. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening feeling ridiculous because I look like a pear in skinny jeans and am not hip enough to pull them off and besides they give me flashbacks about junior high. Phew! Glad to get that off my chest!

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