Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pants.

Perhaps some of you, my readers, have insight about pants. Below is a conversation with my friend Amy. We need help.

Ann,

My dear stylist, what does one would wear for pants these days? I am just waking up from my FoggyBottom coma and I need help dressing myself. I have no pants.


Yesterday I spent 4 hours going to 2 malls (this is the way one shops in Atlanta). I was armed with macys and bloomingdale and loft gift cards, hoping to find 3 pairs of casual-nice pants to wear for normal social activities and maybe another pair of teaching/conference pants. I wondered around like a zombie finding tons of beadazzled jeans, black dress pants, and polyester bell-bottoms. I came home empty-handed, remain virtually pant-less, and unsure how to proceed except to avoid social activity.


I'm going to try my shopping spree again the next time I'm in a northeastern city. But, I'm feeling lost and thought I'd ask your trusted insight first: What does one wear these days? Where does one shop for pants? If I were a paper doll, what would you clip onto my legs? What's on your legs? How about the legs of other women who look good?


Whenever this activity tempts you, if you might find it fascinating, let me know!! Amy


Dear Amy,

Oh lord, pants. I have been thinking about your message for days, alternately laughing and sighing. I have very little to offer you for advice, having found my pant niche about a year ago. I either wear very cheap skinny jeans from the Macy's Junior's department (they're about $30 a pair and made to fit my adolescent boy-type figure) or woman's Dickies classic work pants. I own one extremely expensive pair of wide-leg black wool pants that I wear for all occasions for which skinny jeans or Dickies are not appropriate.

However, aside from the extremely expensive pants, these are probably not the most flattering options for your curvy, shortish body.

Would you mind if I post your dilemma on my blog? I think others will have suggestions, and, even if they don't, will be amused by and identify with the struggle for pants.

your stylist, lost in the world of pants,
Ann

Looking through my photostream, it seems that I am always wearing the same pair of Dickies, to be honest. Those of you who have met me know this to be true.

That last one is from Rhinebeck, in my Vert & Horiz sweater, with Kara Gott Warner, editor for DRG publications and Creative Knitting. Check out our shared sense of eyewear and haircut style!

The point is, though, these Dickies have gone from work pants to all-occasion pants.

What do YOU do for pants???

24 comments:

Andrea said...

I'm probably much help in the pants department. I too, have a boyish frame, although I'm probably seven inches shorter than you! Wearing pants that are deemed short tend to be too short and regular is too long. I have a couple pairs of jeans that I've worn to death and they actually don't fit in a very flattering manner. Maybe she could try finding pants that fit in the hips and have the length and waist tailored?

Salty Miss Jill said...

Skirts.

hannah said...

As a short and curvy woman, I find that the best plan for pants is this:

Go to a large thrift store (Value Village, Savers, etc.) in a reasonable area, and look at the dress pants. There are usually lots of pairs of wool and cotton pants from places like J Crew and Banana Republic, which are barely worn (or even new with tags). Try on everything that looks okay, and then buy at least three pairs, because once you get home you might change your mind about some of them.

Following this procedure, I generally end up with at least one or two new(ish) pairs of wearable pants, and a third to wear in a pinch, or which may grow on me in the future.

Karen said...

Tights are not pants.

jsdknits said...

As for pants, I wear last year's J Crew cords, both matchstick and boot cut and for good, I have a pair of tweed wool slacks from Ann Taylor, purchased 10 years ago!

They work for me because they come in shorter lengths and I don't have to have them altered (or do it myself).

Thea said...

If not denim jeans, then 5 pocket cords. and for more fancy stuff, tweed dress pants with boots.

and a cardigan!

Mrs. Burris said...

Being of the short, curvy body type, I suggest Lee khakis (which actually come in a number of colors). I usually buy these at Kohl's, but I've seen them at Penneys and other stores as well.

StaceyKnitsIt said...

I don't have many stores near where I live. So when I shop, I go to Old Navy or Kohls usually. I like my pants to fit similar to your photos. Not too tight, casual, comfortable. Being 5' 2" to 5' 3", I also have a similar problem like Andrea-either too short if labeled short or too long -at times- if Regular. I also don't like to spend too much $ on clothes. I usually walk in the fitting room with a piled high arm load and come out with 1 or 2 if lucky. Sometimes none depending on the styles at the time.
I like boot cut leg or boy style best.
I often have very few pants in my wardrobe at a time and they get very worn looking. Have to go pant shopping again after my baby arrives.
Good luck on your finds.

craftivore said...

Pants are evil. I find it impossible to find a pair that will fit my curvy, short body well. For a time I made my own, but knitting has pushed out my sewing urge. Now it's either yoga pants or jeans and I almost always have to hem them. I have a couple of pairs of dark trouser jeans that have to do when it's dressy casual, otherwise it's dresses.

intrepidrn said...

I took a rather drastic approach a few years ago and no longer have much choice in the pants department. Though, when I am to dress I too get flummoxed . . . .

intrepidrn said...

I took a rather drastic approach a few years ago and no longer have much choice in the pants department. Though, when I am to dress I too get very flummoxed . . . .

vulpicula said...

As a member of the short curvy tribe, I have had good luck with the "curvy" fits at the Gap and the "Jackson" fit at Banana Republic. The selection tends to be limited, but they might be worth a shot.

That said, I mostly wear skirts.

Amy said...

This is one of the few problems knitting cannot solve.

Moondancer5 said...

Here are my solutions, yours may vary. When you find the right pair, buy LOTS of them on sale: I have given up on store shopping for pants, I'm a plus, and stores don't want us to exist, they have everything online.

Try Lee's website, Land's End, Eddie Bauer, or, lately, Old Navy. Although they stopped making them recently, Land's End claims they're bringing back the cotton/spandex knit pants I lived in (cotton knit is no good unless there's a bit of spandex in it, otherwise it sags something awful). Eddie Bauer has a number of styles that go from boyish to curvy shapes, Lee's has jeans and pants that have side elastic in the waist for no-gapping, and Old Navy has the new skinny jeans in stretch fabric that work really well under tunic-y tops. Good luck!

Kim said...

Last week I walked out of Ann Taylor Loft in disgust. I am so sick of the low waisted pants era. Plumbers crack & muffin top are not good looks for me nor is it comfortable. New York & Co is ok for office/work pants. For jeans I've had some success at Banana Republic. Grrr, pants.

Emily said...

I hated pants shopping so much that I finally got my ass in gear, found a pattern I liked, and made a pants muslin that modified that pattern so it actually fit me. It's a lot of work up front, but now I can have a new pair of well-fitting pants whenever I have 6 hours to spend. Obviously, this is only a viable solution if you know how to sew or are willing to learn. :-P

Pants shopping is hell.

nipper said...

I am also curvy and short. Buying pants is hell. I've found Gap and JCrew pants work best on my figure. Gap's "Sexy Boot" cut has enough flare that it offsets the curves a bit, but not so much flare that I look like I'm wearing bell bottoms. JCrew's trousers are the best business-casual, mildly preppy, but not too preppy pant I've found.

Kelsey Marcus said...

Being short and curvy myself, I've found that Express actually has some great jeans available. I also recently found that I love Joe's Jeans- specifically the Honey Fit because they fit nicely and have a higher waist (no butt crack here!) but I did buy them at Norstrom Rack otherwise apparently there are ridiculously priced but it's worth it to check them out.

Natalie said...

I can't answer for short/curvy, since I have a 36" inseam. For the tall/curvy among us, I pretty much only buy pants at Long Tall Sally these days. When I need a new pair I go directly to their clearance/sale page and order anything that looks like it might work. If it doesn't, I return it or pass it on to a local consignment shop. LTS pants really work well on my big hipped, small waist-ed body.

Rainy Daisy said...

I finally found that the trouser pants at Banana Republic almost always fit me in a flattering way - my problem being curvy butt combined with long legs. But I tend to go for the slightly-baggy sort otherwise. I think people who want their legs to look longer should opt for skinnies. And if you go to Modcloth, they are featuring lots of those odd baggy-on-top-skinny-on-bottom constructions. Weird. In your professional opinion....really? are those REALLY going to be popular?

Meganne Fabrega said...

Moondancer5- and everyone here- I feel your pain. I am a tall 14/16 and I agree with Moondancer5- when you find a pair of jeans or pants you like buy them wherever you can. I find that DKNY jeans from Macys.com (bootcut Soho stretch)are fantastic, come in black, and not too expensive. Needless to say, I live in them since I hate pants shopping and only go when absolutely forced to (and sometimes embarrassingly beyond that point). Even my nine year old this morning was having pants issues...if she only knew what awaits her...

kmorris88 said...

I'm short & sz 6-8. I have to hem all pants, even Shorts, or have them hemmed. Banana Republic does free hemming for Luxe card members. Their Martin pants fit me very well, except for hemming, but I also am very tired of the low-cut waist phenomenon! Please, give us pants that come up to the belly button, at least.

For yoga & casual, I love Patagonia Serenity tights. They are designed to fold down at the waist but you don't have to fold it, resulting in a soft, organic cotton/Lycra knit pant that comes up to the waist. They are fabulous - I have them in 3 colors. They often go on sale, and it's so easy to shop online. Try buying the first pair a little big for a less than skin-tight fit.

andrea said...

i have a tough time with pants, due to a lack of curves, long legs, and size of my rump in comparison to my waist.

i basically alternate between a pair of Converse for Target jeans that are magical, a pair of black cords that i bought 6 yrs ago that are the best fitting pants ever (orig. bought at Urban Outfitters of all places!), and a pair of black wool pants for work (but i hate how they fit).

i wear a lot of skirts with leggings underneath, as i can always find short skirts that fit me well - both new and in thrift stores.

Kathleen Lawton-Trask said...

I am short and curvy as well, and aside from one triumph with a pair of Boden trousers that were promptly discontinued when it was discovered that they made me look reasonably okay, I have horrible pants luck. Not only are pants either too long or too tight on me, but the lining of my pants rips at an alarming rate, which makes me feel I am elephant-sized even though I am not. It's PantsPocalypse. I do like AnnTaylor's pants since they come in shorter lengths, but one has to wear them for several seasons to make them pay for themselves. I like Hannah's idea about thrift stores - might try that this winter.