?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
I have always found it easier to skirt around it - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
j4
j4
I have always found it easier to skirt around it
Today I went on a quest for work-smart trousers. The sort of trousers I can wear with any of my plain skinny-tops or neat three-quarter-sleeve jumpers, and it will immediately look moderately smart and not unsexy. Comfortable trousers which don't make any particular statement about my identity.

You see, the tops were easy enough to find; on Saturday I spent £15 in charity shops and came away with six assorted tops, mostly from well-known high street shops (as if I cared), in black, purple and navy. All machine-washable, all sufficiently unmemorable that nobody will notice if I wear them on a 6-day rotation. I hoped that the trousers would be equally simple; and besides, one needs fewer pairs of trousers than tops. Not being able to face another trawl through charity shops, I thought I'd have a look through the sales in Miss Selfridge, New Look, et al.

Big mistake.

I'm sure I remember a time, not so long ago, when trousers covered one's knickers. When one pulled on a pair of trousers and the waistband settled, as its name would suggest, around one's waist. You see, I am not a flat-stomached 17-year-old, I do not wear hot pink thongs, and I do not particularly want to reveal my comfortable Big Pants to the world at large -- both for my sake and the world's.

What I want should be simple enough: black trousers. Just plain black, with pockets, covering the area from waist to ankles. Beyond that I don't care whether they're button-fly, zip-fly, side-zip, drawstring, elastic-waisted, clasp-fastened, cotton, polycotton, wool, synthetic, faux moleskin, crimplene, combats, cords, boot-cut, stretch-fit, straight-cut, or even bloody bell-bottoms.

What I do not want is distressed-satin hipster pedal-pushers with gathered or ruched turn-ups. I do not want shiny PVC plus-fours -- at least, not for work. I do not particularly want my trousers pre-faded: the washing machine does that for me quite nicely, thank you. I do not want my trousers ripped, frayed, coming apart at the seams, with unfinished edges: time and wear will deal with all of that. I do not want the trousers to be made of four different types of material, all of which will inevitably shrink at slightly different rates. I do not want every seam to be embellished with smocking, studs, patches, gauze, ribbons, buttons, press-studs, chains, strings, D-rings, and all manner of other trailing bits and bobs; and above all I do not want the word "angel" emblazoned in rhinestones across my goddamned ARSE.

In the end, I resorted to charity-shop sifting again, and eventually bought two skirts: one straight-sided, charcoal grey, almost-fleecy mostly-cotton Pepe Jeans skirt (£6); and one slightly more full and flowing Laura Ashley skirt, in soft black synthetic material (£5). Both fulfil all my criteria of sensibleness, leg-covering, and washability (though whether I can cycle in them remains to be seen). The only point where they fall down is the regrettable absence of pockets; but having moved from trousers to skirts, perhaps the next logical step is (whisper it!) a handbag. That should be easy enough, though: I just want something black and sensible...

Current Mood: trousered-out
Now playing: Aaron Tippin: "Kiss This"

Read 28 | Write
Comments
huskyteer From: huskyteer Date: January 5th, 2004 09:52 am (UTC) (Link)
My quest for Work Trousers ended at UNIQLO, who did me a most inoffensive pair in medium grey. I still regret not buying a black pair too, especially as the New Deal was paying...
j4 From: j4 Date: January 5th, 2004 04:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
What is this UNIQLO of which you all speak?

I keep meaning to go to BeWise, but whine whine Bar Hill long journey whiiiine.
lnr From: lnr Date: January 5th, 2004 09:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm seriously contemplating blokes jeans again. I'm back in the size 22 pair from Evans that started me on the diet in the first place when I couldn't sit down in them any more. The waist is comfy, just right, but there's room for a whole extra arse in them I'm sure, as well as a couple of extra half legs. And blokes trousers thankfully don't seem to come in glitterly, hipster, pedal-pusher, flares.
ghoti From: ghoti Date: January 5th, 2004 10:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I find that women's jeans gape at the waist, if they fit the hips, whereas men's trousers of any sort allow for a waist-hip difference. I'm still not sure why.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 5th, 2004 10:39 am (UTC) (Link)
That's funny -- I find that men's jeans are a bit tight on my hips if they fit my waist! OTOH it's much easier to get cheap men's jeans, and I can usually find some that more or less fit.

I didn't really want jeans though, this time. I have a nice pair of black jeans. I wanted something that stays smarter a bit longer, and takes less time to dry after washing. ... Okay, maybe I am fussy after all.
ghoti From: ghoti Date: January 5th, 2004 10:41 am (UTC) (Link)
*nod*. Sorry, I'm being confusing - my experience with proper smart trousers, especially suits, but also everything between jeans and dress trousers, has also been the same. And they're more likely to have pockets.
lnr From: lnr Date: January 6th, 2004 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Hang on, isn't that the same. Too small in hips if right on waist, so if you get a bigger size to fit on the hips it's too big on the waist?

I seem to have a bigger waist compared to hips than most women do, which is why I reckon I might get on better with blokes trousers. Though it's apparently a sign I should worry even more about being overweight, since it's supposed to be healthier (for some reason) if you put your weight on your bum instead of your belly.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 6th, 2004 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Hang on, isn't that the same.

Er. Confused now. ghoti said:
I find that women's jeans gape at the waist, if they fit the hips, whereas men's trousers of any sort allow for a waist-hip difference. [my emphasis]

Isn't that the opposite? I'm really confused now. But she says men's trousers allow for the waist-hip difference, and I say that men's trousers don't seem to fit me on both the waist and the hips at once. Isn't that two different things?

Though having said that, men's trousers are generally designed to take a belt, so it's easier to draw them tighter around the waist.

it's supposed to be healthier (for some reason) if you put your weight on your bum instead of your belly

Personally I'd be very sceptical of that "supposed to be healthier" without hearing a good reason for it.

lnr From: lnr Date: January 6th, 2004 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooops, sorry, brain, I didn't re-read her comment very thoroughly on reading yours, and had assumed she was talking about men's too. Yes, I'd find your version more likely.

http://www.weight-loss-i.com/body-shape.htm is the only place I've found that mentions any specific studies on body fat distribution, although it doesn't provide proper citations. Apparently storing fat in the abdomen rather than the hips correlates with a greater risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes. And I certainly have a moderately high blood pressure.

It seems many places recommend a waist:hip ratio of 0.8 or less in women (0.95 or less in men). And I'm currently at 0.84.
imc From: imc Date: January 5th, 2004 01:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Blokes' jeans do seem to be what you need if you want pockets. Never understood why. I have no complaints with M&S's black `moleskin' jeans, but then I'm a bloke so I'm supposed to like them. Because they are slightly stretchy I can get away with still buying 32" ones, while with other trousers I've had to give in and get the 34"s
j4 From: j4 Date: January 5th, 2004 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Never understood why.

A lot of women's clothes don't have pockets because it supposedly spoils the line of the clothes. This is, of course, bollocks; a well-made item of clothing can incorporate pockets without spoiling the line. And with jeans etc. there's no line to spoil really. (And, indeed, most women's jeans do have pockets.) I strongly suspect that, historically, the reason women's clothes don't have pockets is that women weren't expected to need pockets, because they didn't do things, or have money. And that this state of affairs was to be encouraged.

In the past I've managed to find plenty of pairs of smart women's trousers with pockets big enough to contain my oversized wallet, my phone, and my ludicrous bunch of keys. Hopefully sensible clothes will come back into fashion again one day. <sigh> Goodness, what an old fogey I'm turning into...
j4 From: j4 Date: January 6th, 2004 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Never understood why.

A lot of women's clothes don't have pockets because it supposedly spoils the line of the clothes. This is, of course, bollocks; a well-made item of clothing can incorporate pockets without spoiling the line. And with jeans etc. there's no line to spoil really. (And, indeed, most women's jeans do have pockets.) I strongly suspect that, historically, the reason women's clothes don't have pockets is that women weren't expected to need pockets, because they didn't do things, or have money. And that this state of affairs was to be encouraged.

In the past I've managed to find plenty of pairs of smart women's trousers with pockets big enough to contain my oversized wallet, my phone, and my ludicrous bunch of keys. Hopefully sensible clothes will come back into fashion again one day. <sigh> Goodness, what an old fogey I'm turning into...
k425 From: k425 Date: January 5th, 2004 10:22 am (UTC) (Link)
IKWYM. Except I do care about the shape - I want slightly tapered or straight, and the one chain that used to do the right style/cut/fit closed last year. *sob*

As for handbags, M&S did a decent shoulder bag a couple of years ago - big enough for my normal pocket gubbins plus book plus nappy changing kit - black and sensible. Or how about a small black rucksack?

I do not want the word "angel" emblazoned in rhinestones across my goddamned ARSE.
Well, no, you don't need it spelling out.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 5th, 2004 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I want slightly tapered or straight

Slightly tapered? How peculiar. Reminds me of that 80s craze for ski-pants or whatever you call those trousers with the bit that goes under your foot. I've always tried to avoid things like that -- I find they emphasise the thickness of my legs too much. And make me look shorter, though that could be just paranoia on my part (most things make me look short, because, er, I'm short).

Or how about a small black rucksack?

A rucksack would be more the thing than a handbag or shoulder-bag, really, yes; I find it hard to cycle with things slung over one shoulder. I have a little black shiny bag with two straps (so it can be worn in the style of a rucksack) but it's a bit evening-ish, and very small -- ideally I want something that's big enough to contain wallet, phone, keys, Palm, Swiss Army knife, camera, gloves, and at least one book. And sticking-plasters. And sweets. And string. And all the other things a girl should never be without.

[me:] I do not want the word "angel" emblazoned in rhinestones across my goddamned ARSE.
Well, no, you don't need it spelling out.


Hah! I'm no angel. Say halo, wave goodbye.
k425 From: k425 Date: January 6th, 2004 12:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Slightly tapered? How peculiar.

Yes, well, I can't deny that, but I don't like trousers flapping around my ankles! And anyway, I was an 80s teenager, and wore ski-pants (and pedal-pushers) and liked them. They're better than flares!

Hah! I'm no angel. Say halo, wave goodbye./i

:-)
From: bibliogirl Date: January 6th, 2004 02:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm with you; I live in M&S leggings, which do have the strap under the foot (no, no, not always the same pair). They're comfortable, they fit, they stretch, etc.etc.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 6th, 2004 02:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I suspect you, like k425, are a good bit taller than me and a good bit thinner than me. If I wear leggings, I look like a ton of lard in a lycra sack.

Also, leggings have no pockets.
From: bibliogirl Date: January 6th, 2004 05:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Taller, possibly (5'6"); thinner, almost certainly not. But indeed my legs, compared to the rest of me, are relatively thin.

The lack of pockets is sometimes a problem but I carry a reasonable amount of crap... uh, useful everyday stuff... in the pockets of my fleece. And I also, may the gods take mercy on me, have a handbag, which was mostly bought so I could shove books in it and also manage to get another piece of hand luggage on aeroplanes.
k425 From: k425 Date: January 6th, 2004 09:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh my, does M&S still do leggings? I finally cracked and got rid of my 10yr old pairs last year, because I'm never going to be a size 8 again (and a good thing too). I lived in them for a while. Their only drawback is the lack of pockets (pockets really /would/ spoil the line!).
From: bibliogirl Date: January 6th, 2004 09:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, they did, the last time I ordered some, which'd be maybe eight or nine months back... but I can't spot them on the web site at the moment. I shan't panic just yet, though, they seem to go away and come back with reasonable regularity.
k425 From: k425 Date: January 6th, 2004 10:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I shall look out for them next time I'm shopping for clothes for me.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 6th, 2004 02:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't like trousers flapping around my ankles!

Very few of my trousers flap, but then I often have to turn them up because they're always too long for me, and the turnup probably stops them flapping. Maybe some of my trousers are slightly tapered, I probably wouldn't have noticed if it's only very slight. I will have to go and measure the diameter of all my trousers now, dammit!

I was an 80s teenager, and wore ski-pants (and pedal-pushers) and liked them.

I was an 80s child (didn't get to teenage until 1991), and hated having straps under my feet. They irritated me. I have flat feet, though, so maybe people with proper insteps don't even notice the strap.

They're better than flares!

Hmmm. I'm not over-keen on flares, but I'd definitely rather have flares than leggings any day. And I'd rather have some trousers which were flared but otherwise quite plain, than non-flared with lots of buttons and bows.
k425 From: k425 Date: January 6th, 2004 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I will have to go and measure the diameter of all my trousers now, dammit!

Hey, it's a hobby!

hated having straps under my feet

I didn't love that, but judicious positioning of straps and socks helped.

Right now I'll take just about anything that fits and will do so for a few weeks - all the maternity trousers were too big about two weeks after YoungBloke arrived and I'm intending losing a bit more of the belly before I go back to work. At which point I'll need new trousers anyway, so I'm not spending lots on an in-between wardrobe.
taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: January 5th, 2004 10:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I do M&S, though they're more expensive - about £26-£32 for decent trousers. They last and look good though :)

Otherwise, the Red Cross charity shop in Wimbledon Village is a marvel, if you're ever down there - it's dedicated to clothes and they weed out all but the best stuff. Tesco have some black cords at the moment at about £15 iirc - I got some the other day but they turned out to be too short in the rise. Pity, they were nice.
julietk From: julietk Date: January 5th, 2004 11:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I find shopping for trousers an entirely horrendous experience. I don't like ones that sit on my waist (my waist is a bit high, & they look funny); I cycle enough that women's trousers that are even remotely tight won't fit; half of them aren't long enough; etc etc ARGH. This is why I wear the same pair of jeans all the damn time. I think I may need another pair soon, but am *not* looking forward to this.

Miss Selfridge etc are no good at all, though. UNIQLO are OK, other than that M&S are a good bet, or somewhere like Next. Fewer spangly whatnots.
karen2205 From: karen2205 Date: January 5th, 2004 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Try some more 'grown up' shops - M&S, Debenhams etc. Comfortable black trousers do exist (I've got two pairs from Evans, and am on the look out for a navy pair - but there doesn't seem to be anything navy about at all at the moment.), you just have to keep looking.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 5th, 2004 04:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll try "grown-up" shops when I have something approaching a grown-up's salary. :-/
karen2205 From: karen2205 Date: January 5th, 2004 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
*general sympathetic noises* - still, have a look round them - you can find some very cheap things if you're in the right place at the right time - particularly during the sales.
Read 28 | Write