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This picture, from Jeff Perry, is ample evidence that it wouldn’t kill me to wear some dang clothes that were something akin to my actual size.

If I wanted to look lumpy, dumpy, frumpy, and generally awful, I would continue to dress this way in public.

Despite all photographic evidence to the contrary (and there’s an unfortunate lot of it) I don’t especially enjoy going around looking like a potato-sack with a helmet on top. To that end, I realize that I’m going to be doing another round of wardrobe-culling and another round of pants-making in order to remedy some of my problems.

I made some “pedal pushers” a couple of summers ago, a red pair with teardrop-shaped pockets in back and pleated cargo pockets low on the legs and a black pair with patch pockets at the hips and butt, cargo pockets on the legs, and oversized grommets and ties to hold the pockets shut. Both pair are practical, comfortable, and flattering. I’m planning to make a couple more pair after those patterns, and maybe a couple of pair cut shorter – mid-thigh length for shorts for the height of summer.

I am not a big fan of super-revealing summer clothes these days. Even though I have a perfectly acceptable figure beneath my normally-bulky clothing, I am not a big fan of showing it all off. I can’t stand wearing cycling shorts without something over them. I just hate having my butt hanging out there exposed to all the world. Actually, that’s one of my general objections to cycling clothing as a whole – too revealing. I feel nekkid.

When I was in college, I went through a significant phase of embracing all that was revealing, skimpy, midriff-baring, thigh-high, and overtly sexy. I think this is a pretty common phase for young women between the ages of about 17 and 25, when you’re reveling in being able to wear whatever you want without your parents yelling at you, when you are exploring your powers of attraction, when you are young enough (and old enough) to pull it off successfully. Then I went to England, where most of the time it was a bit dampish and a bit chillyish for skimpy clothing. Also, not many other people aside from the Spice Girls were going around in fingertip-length skirts and wild colors. It made better sense to just pile on the Shetland sweaters and acclimate. When I got back to the States, I immediately got into a job in a notoriously conservative field (financial services) and was constantly getting in trouble for my flamboyant and occasionally revealing fashion choices. I also got a lot of attention I didn’t want from men both at work and out in public. It became less trouble to just wear more clothing.

Me wearing a stupid hat and a furry vest circa 2002.
More photographic evidence to suggest that I never really have known how to dress.

At a point in my life, I considered my eccentric-to-the-point-of-utterly-ridiculous fashion sense to be an absolute boon. My slogan for a while was, “good taste is somebody else’s problem.” That’s all fun, fine, well, and good, but the thing is, I get embarrased being seen with myself sometimes, and that’s not fun, fine, well, or good. (photo circa 2002, note flower-bedecked beanie)

As I have gotten older, I have become savvier about shopping and started getting stylish, professional clothing secondhand, mostly at the Junior League thrift shop. By my late 20s, I started to have the ability to pull off nice suits, dress pants and fitted blouses, and skirts that only showed about half of my legs. Being a little more “undercover” has become my default comfort state. When it comes to my professional dress, I manage to pull it together and look pretty respectable and sometimes even chic on a reliable basis. But when I am off-duty, and at home or out goofing around, any pretense of style or aesthetics seems to go right out the window.

Unfortunately, while I know better than to wear clothes that don’t flatter me, I frequently do just that. I refuse to wear things which are too tight, because it is uncomfortable and makes a person look like a stuffed sausage but I have a tendency to go too far in the other direction and wear clothing that is way too large. The clothing that fits me best tends to be in the US size 4-6 range but I have and occasionally wear a pair of pants which are a 10. And yes, they are quite a bit too big. And yes, they don’t look very good on me, either. The pants in the horrible picture at the top of this entry are a pair of men’s 30X32s which are pretty obviously too large. I know wearing things that much too big is unflattering, yet I do it and pretty often. They’re comfortable, sloppy, and dreadful. I don’t feel like I have to worry about getting them grubby. When I look like a red-hot-mess, I feel merrily at ease – up until somebody takes my picture. Then I groan, gripe, and fuss about how godawful I look, and wonder why I allow myself to go out in public looking that way.

So, I’m working on a resolution to stop going out in public looking that way. To make some comfortable-yet-flattering clothes for casual wear, and to cull out the horrible pants and replace them with decent ones. There’s no earthly reason for me to go around looking the way I all too frequently look, all frumpy and sloppy. I know better and I can dress better than that!

So the point of this whole entry is that I’m about to do some more thrifting this weekend. Last weekend’s trip was a bust; the shop I wanted to go to has gone under and I didn’t really have time to go from there to any of my other choices. This weekend, though I am going to check out several in a pretty compact area. Wish me luck!

One Response to “Clearly I need to stop wearing pants three sizes too big.”

  1. Julie Stark says:

    Oh Michelle – a girl after my own heart! I am running pretty low on grungy work clothes, so this week I’ve been wearing some of Tracey’s raggedy clothes while painting and digging in the yard. I’m sure they look terrible, but man do they feel great and loose enough for total movement. I also need to hit the thrift stores.

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