Monday, September 15, 2008

Skirting the Issue

I've been thinking about clothes again.  More specifically, I've been thinking about how much more I like skirts than pants.  There are, of course, many reasons why they are superior.   I don't know if it's just a quirk of my posture or what, but I really do think they are more comfortable than pants. (By pants, I mean "real" pants.  I love a stretchy pair of yoga/sweat pants and mourn their unsuitability for most functions in even my SAHM life.)  And don't even get me started on jeans; I think jeans have to be the most uncomfortable items of clothing in a woman's closet.  I remember watching an episode of the U.S. version of What Not to Wear where the victim claimed that jeans were uncomfortable and that the entire world must be operating under a mass delusion to make them the casual uniform of choice.  It was refreshing to hear someone whose experience with jeans is so similar to my own.  Of course, such a feeling led this particular person to live her life in pajama pants and stained T-shirts, which isn't the path I'd prefer.  Fortunately, I have another option: skirts!  Cooler in warm weather than even shorts, easier to get to fit, and just straight-up more comfortable.  I do prefer to wear pants on the coldest days because I am undecided on whether wearing tights under a skirt is a comfy option-- are they basically yoga pants (my clothing nirvana) with feet, or a torturous item of clothing likely to sag down and constrict?  I still vacillate on that dilemma.  Fortunately, I now live in a climate where it is prime skirt-wearing weather for all but a few weeks a year.

My fondness for dresses and skirts is based on aesthetics and comfort and is not at all ideological.  I feel like I have to make that clear because of my years of being homeschooled and living in a cultural milieu where it sometimes was.  Homeschooling families are an interesting and diverse bunch, but there always seems to be a strong representation from the extreme far-right crowd with their women and girls wearing ankle-length old-fashioned dresses and hair grown philosophically long.  I must admit that several times a year something will remind me of the whole "modest clothing" scene and I end up googling and reading blogs and whatnot for a day.  It's the worst kind of voyeurism; I mentally snigger but these clothes, just a few tiny steps away from Quaker plain dress or traditional Mennonite garb, engross me.  It must appeal to me at some level or it wouldn't absorb me on occasion.  I must be modest-clothing-curious.

Actually, I can explain the appeal to some extent.  I love clothes and I think it is so interesting how we use them to identify ourselves to others and send a message about who we are.  That message can range from "I want to fit in" to "I am not part of the crowd" to "My baby spits up a lot and my life doesn't have room for a lot of time for myself these days".  I feel an affinity for people who dress outside the cultural norm; clothes do tell the people around us something about ourselves so why not go with it?  And wouldn't the world be more fun if there were more people dressed like they're going to a steampunk convention or Burning Man?  My own sartorial desires lean toward a sexy-librarian/1950s vintage look, sort of like the (rather annoying) Kenley on the current season of Project Runway or the oft-referenced-by-me Erin at A Dress A Day.  Who knows?  Perhaps someday soon I shall go full-on eccentric.


amydove said...

I actually find pants a lot more comfortable than skirts, particularly in hot weather. With skirts you have your legs rubbing together which is just not pleasant in sweaty times. You could wear shorts or tights underneath, but then it is not really the skirt that's comfy. Plus, I like to be able to spread my legs at times (not in that way, dirty minds), especially when it's hot and I want to air out, and skirts just don't allow for that unless you are Britney Spears. That said, I do wear skirts more than the average grad student and I do like them a lot. I guess I go for looks over comfort. I also do find jeans to be comfortable - maybe you need to get some with stretch.

Julia said...

I know the jeans thing must be some quirk of my particular figure; surely the entire world would not wear jeans as often as the population does if the jeans felt the way they do on me. I have tried so many jeans, at price points from Target to Paige, with stretch and not, high-waisted and low-waisted, and on and on. I wear them when I think it is socially expected, but I don't like it one bit.

angie.a said...

Ok it's official! We were separated at birth. I loathe jeans. Wearing them when it's socially expected is EXACTLY when I wear them. And I, too, hate every minute. I've tried every price point too (well, OK, I've never tried a $200 7 for mankind pair, but that's insane so I haven't on principle.) I much prefer skirts! The only beef I have with skirts is that it's so humid in OK that I sometimes have issues on hot/humid days when my thighs feel like they're sticking together (TMI? LOL.) ugh.

I'd wear dresses & skirts everyday! But alas, I mainly wear pants to school because it's what i have in work clothes right now and I hate hose. I do like tights though.

And...I enjoy Kenley's design aesthetic. While I appreciate so many people find her very annoying, I think its alot of editing illusion because the lot of them are so boring in reality. And frankly, her comments are always in defense of her work and her design...and there's just something charming about a woman standing up for her design no matter what.