Tag Archives: jeans

Booty and Buying Jeans

I’m one of those gals with booty, as they like to call it. Or a bigger ass than is the norm. However, I must really wonder what the norm is. We often think we’re the only ones with an issue or a problem, but mention it and it turns out it’s common for a lot of people.

Like booty. My hips and waist have quite a difference in ratio. First I must get them over my hyper developed calves, (not the ones mooing in the fields), then over the larger than average thighs and hips to the smaller than average waist. Should I get them all the way up, I usually have enough room in the waistline to cart a baby around. Suffice to say it’s extremely hard to find any pants and I revert to skirts more often than not. Yoga pants are fine because they stretch.

You would think that pants that fit below the waistline would make it easier because there is less disparity between upper hip and lower hip. But oh no, this is not so. Often when I try those pants on they give me plumber’s crack and that ain’t attractive on anyone. Now it’s easy to think that I am some misshapen creation but when I’ve talked with other female friends who I wouldn’t consider overweight at all and some even very skinny it turns out most of them have the same problem.

They say they can’t get them over their thighs or if they get them over their hips, they gap in the back. These slim women, like me, cannot find pants to fit. Interestingly, tall women can’t ever find pants or shirts long enough. Now if you are of genetic Asian heritage your waist to hip ratio on average will be less than those of European or African heritage. You’ll have to ask an anthropologist for the difference in people’s physiologies because there are books written about the subject.

But suffice to say, for the average North American woman (that’s you and me and not all the anorexic models) we come in a variety of sizes. I remember being at a new year’s party once and we got talking about clothes and the whole booty problem. When I looked around the room, all these beautiful women had what many would call a slightly bigger than average butt. The media goes on about J-Lo’s booty and I can’t see anything wrong with it except that it looks like a nice curvy butt.

Media and fashion, the bane of every normally sized person. And just who is it that the fashion industry makes all those clothes for anyway? Sure there are “average” size people, according to those sizes but many of us are curvier. I went shopping last week for a new pair of jeans. I hate shopping for pants because it’s trying on size after size, often with no luck in getting anything even up to the hips, and by the end you feel fat. My jeans are always pretty near to skin-tight because if I go for a larger size, it’s far far too large for my waist. So I’m always wedging myself in.

Last week’s excursion saw me in about seven different stores; Sears, Bootlegger, Stitches, Le Chateau, Suzy Shier, American Eagle, Zellers even. In some there were not enough jeans to try on, as in the legs were too skinny or the sizes too small to even start the laborious process of struggling into fabric and getting overheated. Stitches seemed to have nothing but 00, 1 and 3 sizes. Zero isn’t a size and it certainly wasn’t even ten years ago, but hello, anorexia. However, this told me that Stitches was catering mostly to the tweens, the young kids before hormones wop them and give them breasts and leg hair and shape.

After negating several stores just for sheer similarity in jean sizes and one place that had $98 pairs (I won’t pay over $50 for just jeans), I tried on about 40 pairs of jeans. I developed a system for measuring the narrowest part, the knee, and if it wasn’t as wide as my hand I didn’t even take the pair in to try. Of those 40 a few only got as far as myknees. Most of the others I pulled all the way on, a few with jumping about, and did them up. But between plumber’s crack and gapitis none worked. I think there was one pair but they didn’t look good. There”s no point buying something that fits if it doesn’t look good on you and you end up not wearing it.

Tired and hot, I gave up and headed out of the mall. But I happened to pass Mark’s Work Wearhouse. I think of them as work clothes, overalls, muckin’ huge boots, that sort of thing. But what the heck, I went in. Not only did I find pants that fit I found that they had four styles: contemporary, classic, modern and curvy. Contemporary fits slightly below the natural waistline; classic fits at the waistline, modern fits below and curvy fits below but designed not to gap.  They didn’t have a lot of the curvy style in but they fit me and they didn’t gap. I ended up finding the only one left of another style with a modern waistline, and they were on sale. Thank the gods for curvy and recognizing that there are those of us who have hips.

Many of my friends, when I posted my yippee on Facebook, wanted to know where I found them. Stores that decide to cater to more than boy-hipped girls would probably find their sales going up as many girls with booty would worship there.

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Personality: You are Who You Pretend to Be

As a child I was extremely shy and introverted. This doesn’t mean that I was weak or without personality. I was fairly strong willed but I wouldn’t talk or do anything to stand out in the crowd. The argument for nature vs nurture might play in here. My personality was imprinted at birth. My circumstances affected how my personality played out.

Growing up in a home rife with turmoil and many abuses probably made me into the shy and insecure child that I was. I was picked on, teased and remained in the background. I remember my passive aggressive act when one girl was bugging me in school. I didn’t confront her but as I walked home I spit on the sidewalk in front of her house.

In grade 7 I was still fairly shy but starting to flower in personality (as we are all wont to do in teenagerhood). I had a few friends, and was trying to fit in. However, my mother asked me what I wanted for Christmas (or my birthday) that year and I said a purple dress/shirt/some item of clothing. I received a wardrobe of purple; pants, tops, dresses. Everything was purple. I could not wear purple again for about ten years but today it is a color I wear frequently.

With that geeky stigma of one color, I tended to cringe and become conscious of clothing. I also looked at Margaret Parsons in my class. She was shyer than me, had red ringlets (really gorgeous red hair actually) and wore a school uniform. In retrospect I have a lot of sympathy for Margaret and Morag, who both came from school systems with uniforms. They stuck out like sore thumbs and again, moving into a district wasn’t easy. They were definitely outsiders and looked at strangely. Kids are very cruel, not yet tempered with the social skills on how to stab someone nicely in the back.

Back to Margaret; she was very very shy and quiet and I decided then and there that I didn’t want to be like her, which meant I had to change. It was important for me to fit in. My family was different, with divorced parents, not going to church, fighting. All my friends had more “normal” families. First was the clothing. Jeans and T-shirts were much the norm for teenagers.

By late high school I upped the ante again. My clothing was mostly in shades of blue and brown. I decided that if I wore brighter colors it would make me more outgoing (and had read something to that effect). Basically it became a case of fake it till you make it. I did this again in art college.

Overall it was a long, slow transition, but little by little my clothes got brighter and my personality changed. I started to wear more jewellery (some would say I wear too much) and became a clothes horse, liking fashion and trying to find unique styles. But along the way I consciously challenged my boundaries. And sure enough, I went from being a shy introvert to and outgoing extrovert.

Few of us are 100% of anything. We all have introvert and extrovert in us. I can be quiet, even withdrawn, and sometimes prefer to sit back in the sidelines and watch. But I also enjoy being at a party or around people. Had I not pushed myself I would have probably remained an introvert. Would the switch have happened anyways? I don’t know. But I’m sure it would have taken much longer.

Wearing bright colors was a physical manifestation of how I wanted to change and I think it did work towards bringing me out of my shell. And shell it was, a protective coating from a tumultuous home life and the jibes and jeers of class mates. Interestingly enough, I grew a different shell, with bolder colors that stopped a lot of the teasing once I wore them with confidence. So yes, I think a leopard can change its spots.

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Fashion and Discipline

Back in the bloom of my youth I went to a typical high school and dressed like a typical teenager. That involved a lot of jeans and T-shirts. Alberta had a junior high school system as well, which covered grades 7-9. It was fairly conservative and run by a principal reviled by most, Archie Wilcox. He was known for being draconian and supposedly had influence in getting his job through a brother on the school board. He was so nasty that at one time his tires were slashed and this was in a day before people were carrying guns or even knives at school. And when he started having an affair with one of the teachers and all of the students knew about it, we laughed at him. He was not loved at all. One day he was addressing the class in his lover’s classroom and his fly was undone so we all snickered at him. He nearly blew a gasket, not knowing what we laughed at.

In this stalag (Simon Fraser Junior High) we were not allowed to wear jeans and one day my homeroom science teacher said, “I need to talk to you about your jeans.” I heard, “I need to talk to you about your genes,” and looked at him confused until he elaborated. I was wearing a pair of light blue not quite jeany material but the cut was too jean like. So I was told I needed to change.

Our homeroom in grade 9 had a rep for being bad and unruly. I’m not sure why but we were definitely feisty (maybe it was one of our boys who slashed Wilcox’s tires). One day I was going down the hall, looking back over my shoulder, and ran into the doughy bosom of Mrs. Acton. She, like Wilcox, was old school, and was his right hand man from what I recall. She wore her hair in a bun, seemed always old and was built  like a battle tank matron.

She looked me over from the sharp edge of her glasses and told me to go see the principal about my top. It was what we called a pop top, sleeveless, and short. It showed about an inch of my midriff. So I went to the principal’s office where he told me I was not conforming to the dress code (or something…I don’t quite remember). I do remember saying back to him, “But this doesn’t affect our learning any,” and I repeated it, unrepentant. Wilcox bubbled a bit and I remained adamant. So I was sent home to change.

I wasn’t as knowledgeable or set in my opinions as perhaps I am now (though I like to think I’m always listening to the other side). Home was a 20-minute walk each way. I arrived home and told my mother what had happened. She agreed with me that my dress didn’t affect my learning but she made me change anyways. So grumpily I complied. (The part of this that may have also influenced her was that my sister had had problems with Wilcox–due to illnesses, I think, and my younger brother transferred to another school because of this principal. He was definitely not someone my family cared to associate with.)

In later years, I thought maybe the instructors were worried about the boys not learning if they were staring at girls in midriff tops. The truth is, that as teenagers everyone is trying on and forming their personalities and sexuality. Girls will show off their bodies if they can. People will wear what they consider sexy, especially if they’re trying to attract the opposite sex.

Now I’ve heard that some schools have banned T-shirts that portray slogans. To make it fair, they ban all slogans to be sure the racist or bigoted ones are gone too. Some ban certain tops, or jeans so low they show the butt crack or underwear, or skirts so high they show the butt. Will it affect learning in general? No. I’m all for banning racist, prejudiced and bigoted comments from a learning environment. Teenagers also like to push boundaries, theirs and others. But what about the clothing  now that I’m no longer constricted to wear, or not wear by teenagerhood, school and all that entails?

Well, I work and I’ve almost always worked where the dress code was lax (or been self-employed). When I worked in a department store we weren’t allowed to wear jeans or dresses that showed our arms (I don’t think that part lasted long). Most places, unless they’re dealing a lot with the public, don’t care if you were jeans, shorts, skirts or T-shirts as long as they’re clean, not so old they’re scruffy and torn, and decent. Decent usually means no short shorts and no bellies showing. Some places may required little to no cleavage showing. It varies depending on the profession.

But as to schools and teenagers…well, they’ve never been the epitomes of fashion. Not that some people ever grow up to have a fashion sense. Teenagers are great experimenters in all aspects of their lives. With their individualism comes trying on everything from attitude to clothing. Too many, I think fall to peer pressure but some go their own way. And should some aspects of their clothing be banned? Well, they should probably remain decent but decency in dress has to be defined. Is a skirt two inches below the butt indecent or okay? Is a top showing some cleavage or a navel fine? Fashion and styles have changed (and come around again) from when I was a teenager, but not that much.

Some of the issues are still the same. The conservative people and administrators will still see certain fashion items as wrong, slovenly or indecent. My mother always equated jeans to working on farms because it was only farmers who wore them when she was growing up.

Granted times have changed and these days there are more and more cases of guns in schools (remember I’m talking mostly Canada here–gun mileage in your area may vary) so the range of what is acceptable may have changed with more “worldly” attitudes, but I think as long as the essentials are covered, in all positions (such as bending over or walking up the stairs in a short short skirt), then teenagers should be allowed the freedom to find themselves and experiment.

Of course, I don’t have kids. I could be singing a different tune if I did.

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Fashion Nightmares: Baggy Bottom Pants

I’m hugely grumpy today so instead of whinging about my problems and the mean people out there I’m gonna bitch about fashion. Along with people that spit everywhere, one of my other pet peeves are the baggy bottom britches.

I’m not just talking about a person whose butt shape doesn’t match that of their jeans. Some people are just buttless and can’t fill out the space. Others, like me, have more than enough but always have extra waist on the pants. I’m talking about those homey boy pants, those misfits of fashion that started out as what, taking grandpa’s pants? Of course, all anti-fashion, such as the original punk movement, becomes fashion and affectation. Hip hop or gangsta pants were just that, starting as hand-me-downs and emulating poor, thug or prison culture.

Woo, that’s what I want to look like, a poor slob. Granted some of this came out of true poverty and humble beginnings, it took on a new life. There are those that argued to ban these fashion nightmares (which they tried in some State) would be racial profiling but I live in a predominantly white and Asian metropolis and it’s the white homies wearing  the pants. They usually have ‘tude all over their face, which I guess you need if you’re going to wear something so ludicrously fugly and impractical.

I mean, face it: thug culture. Not likely that these thugs would be attacking you if their pants kept falling down and inhibiting their fast retreat. Baggy pants did change from the giganto waistband that let them slip off of narrow boy hips. The legs stayed baggy but the waistbands tightened up. I guess guys got tired of hitching up their pants every time they took a step. There is nothing less attractive than showing your boxers in whatever disrepair. They’re not attractive, not sexy and I don’t give a rat’s ass how much you might have paid for them. Oh, there is one thing more hideous, the butt crack. Sorry, not attractive on women either, not lurking above ill-fitting jeans and bulging out of underwear.

The worst offender of the supposedly baggy, sagging pants fashion was a wannabe homey, wearing his tight T-shirt and his long shorts worn low on the hips. They weren’t that baggy so perhaps he was emulating the more recent hip-hop trends. But lo and behold, his briefs weren’t, and were there to be seen, worn right up to the waist, in bright bright red and a good six inches showing. It was actually hilarious. Threatening? No. Tuff? No. Just absolutely ridiculous.

Besides the one benefit of guys in baggy bottoms not being able to run from a robbery, there are few benefits. That particular hip-hop/gangsta image overall is now outdated, but outmoded fashions never really go away. No matter how goofy I can see how baggy, loose jeans work for skateboarding , if you find it uncool to wear track pants or yoga pants. (Are you crazy, lady? Who in their right mind would be caught dead wearing yoga pants on a board?) Yeah, crazy. Until someone decides it’s the coolest fly anti-fashion and starts the next trend.

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The Evolution of Fashion to Antifashion

The 14th century hood with a modest liripipe (tail). From medievaldesign.com

Fashion changes and often goes through anti-fashion. In the middle ages a popular piece of clothing was the hood (your first medieval hoodie). It came with dagged edges in a variety of shapes like scallops, fleur de lys, pointed, etc. And it came with different lengths of liripipe or the tail off the back of the hood. The hood was first worn as you would expect, where it was pulled over the head, the face peeking through the opening, the tail hanging down the back or sometimes wrapped around the neck as a windbreak.

But as the essential fashion progressed, the young guys would take the hood and

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The hood got tossed on its side and the liripipe was lengthened. From: medievalenterprises.com

place the opening on the top of the head, flopping the dags to one side and wrapping the liripipe around the head to hold it all in place. A rakish hat, to be sure. This exhibits how fashion has always been created to serve a purpose and then it may become more decorative or serve a different purpose than what was first intended. Some fashion was dictated by climate, some by what the rulers were wearing, such as the high forehead of Queen Elizabeth I (caused by a syphilitic dad) but popular with the women who may have plucked their hair to give them high foreheads.

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One way not to lose your baggy pants, suspenders. Sexy. Uh yeah, sure. Creative Commons: Signature9

Sometimes fashion goes so far afield that it is only popular with a small group, notable for its bizarre look but not catching on with the majority. I would consider the overly large pants, with crotches to the knees that young guys wear. The style has adapted so these pants that still look like you’re a 12-year-old who stole his grandfather’s pants have a smaller waist. Often, they’re worn overly loose so they hang halfway down a guy’s butt, showing off his underwear. I’ve seen some ludicrous reaches of this unfashionable fashion. One was the kid whose pants were hanging under his butt cheeks. The other was a guy in a tight tank top/wifebeater and pants worn low with about six inches of his waist-high, bright red underwear showing. It wasn’t sexy at all.

The good thing about the baggy ass fashion is that it’s popular with the skateboard crowd, which has eschewed yoga pants and lycra, and gives the liberty of movement. The other good thing is, you know if a guy is wearing pants like that, he’s not likely to rob a store because he’d have to run holding his pants up.

Plumber crack fashionsare just never good. The lower pants also came in for women, but more formfitting and displaying pierced

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The Backtacular Gluteal Cleft Shield to hide the butt crack. Really? Just…don’t.

navels, and sometimes hipbones. Thong underwear seems to go hand in hand but showing the T-bar at the back over a butt crack is still not attractive. There is about one percent of the population of either gender who might be able to get away with this. Presume you’re not that one.

Another really silly style is the platform, high heel runners (tennis shoes) or the heelless ones. But then one could argue that all high heels are silly, even though we (men and women) have been wearing them for about four hundred years or more. Chopins of the Renaissance were really clogs to put your shoes into for walking in the muck. They got to ridiculous heights of twelve or more inches and required an attendant on each side to keep the person upright. Conspicuous consumption? You bet.

This made me think back to what my friends and I wore as teenagers. Bell bottom jeans that were overly long. Some people hemmed them but having frayed and full of holes was an acceptable look. T-shirts. I had one that said Panama Red before I knew what that was and my friend had one with Bugs Bunny on it. We obviously wore these often enough that my nickname became Panama and hers Bugsy. Completing our lovely ensembles were lumberjack shirts, as we called them (sometimes known as mac or mackinaw) and they were a thick flanneled cotton in red and black or black and green plaid. They were the jacket of choice before we got jean jackets.

I know my mother didn’t like this fashion and thought jeans were something worn for working on the farm, but we were within our teenage realm. Not everyone wore what my friends wore but there were enough of us that we probably formed our own antifashion. Fashion will continue to come and go and go through its antithesis of anti-fashion. I’m sure at some point in our lives, every one of us shakes their heads at what people are wearing.

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