I never buy new clothes. I have this theory: Clothing manufacturers make too many clothes and I can buy them at a discounted price by shopping second-hand. A lot of times I catch what I feel like is a real bargain. Some people apparently don’t even wear their clothes before taking them to the thrift shop. I can buy second hand clothes with the tags still on them. Score.
In June, I went to my first big grown-up writing conference. It felt like a big deal to me. I thought just maybe I should actually buy some new clothes. Put my best outfits on. Look professional. In trying to look like a grown-up, I bought a few Misfits’ Crimson Skull t-shirts. They are my absolute favorite shirts now and I want to live in them FOREVER.
As cool as Misfits t-shirts are, I knew I had to buy something in the ‘business-attire’ section of clothes. I guess we should discuss a huge secret of mine: I hate dresses. I feel awkward in a dress. I’m almost positive dresses weren’t made to properly fit my body type.
But I tried them on anyway. Don’t knock something until you try it, right?
In the fitting room, I found out that Calvin Klein has no idea how to measure his clothes. He’s not the only designer guessing at a size. I found out that no women’s sizes run any remote streamlined consistency in the numbers they placed on their tags. One size is too big in one style. Another dress in the same exact size wouldn’t zip at all. I kept trying on dresses because I had to. This writing conference felt important and I needed one good outfit. I began sweating profusely in the dressing room from trying on so many dresses in a gambit of sizes.
At this point, other customers probably heard heavy breathing and massive amounts of swearing which often reflects my general attitude to yell at inanimate objects.
“I HATE YOU, DRESS. Calvin Klein needs to get a fucking measuring tape. Screw you, asshole. Why do people pay ridiculous amounts of their paycheck for shit that ain’t measured right??”
You get the idea. The size thing bothered me.
It’s not about the number. I don’t care what number some rich designer places on my back. I would like to know what size I actually wear. Truthfully, I can’t really disclose that number because after trying on 1,000 dresses…. I have no idea. Ask me what size I am, here’s my answer:
10-16 or a medium to an extra-extra large. I guess it really depends on who made the dress that day and if they were completely shit-faced on their job. Maybe they measure dresses like my husband cooks. He eyeballs measurements.
I gave up on the image in my head of wearing this cute retro dress and shoes to match. I reconciled the shoes would only hurt my feet anyways.
There I was, standing in my sports bra and underwear, sweating like I’d ran two marathons because I had to do acrobats in a dressing room trying to zip up dresses. Also for the dresses that were too tight, and I couldn’t afford, I had to do these strenuous yoga moves when taking them off.
There were several trips made back to racks to hang up dresses. I checked my phone and realized I had spent a total of four hours in a department store and I still didn’t know what the hell I should buy. A light bulb clicked brightly on.
Secret disclosure #2: I am obsessed with the show Southern Charm. Mostly because my family and I like to vacation in Charleston, South Carolina. I like seeing the footage of them running around a city I love.
One of the characters (I don’t know what I’m supposed to call people from a reality show. Actress? Real life performance lady? You can pick a title, I’ll accept it) always wears white pants. They are slimming and and have a great summer feel to them. I went searching for white pants. Not just any white pants, THE PERFECT SOUTHERN CHARM WHITE TIGHT PANTS.
I know you want to sing it, go ahead: I got my tight pants on.
Perfect tight pants are hard to find, but it can be done. I returned to the dressing room with 4 pairs of white tight pants. One pair I shouldn’t buy. I couldn’t afford to buy them. I did come armed with coupons because that’s how I roll into department stores.
Of course, the most expensive pair of pants were the PERFECT WHITE TIGHT PANTS.
I had my tight pants on and things were starting to come together in the dressing room. I found a shirt on triple markdown clearance. The shirt was also sized incredibly big, someone felt super generous when they sewed on shirt-making day. Let’s get this out of the way right now: DEAR CLOTHING MANUFACTURERS, PLEASE FORM A JUSTICE LEAGUE TO MAKE CONSISTENT WOMENS SIZES. I feel better writing that in all caps and bold. It showed them, I mean business.
Decision time. I went over the details in my head. I can wear new tight white pants to work. I can wear them to parties. They are pretty universal in their ability to be mixed and matched.
Decision reasoning number two for buying pants: I DID NOT WANT TO TRY ON ONE MORE DAMN STITCH OF CLOTHING. Done shopping. Done worrying about what to wear. Done. Done. DONE.
Buy the tight white pants.
On the first night of writing conference, I wore the most expensive pair of pants I’ve ever purchased. I felt confident and one lady told me how pretty I looked. Overall, fancy business outfit for writing conference felt like a success.
Then it happened when I returned home. I meticulously washed my white pants by themselves because they felt THAT FANCY to me. They couldn’t be washed with other clothes. What if my son’s Mickey Mouse shirt accidentally got thrown into the washer and ruined them? No, I couldn’t let that happen.
I wasted money, water, detergent, and fabric softener in buying one pair of pants.
They are the nicest pants I own. Guess where they have been for the last month? Hanging up in my closet. I’m scared to wear them.
What if I spilled something on?
What if that horrible thing that happens every month happens in my new, ultra-expensive tight white pants? In case you don’t know what horrible thing I am writing about: My husband and I call it ‘attracting bears’ as our code name. It means I eat all the chocolate and anything covered in salt and drink massive amounts of Cherry Coke. I hormonally cry and tell everyone my back feels like Wolverine has his claws in it. This evil cycle has ruined other white pants because it is unpredictable and I think it can sense when I have a pair of white pants on.
I have a pair of expensive pants hanging in my closet. Occasionally, I think about wearing them but fear holds me back.
Shall we let fear hold us back from living? From doing the right thing? From getting the most wear out of our life?
Perhaps we should put our damn pants on and tell fear: I can’t let you control what happens to me today.