24 April 2007

Whale Pants

I wore my favorite spring/summer pants today for the first time this season and it's inspired the story of how they came to be mine. Picture, if you will, that someone is doing the Wayne's World flashback effect fingers.....

My fashion sense developed (or didn't, if you ask my mom) when I was a teen in the '80's. Our neighborhood trended toward preppy, which means that my mom could have hated my clothes a whole lot more than she actually did (we didn't have MTV so she might not have been entirely aware of how lucky she was).

I think Mom was least offended (although still probably baffled) by my
shoe collection. What on earth would inspire a person to wear Converse with map of the world prints or dusty rose suede pan boots? If not for the cost, she might have liked the white Nikes with the gel-rainbow swooshes and I'm pretty sure my Camp Mocs were pure torture for her. THAT much?!? For SHOES? They weren't even good tie-oxfords! They had no support! I was clearly insane. Somehow or other, I managed to get a pair despite the financial and physical downfall they would obviously cause. I wore that first pair (pictured here in 1987) regularly until they fell apart in 2004. By good planning, LLBean's delivered the successor pair a few weeks before the bitter end and I was able to wear them for the small throwing-out ceremony I forced Chris and the kids to endure.

Shoes aside, I was otherwise never as preppy as I would have liked. Our town featured a few upscale boutiques that I would browse in on my way to or from the library or the Y to get ideas. For years after I moved out of town, I reminisced about window shopping in those boutiques and looked forward to a day when I'd be able to go in with some buying power...but, alas, now there are different shops in the storefronts so those special items I always thought I'd go back for will remain in my memories.

...or will they? Enter 2004, a year when many things I'd had forever simply decided it was time to quit - the Camp Mocs were only the start of it! You'd think t
he opportunity to shop with good reason would be thrilling, unless you realized that we had two kids and had just moved houses. Either situation should scream, "NO POCKET MONEY!" but, especially taken together, they don't bode well for being happy about having shopped when the AmEx bill arrives. Still, a girl must have something to wear to work.

Here's where my mom will be proud: over the years, I've become a shopper she might be proud of. I don't (usually) buy the first thing that comes to hand. I research my purchases. I go try on sizes and then hunt around for better pricing online. I've grown quite fond of eBay for bargains you can surf for while wearing comfy pj's (and Hut Boots which are also from LLBean but mom used to have a pair herself, they're deliciously warm, so she can't point out how much I spent on slippers).

Then, one fateful day, Mom and I were actually wandering in the shopping mall near my house. This never happens. Mom doesn't care much for malls. She also lives 2,366 miles away so we don't get to visit very often. Also? As much as I love the mall, I try not to go in too often. AmEx would prefer that I showed less restraint but I'm learning not to buckle to such pressure. Anyway, on this day? We pass the window of Brooks Brothers and THERE THEY ARE! The pants I've wanted since I saw them in Pappagallo in 1987! With embroidered sailboats and whales! And I was with my mother, who might actually implode if I went in to Brooks Brothers, let alone bought something from there.

Long story short? Mom did not implode when I went in (she didn't even make any comments out loud). They had the pants in my size (shocking) and they were on sale (can you say PROVIDENCE?)! They are worth every penny I paid, every time I wear them and I've since bought two pairs of shoes to go with them - don't tell my mom.


Grandmoo said...

What I minded was not your preppy. You're forgetting wearing long thermal underwear under an intentionally made holey jeans skirt to work at Radio Shack. How "preppy" is THAT!? Also, as long as you're paying your own bills, I'm thrilled to have you buy whatever whale pants you want. That's the joy of being old.

Fraukow said...

LOVE the pants - did they have blue with little green frogs?

sister k said...

for over 20 years i was actually able to completely and totally forget about little swimming whales on pink pants....AAAAAAAAH! lol...glad they make u happy

karen said...

@grandmoo: That skirt was not intentionally made holey! It was intentionally worn at camp, where it saw some activities it was apparently not designed for. Also, I could have been wearing the holey skirt without the long underwear. The hole wasn't that far up. :P

@fraukow: They did have blue with little green frogs! Sadly, however, not in my size. Probably better for my bank account...

@kath: 18 years. I only had to wait 18 years to find my pants. :)


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