The case against pants.

by Erin on April 5, 2006

Sometimes, when people discover that I prefer dresses — that, in fact, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about dresses — they are instantly suspicious. "What do you have against pants?" they ask. "Do you hate pants?"

"No," I reply, in a calm, even voice. "I don't hate pants. I wear pants a lot. I just prefer skirts and dresses, that's all."

They often don't believe me, in the same way that some vegans secretly believe that people who eat meat must not like tofu. They won't believe a preference for one thing doesn't automatically lead to a hatred for the opposite. They believe that a liking for Dr. Pepper signals an anti-Mr. Pibb agenda or possibly vendetta; that a fondness for the color blue means you secretly hate orange.

You know what? Those doubters may be right, because last night I almost started to hate pants.

Check out this first pair:

H&M pants 1
OMG the fug! The dropped waist! The pindots! The pegged legs! The horror!

But then, I saw these.
H&M pants 2
At first, I only saw the polka dots–I was intrigued! I reached out! Then I actually — and I have a witness — shrieked in dismay. Nobody, but nobody, should wear polka-dot leggings. There oughta be a law. In fact, the manufacture, distribution, or sale of polka-dot leggings should be illegal in the 48 contiguous states, and highly restricted, at the very least, in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

But oh, the Day of Pants Horror (or, as it is also styled, El Dia de Pantalones de Terror) continued with these white monstrosities:
street pants

Now, if that one isn't enough to make you fall to your knees and beg your dresses for forgiveness, I don't know what would.

So. My faith in my open-mindedness in regard to pants-wearing (of the literal, not metaphorical kind) has been shaken by seeing THREE Pants of the End Times in one day. That's gotta be a sign, and not a good one. If I see dead birds tomorrow, or there's an eclipse, or lots of people in acid-washed denim bustier sundresses, I'll know it's all over and I'll make my plans for the eschaton. In fact, those plans will probably involve a new dress …

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

lastewie April 5, 2006 at 8:44 am

Oh honey. Those *are* just horrible. I’m all about dresses and skirts…but only in the summer, cause in the winter, it’s too cold. HOW in the world do you not just freeze your little tushie off up there in the winter in dresses and skirts??


flea April 5, 2006 at 8:48 am

I would like to request an official polka-dot-legging exemption for pre-pubescent girls. I can see a 4 year old looking adorable in those leggings and a plan or stripey top/tunic.#3 kind of boggles me. Who would wear that, except maybe Carmen Miranda after a bender?


meara April 5, 2006 at 9:04 am

Oh my GOD, please tell me that first pair was not new-in-a-store, but rather something at goodwill or on Ebay. Please. Please. I can’t take it if fashion goes back there.


Miz Shoes April 5, 2006 at 9:18 am

Was #1 a pair of gawd awful maternity pants? Please say yes, because there is no excuse for them otherwise.Pre-pubescent little girls should be allowed to wear #2, but only if they are not fat pre-pubescent little girls.But #3? Where do we begin? One leg hiked hot pink cargo pants? I shudder. The white gauze tight to mid-thigh gaucho pants? Now you’ve made me put my eyes out with a plastic fork. That is just so wrong on so many levels.But then, those horrible, horrible, horrible, fold-over waist, jersey-knit gauchos that I see EVERYWHERE on EVERYBODY with tackyass flipflops should be considered punishable by slow, torturous death.There. I said it.


Sue April 5, 2006 at 9:23 am

My eyes! My EYES!


ZantiMissKnit April 5, 2006 at 9:26 am

Where were you shopping? I need to know to avoid it at all costs. Why can’t people just make decent PANTS; why does everyone have to have all kinds of frills and bling on it? Arg!!!!


Cambric Tea April 5, 2006 at 9:32 am

Miz Shoes. Bless you for saying it for me.I like the white pants! I would wear them with my black denim duster with Tupac, Selena and Aliyah singing in Heaven airbrushed on the back.


jenny April 5, 2006 at 9:55 am

Those white pants would make most peoples’ thinghs look like european square-size bed pillows. I think that they’re even too tight on the mannequin, and that’s not a good sign for your average Jane…


Jane April 5, 2006 at 9:57 am

Well, I could actually see the polka-dot leggings under a full mid-calf skirt or a straight knee-length skirt on an art student-type girl…a sort of eighties/retro/art-student look, such as I myself used to affect when I was 18 or 19. For the rest of us, no.Actually, I find that if I think of the gauchos not as pants but as a split skirt I don’t mind them so much. Now, what I’m worried about is this: a return of tapered pants! Straight legs, yes, great. But I feel that the inexorable laws of fashion change and retro are going to push us back to tapered pants with high waists, and then I am going to cry and cry.


Gidget Bananas April 5, 2006 at 10:34 am

Absolutely horrible! But such GREAT ideas for Halloween!


La BellaDonna April 5, 2006 at 10:56 am

Although I would not be inclined to wear them in their polka-dotted glory, the first pair of pants, at least, appear to be made in the traditional Indian fashion (think salwar kameez), and have a long and honorable history. They also are worn, for heaven’s sake, with a lovely long fitted garment over them. If you look at the cut, you will realize they accomodate fluctations in weight, AND deal with that troublesome small-waist-large-hips-pants-don’t-fit problem. They should be made in a lovely soft silk, linen or cotten, with a fitted flowing garment over them.As for freezing – pshaw! Many more layers can fit under a full skirt than under a pair of jeans, including various forms of thermal bottoms! A full skirt or dress can hide many a thermal secret.


Meredith April 5, 2006 at 11:42 am

Yeah, there are many ways not to freeze wearing skirts or dresses. For instance: boots and hosiery of your choice. Also, tights. Also, woolen tights, if your legs are skinny enough.


Anonymous April 5, 2006 at 12:12 pm

Ditto what la belladonna said re the salwar kameez pants (sarouelles). Folkwear has a lovely pattern for them. They are also great for bellydance costume/practice pants.That said, as pictured above in your post, yes. They’re hideous.–Lydia


Anonymous April 5, 2006 at 12:53 pm

Are we sure the first pair aren’t pj pants? I could see them with a longish pink v neck tee or gray fleece pullover for chilly nights. The second pair – yeah, not for those of us over the age of 12 (excluding halloween or totally out of clean clothes running to the laundermat situations)I think the white is cute if it were properly sized. It lookes to tight on the mannequin so I can’t imagine a real person putting those things on.


Erin April 5, 2006 at 12:58 pm

Clarification:the first pair are not pjs or salwaar kameez pants. Sadly. They are, instead, what happens when H&M designers get drunk before coming to work.the second pair are fine for wear by folks under 12 or who are dressing up as Cyndi Lauper.the third pair … well, I enjoy the Tupac shirts as much as the next ironic Gen-Xer. I do wish I’d bought the “Eazy-E We Hardly Knew Ye” memorial shirt I once saw on the streets of Chicago … alas, Selena died soon after and Eazy was forgotten.


enc April 5, 2006 at 4:44 pm

Oh the humanity!


Mary B. April 5, 2006 at 8:51 pm

This must be a trend. The last time I went shopping for a pair of pants I experienced a similar horror, so horrifying that I went home and made a skirt.


Cambric Tea April 5, 2006 at 10:03 pm

Gosh I guess you weren’t kidding about H&M. I thought you snapped the saroulles and the dot pants at one of those import places that also sell wigs, and bag hair and fake sanrio address books. heheh. Oh this is thrilling! Yes I hear the bugles sound and the flapping of wings…


zimmersarmy April 5, 2006 at 10:36 pm

An unlawful (and evil) plot is afoot here. If you are the parent of a young child you may have seen the Jimmy Neutron episode I am referring to. Innocent cartoon? Or is it a sign of things to come? You be the judge. In the “cartoon” Jimmy programs his pants to hang themselves up only to have them revolt against him and all humanity. Jimmy’s pants then recruit other pants in order to take over the world.I think pants this ugly must be part of such a conspiracy. They are SO dreadful that the majority of thinking consumers (the people most able to quash the pants evil plans) will not purchase them. The pants will then have a long time to embed themselves among the store’s other pants and enlist them. These recruits will then head out among the unknowing populance.Of course some of the pants pictured here will be purchased. They will be unleased by three types of buyers:THE FASHION INNOCENT. This is a woman with no fashion sense (or pride.) She obviously does not possess the ability to determine good from bad. She will have paid full retail for the pants and will be unaware of the pants true intentions. In her closet, the devil pants will hang out with other ugly and otherwised unloved pants. As we all know from made-for-TV-movies, cults and similar fringe movements fill their ranks from those who have been shunned or mocked by main stream society. Fueled by unfulfilled and lonely pants, the revolution takes another step forward.THE WELL-INTENTIONED. A mother, grandmother or aunt will remember that you once wore a pair of similar pants to a junior high dance. Not realizing that you have put such childish (loathsome) trends behind you, she will purchase this item for you. The pants now hang in your closet until you decide to donate them to charity. I think you are newly aware of what wickedness can take place in your closet and later at the local thrift.THE BARGAIN HUNTER. The pants will eventually be so drastically reduced in price that some poor schmuck will drawn into a purchase. This buyer might even wear the pants. Or then again she might think better of it. Once again the pants are in the perfect position to wreak havoc, the closet!Now consider what would happen if pants like these do end up on eBay! The corruption could spread worldwide! And to think that you were worried about the avian flu.BE WARNED: Pants this awful are not merely a fashion “my bad.” Pants this distorted and malformed can only be part of a larger picture. Designers and buyers could be under alien mind control. Or perhaps the pants come from beyond and have been planted among otherwise harmless clothing. BEWARE: the wheels are in motion! This is the beginning of the end. FEAR THE PANTS!What can you do? Wear as many dresses and skirts as possible. Urge others to do the same. Heck, put your men in kilts. This is a call to arms (or legs.) We must do our part before it is too late!


Sara April 5, 2006 at 11:48 pm

I confess that I wore multicolored polka-dot leggings. In 1993. When I was 13. With a TUNIC. And Keds, natch.Those other two are totally inexcusable. Especially the gray ones, they’re hideous!They reminded me of these weird pants I remember from middle school — tapered, but triangular fabric WINGS that were buttoned inwards onto the waistband. Foul!


Floridaprincess April 6, 2006 at 12:29 am

I think the 2nd pair would look so cute on little girls.The other pants: my eyes oh my eyes hurt!!!


Jezebella April 6, 2006 at 9:17 am

oh no! These were in a retail establishment? NEW? Not in a thrift store? Oh, me. Please tell me this is not H&M. Because I heart H&M. However, I shop UPSTAIRS at H&M, racing through the teenybopper crap on floor one. H&M is actually the only place I have been able to find pants to wear to work. However, I shop in the big girls section, not the teeny-tiny-fashion-victim section. These pants, truly: they’d make the baby jesus cry.


La BellaDonna April 6, 2006 at 9:18 am

My name is La BellaDonna, and I have a Pants Confession:I have several pairs of beautiful brocade pants. I admit it; I was sucked in by the beautiful brocadedness of them, and not the fact that they were trousers. They languish on a shelf in my closet, as a result of my deciding that my brocaded backside did not aid in my intent to help Keep America Beautiful. I console myself with the thought that I never intended to wear them by themselves; I just need to make the 3/4 length tops, open on the sides, to wear over them (not unlike an Ao Dai).My silk velvet drawsting pants I wear as God and Nature intended: as jammies.


Ellen April 6, 2006 at 5:49 pm

If all pants looked like these pix, no one in their right mind would wear pants.I don’t wear pants. They just aren’t comfortable to me. They just aren’t “me.”People think I’m religious, but I’m not.For a “Wordplay” poster, they had my head on someone else’s body, wearing a white pants outfit. I explained that couldn’t possibly be me, because I never wear pants. Plus the person had a better figure. I assume this was just a mockup and won’t actually be used.


Stereoette April 6, 2006 at 7:35 pm

where WERE you and how can i avoid that place FOREVER?those pants were almost as awful as the cameltoed bodysuit on april fools… i may not recover from that one for a WHILE.


Hillary April 8, 2006 at 12:19 pm

OMG, I HAD those polka dot leggings in 1985!!!I remember wearing them with black ballerina flats that had glittered lip shapes all over…..alot like a current Betsy Johnson shirt :)


ilovetragicallyhip April 9, 2006 at 12:04 pm

O geez…all extremely my horror i think i saw someone wearing the last pair…i would like to know what she was thinking when she bought them…


LadyLydiaSpeaks April 9, 2006 at 4:24 pm

Actually pants aren’t all that great, even though “everyone” wears them. They show the ugliest parts of you, exposing every unsightly bulge; they don’t disguise the figure the way a skirt does. And they pinch and tug and make you keep pulling at them because your underwear is sticking or riding up…they show a panyline, and other personal things such as “that time of the month.” The dress is so much more comfortable, and if it is long enough it gives the comfort-zone feeling of pants. I wear cotton leggings under my skirts and I don’t miss pants at all.


Lucia April 11, 2006 at 4:03 pm

And there is the person or persons who is trying to bring back gauchos. Please, stop them before it’s too late!!


shop-til-i-drop July 16, 2006 at 4:30 pm

i’m 13 and i think polka dot leggings are cute but only if the dots are SMALL!!!! Jeeze who who’d by the HUGE polka dot leggins!! Goodness, Gracieous!! The first ones make me wanna throw up and the last ones, i don’t even want to go there!!!


Anonymous December 27, 2006 at 9:28 am

I think the ignorance of many is apparent. The first pants are not “pants” as westerners know them. They are called salwars(shalwars) and are an underdergarment for covering the legs under a kameez (a tunic style dress worn in South Asia). One only wears salwars under a long dress, where the pants cannot be seen. One never wears salwars where the top portion is visible. The role of the salwar is easy access and comfort.The second pair of pants are also Indian in style. They are a pair of western style churidiars, which are also worn under a kameez.It is obvious that whoever started this page went to an Indian shop without any understanding of how garments are worn.I agree that the colors and patterns are hideous, however. Indian fabrics are some of the best in the world. but these pants are of poor quality and poor color scheme.


Erin December 27, 2006 at 9:49 am

Actually, the first two pairs were pants for sale at H&M, not at an Indian clothing store. They were not intended for wear under a tunic.The last ones were at a store that looked as if it were catering to a Hispanic clientele.


Anonymous December 28, 2006 at 5:12 pm

South Asian garments have been adapted in western society…period….for many years now. The buyer who stocked these pants might not have known how to wear them as well.Let’s not get to culturally biased about fashion and “hispanics” etc. All those pants are of Indian origin, even the last set of photos with the wide-legged white pants. All that stuff might have originated from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri-Lanka, and so on (South Asia)In fact, the stereotypical “gypsy” style clothing originated in Northern India many centuries ago. A nomadic Indian desert people migrated from northern India and what is now Pakistan to parts of Europe: their migration to Spain and Portugal was quite pronounced. In Europe, these people of Indian origin were and still are called gypsies.


Brenna September 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm

the first pair of pants, and the 3erd kind, are actually 2 different types Indian salwars. and as of late, they are more and more popular. you aren’t meant to see the top of the pants as they are meant to be worn with kameez.

like many indian/pakistani woman say they have the femininity of a dress (kameez) but with the freedom of pants (salwars)


Liz January 18, 2013 at 12:01 am

Unfortunately, judging by the decorative elements at the waist, those 3rd pants are supposed to be seen.

I do completely agree about the salwar-esque possibilities for the grey pair, however.


Liz January 18, 2013 at 12:00 am

Those white pants *want* to be a skirt so much. Why didn’t someone listen to the poor fabric and make it into a skirt instead?

And I agree with earlier comments that the grey pants would be awesome salwar–with the whole top section fully covered by a pretty kameez.


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