I haven’t worn a pair of trousers in over a year. The last time I distinctly remember wearing a pair of jeans is when I sensibly decided to forego wearing my floral empire waist dress when I moved house last spring. Hauling boxes and heavy lifting has never been my forte and doing it in a dress and ballet flats is just ridiculous, right?
The fact is, I haven’t regularly had a rotation of trousers that fit me and that I could just throw on in about six years. I used to have an impressive collection of designer jeans and trousers – I still cringe when I remember how much money I used to spend on jeans that I thought would “last forever”. I really thought I would be buried in those Citizens of Humanity jeans that cost me $300 a pair. Sob.
It’s not to say that I eschew wearing trousers because I don’t appreciate them. Katharine Hepburn wore them in the 1930s with a certain panache, Coco Chanel, Halston, and Yves Saint Laurent all designed pantsuits that could rival any dress in sex appeal. In the 1980s, career women wore trousers in the boardroom and beyond. There is something to be said about a woman who can style up a pair of dressy trousers with a soft romantic blouse, a gold pendant necklace and a pair of heels with confidence. Unfortunately I am not one of those women.
As much as I drooled over Riccardo Tisci’s sleek pantsuits for Givenchy AW10, especially a bright tomato red number, and Hannah MacGibbon’s romantic draped blouses and soft wide leg pants for the Chloe AW10 collection – try as I might, I just cannot imagine wearing them myself. I always admire the street style shots of the women who just know how to rock a trouser or pantsuit – they have this effortlessly cool way of dressing that blows any old-fashioned “feminine ideals” out of the water. One of the first people that comes to my mind is Kate Lanphear, Senior Style Editor at ELLE US magazine. Every season I see her at London Fashion Week tottering around in impossible to walk in high heels and usually an amazing pair of trousers.
Sometimes I think I’m in a major style rut that I need to snap out of. I mean how long can someone live in dresses and playsuits? Surely there needs to be a bit of variety mixed in somewhere. Maybe I’m just stuck in the past, my love of all things vintage and vintage-inspired naturally leading me to things like pillbox hats, fur stoles, dresses and leather gloves. Sure, movie stars like Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich wore pantsuits in the 1930s and 1940s and no one could forget the Yves Saint Laurent’s iconic Le Smoking Tuxedo, but regular women from that era were usually found in a nice frock.
Blogs like A Dress a Day are no help to my reliance on this particular item of clothing. I’ve lost count of how many dresses I own and I am naturally drawn to the dress section of any boutique. There is just something so effortless about sliding on a dress in the morning. And I can’t deny the fact of the matter. If I wear the right dress, a buffet lunch and my expanding belly don’t feel the same strain it would if I was in a pair of jeans. Ok I said it – one of the reasons I live in dresses is because I hate the feeling of the tight waistband after a big lunch or dinner. I could choose moderation at the dinner table but what fun is that? I’d like the half-chicken dinner please.
Throwing on a dress is minimal effort, especially if you’re tired and can’t be bothered to accessorize tops and the right shoes. With dresses, it’s easy to just throw on an old cardigan, boots or flats and you’re ready to run out the door. With pants you have to plan the top, the right belt and the right shoes. You can’t really wear a peg leg trouser with a pair of ballet flats can you? I don’t want to find out..
The fact of the matter is I love my dresses. But maybe it’s time to give my black opaque tights a break for a change, buy those navy silk peg leg trousers and master my fear of wearing pants.