Dress for Success

I have exactly three pairs of pants that fit me: one black, one brown, and one khaki.  Consider that the black pair is starting to get threadbare and the brown pair has a bleach stain, and that leaves the khakis.  I preserve that pair by wearing pajamas for most of the day (like right now, I’m probably wearing pajamas,) and then whenever I leave the house, I put on those same khaki pants.

Yohannes started to pick up on this trend, and asked me why I don’t wear a different pair of pants.  When your husband starts to take an interest in your clothing, you know that either, A. He is about to get in big trouble, or B. Your clothing is in some serious need of help.  In this case, it’s B.  I told Yohannes the woeful tale of my pants, but instead of sympathizing with me and lamenting my catastrophic situation, he just said, “So why don’t you buy some new pants?”

What?! Because I…hmm.

Let me give you some background. “Dressing well” was never a priority for me growing up.  Actually, among my friends it was “cool” not to care about looks and clothes.  We made fun of (hypothetical) people who spent hours getting ready in the morning or who freaked out when something got on their clothes.  I did go through a phase in middle school where I wanted to look trendy, but I fought the urges and my wardrobe came through pretty much unscathed.

During college, a friend once said, “You look really nice today!”  The compliment was somewhat diminished by his surprised tone-of-voice, and when I gave him a hard time about it, he said, “Well you usually look a little sloppy.”  I was indignant…or pretended to be, at least.  But I couldn’t really argue his point.  Jeans and a loose tee-shirt were my staples, along with a healthy supply of frumpy hoodies.

Soon after this, I was introduced to the real world.  That is, the world in which you’re expected to dress a certain way, and where you realize that those people who told you that looks don’t matter were lying.  I don’t mean that it’s  okay to judge people on their looks or what they wear…I just mean that it happens.  I knew that I was expected to dress “professionally” and I was okay with this, so I stocked my wardrobe for my first job by rummaging through the Goodwill Bargain Bins.

Right now I don’t work outside the home and don’t have a dress code so it’s hard for me to bring myself to spend money on clothes, and I don’t really have the free time or the free hands necessary to tackle the Bargain Bins.  So instead of taking Yohannes’s suggestion to buy a pair of pants, I decided to recycle one of my delinquent pairs.  The bleach-stain on the brown ones is truly microscopic, so I started wearing them in public again.

But yesterday I was going to a meeting and felt that the bleach stains might fall into the “unprofessional” category.  The solution?  Buy new pants. Color in the bleach stain.  My first attempt was with an eyeliner pencil.  I never would have tried it, except that the paint on the pencil really, truly did match the pants.  Fail.  The pencil didn’t really leave any color on the pants, but it did leave sparkles.  So now I have a brown pair of pants with sparkly bleach stains.  The next obvious solution? Buy new pants.  Color in the bleach stain with one of Nati’s markers.

The color did not match as well as I’d hoped, but the stains didn’t stand out as much as before, and I thought people would be understanding of the fact that I couldn’t find the exact matching color of brown marker to color in the bleach stains on my pants.

It wasn’t until halfway through the meeting that it occurred to me: People are not going to be understanding of the fact that I couldn’t find the exact matching color of brown marker to color in the bleach stains on my pants, because who does that?!  But what brown thing might people expect to see on the lap of a stay-at-home-mom with two kids in diapers?  Poop.

I’m going to buy a new pair of pants.

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2 responses to “Dress for Success

  • Mary Bendfeldt

    This is perfect! When I complain about some ancient article of clothing (generally underwear), Eric’s immediate response is “Buy new ones.” But then of course I forget and don’t do anything about it until the next time I run across whatever the item is…It is an endless cycle of being annoyed at clothing, vaguely wondering why I don’t do something about this problem, and then forgetting entirely that I was annoyed in the first place!

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