I’ve always been a pants girl. To me, pants represent a sense of power, dignity, and safety. Women burned bras to wear pants! Pants have buttons, latches, and zippers that make entrance into said pants troublesome, if not a complete deterrent. If you fall down while teaching your 8am English class, your pants will not fly over your head. No one can really see up your pants. You don’t have to cross your legs when you sit down in pants.
Ok, so pants might split. Pants might fall down. Pants might create camel toe, moose knuckle, or some other ghastly sign that you need a bigger boat. Look, nothing’s perfect.
Dresses, on the other hand, have been a constant source of anxiety for me. You can’t play touch football in a dress. You cannot climb ladders in a dress. Dresses make you a walking target for wandering hands and eyes. Dresses are girly. Dresses are weak. Dresses are for people who want to twirl. Dresses are not for people who manage to work the F-word into every sentence they utter.
Then, why am I wearing a dress right now?
Like the President’s position on gay marriage, my view on dresses is “evolving.” As my aforementioned points indicate, I have saddled myself with some heavy gender stereotypes about pants and dresses that have kept me from broadening my fashion horizons. Pants are only considered powerful because men wear them, and men are considered to be the more powerful sex. Dresses are weak because men – for the most part – don’t wear them. So, by continuing to wear pants as source of power, I’m really just maintaining the very patriarchal stereotypes that I try to resist by wearing pants in the first place. Dresses – 1, Pants – 0.
While I may be more “exposed” in dresses, I am also freer. In general, I tend to stay away from things that restrict me, like belts, necklaces, and bracelets. But, what’s more restricting than pants??? In a dress, I don’t have to suffer the embarrassment of undoing my buttons or zipper after a gluttonous meal. Dresses will by their very nature stretch to meet the needs of my engorged belly. Dresses – 2, Pants – 0.
Ever hear of the little black dress? I have about 5 of them. You know what’s cool about them? They’re BLACK, which means that they’re not all pink and ruffled and foo-foo. I have discovered that it is possible to find dresses that are sort of tom-boyish, or, if not exactly tom-boyish, at least meet the low-key stylistic needs of tom-boys. Dresses – 3, Pants – 0.
For me, clothes need to be easy. Shopping for pants = not easy. As much as I love pants, they are seriously the hardest thing in the world to buy. They’re too long, they’re too short, they’re too tight, they’re too big, they don’t make my butt look like a perfectly rounded loaf of freshly baked bread. Also, you can’t buy pants in a vacuum. You need shirts to go with those pants. And, the shirts need to look right with the pants. You may even need to buy special underwear for your pants, depending on where you come down on the visible panty-line issue. Whatever the reason, pants are figuratively and literally a pain in the ass. If you find a dress that fits, you’re done shopping for the day, and that makes anti-shoppers like me very happy. Dresses – 4, Pants – 0.
Plenty of tough, powerful women wear dresses.
Dresses – 5, Pants – 0.
Does wearing a dress now make me a part of the girly culture I’ve spent my whole life trying to resist? Should I feel like a traitor because I’ve turned in my pants in favor of a flowing maxi?
Fuck no. It’s 90 degrees outside, and pants give me swamp ass.
Dresses – 6, Pants – 0.