Confession: I don’t own pants. Not one single pair. Pants — of all kinds — are a piece of clothing I avoided my entire adult life. If you ask why, I’ll probably shrug and mumble something about skirts.
When did this start? I’m guessing high school or puberty, when I grew noticeable hips and a roly poly belly. My closet is full of knee-length dresses that fit petticoats underneath. I aim for colorful and vintage-inspired, and I feel most like myself in a twirly A-line silhouette. Obviously I love skirts and dresses, but am I actually anti-pants? It didn’t start as a conscious decision. Over time, I gravitated toward looks that make me happy and make me feel good about myself. Think: Sugar and spice and everything nice, all rolled up in poodle skirts and vintage.
Does Everyone Hate Pants?
I asked some stylish plus-size stunners to add their two cents. Instagram gals @feministunicorm and @teamsparkle told me that they too prefer skirts. They had some passionate opinions! “Honestly, I hate pants!” @teamsparkle shared, “especially jeans.” She argued that as a plus-size woman, the fit is a constant struggle. “Most of the plus women I know are short, but the majority of jeans are long and wide. The proportions are off.” “Personally,” she reasoned, “if they fit right, I’d probably buy more.” In the end, she shared that dresses and skirts are just “cuter, easier and more ladylike.” I’m definitely onboard with that opinion.
@feministunicorn agreed, to a certain extent. “I think pants are a delightful choice,” she told me, but followed up with, “they just don’t feel right on me.” She echoed the problem of fit and explained that in her experience, the issue comes down to sizing. “Think of all the options we get for shoes,” she said, “but we’re lucky to find clothes beyond S, M, L.” With a few exceptions, much of fashion is created as if everyone’s body is built the same. “I have literally never heard someone say their body type works well for pants, especially in the plus-size community.”
To be fair, it’s not necessarily a plus-size preference. Blogger Ali Hval talked to me about her reservation towards pants and how they influence her body acceptance. After struggling with an eating disorder, she realized she enjoyed the freeness of skirts. “Pants are restricting,” she told me, “They feel like I don’t have wiggle room, which makes me feel larger somehow.”
Pants Are Not My Friends… Are They?
If I’m perfectly honest, my own insecurities have influenced the lack of pants in my closet. There’s nowhere to hide. The pants curve to the shape of my butt and cling to my round belly. This affects my everyday life in two ways. The first is a feeling of uncomfortable sexual attention — by this, I mean the extra catcalls on the street. My personal style gravitates toward cute rather than sexy, and it’s unfortunate that in my plus-size state, society deems pants as inherently more sexual, since it emphasizes my curves.
The second problem I face is the feeling of a bloated belly on display, especially after a big meal. An A-line silhouette easily hides that, while pants are like, “Hey, here I am!” I’m sure I’m the only one who see it (isn’t that how insecurities work?), but my goal is to overcome those negative feelings to feel confident in a pair of pants and, more importantly, feel like my best self.
Could I Make Pants Work for Me?
Gwynnie Bee Pants, Pinup Girl Clothing Deadly Dames Voodoo Vixen Top in Mint ($62)
Recently, I started a new job that involves light manual labor. 99 percent of employees wear pants. I got the okay on skirts, but after talking to my stylish pals, I decided to face my fashion fear head on.
I frequently model for Gywnnie Bee, which is a site that specifically caters to plus-size fashion. In my first session, they asked me to bring a pair of pants and cute shoes. I replied, “What if we don’t own pants? Are skirts okay?” Kelly Augustine, Influencer Coordinator at Gwynnie Bee, confessed that she was surprised and confused. “Who doesn’t own pants?” she thought. She and Gwynnie Bee got me situated with a pair that very day. The company has high standards for fit and quality, so it’s no surprise that the pants fit like a dream. They were high-waisted and made my butt look darn right fabulous.
Modeling that day, the sensation of pants felt strange, but exciting. I was surprised at the awesome fit (no weird gaps in the waist!) and how great I looked. Although they were an average pair of jeans with an above-average fit, they did not initially fit my aesthetic. Incorporated into my wardrobe, I tried my best to add a vintage spin.
Next, I tried a pair of pants from Sourpuss Clothing. I call these my “Rosie the Riveter” pants. They are worker chic, with a 1940’s vibe. This may come as a surprise to no one but myself, but pants are really comfortable. I’m not subtly rolling my tights back up or adjusting my chub rub shorts. In this pair of pants, I can move around and just be. I paired these with a cute tee and I felt ready to take on the world!
The last few pairs are from Pinup Girl Clothing. I’m a girl who embraces color, so hot pink pants called my name. Not going to lie though, the brightly colored pants, paired with a seam down the middle, made me very aware of my crotch. It felt like a camel toe that wouldn’t go away. I’m obsessed with the color, but most likely, the style is made for someone slightly taller. My insecurities were in full bloom with a tight pair like this, but I love the pinup appeal of this style.
Once again, my booty was on full display, but I was learning to embrace it and let go of “all the f*cks” I had when it comes to unwanted male attention. This time around, I tried to embrace this version of sexy. The cute polka dots helped, as it’s my go-to print. The crotch was still an issue, but the look was form fitting and colorful. I started to feel sexy in my own way — empowered, if you will. By embracing my booty, I made pants work for me and my style.
Last, but not least, is my favorite pair! As you can tell from the photos, I felt confident and comfortable. Black pants go with everything. The high waist suits my style and the silhouette emphasized the best part of my curves. I was able to accessorize my own way without feeling that pants were the star.
In the end, I realized that pants weren’t the problem. The problem is the the way I perceived my body in pants. No matter how good the fit, my personal hangups were holding me back from a whole other world of style. While I still personally prefer skirts and dress, I’ll definitely incorporate more pants into my wardrobe. By staying true to my style, yet embracing pants, I was able to face insecurities that were put aside for years. I might learn to love pants (and myself) yet!
Are you a pants lover or hater? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!