Once a year (it seems) I hit the stores in search of pants. It's generally pants I'm after because I pick up plenty of tops at Costco (good prices, designer labels but no dressing rooms) or I make my own. But pants are hard to fit and although I have plenty of patterns and enough fabric to clothe a small nation, I've only sewn one pair of wearable pants and now they're not wearable because I've lost weight since then. I guess I prefer spending hours trying on dozens and dozens of pants to find one that fits instead of spending the time making and altering a muslin and then, of course, sewing the pants. So last night I ventured out to the local mall. Macy's was my first stop.
The first thing that hit me was bright pink...and bright green...and bright blue. Bright colors are "in." At least that's what the Macy's buyers think. And this was not just in the junior department, the comfortable-elasticized-pants department was also inundated with the brights. I was dismayed that this local Macy's carried only bare bones designer collections and nothing high end. I wanted some nice looking and well-fitting pants and was prepared to spend some cash for them. Instead I had to search through the disheveled racks of made-up designer names. Nothing I tried on fit. Nothing. Most of the fit problems were caused by my usual problem area - hips. But some of the pants were just plain weirdly cut, although I suppose they may fit someone. Cropped pants are everywhere despite making most women look stumpy. I tried on a pair and laughed out loud. The three inch wide waistband coupled with the short length made me look about 5 feet wide. The bright green color didn't help (I was hoping to match the twisty-top I made, ok?).
So I left Macy's behind and headed for the one "designer" store in the mall: Ann Taylor Loft. I was pleasantly surprised at the selection and prices. They had their share of bright pinks, greens, and blues too so it's not just the Macy's buyers I'm afraid. There were also lots (lots!) of cropped pants. Between the sale rack and the rest of the store I must have tried on at least 20-25 pairs. One made the final cut. One. And I wasn't all that happy with the buttoned front pockets but they fit and the price was reasonable. Apparently there was an additional sale because they rang up at $14.99. Can you believe it? I spent more at Target buying socks and a plain white T-shirt. It's too bad more pants didn't fit at the Loft. Many pants were close to fitting, but I knew that despite how much I wanted to believe they fit, the drag lines in the front clearly meant I needed a bit more fabric in the hips. I wouldn't sew up fashion fabric if the muslin fit like that so I couldn't buy the pants. Even if they were also $15. But when I look at the Loft website, most of the pants on the stick-thin models have those drag lines. What's up with that? It could be the fabric too. I noticed that most of the pants were of very thin fabric, which is unforgiving and in my opinion unattractive unless the fabric is allowed to flow over the hips and butt. There was no flow of fabric over my hips and butt.
The other frustrating thing about clothing shopping is seeing all the items I could "easily" make. How can I justify buying something when I have the similar fabric and pattern? I was thrilled to see that my twisty top is right in fashion (thank you Burda WOF magazine!). So too was the fabric I chose. So that was good, even if the pants-buying was not.