put on your comfy pants


After buying new clothes that I later realize make me look old or fat or ugly or just plain stupid, I’m proud to say my selection of attire I can wear around the house has markedly increased.

Around the house, I look quite stylish in a manic array of too frilly, too silly, too crinoline-y, a regular hodge-podge fashionista.  The problem is when I go out, I have nothing to wear. But the possibilities when I cook, clean or watch a movie are endless, even if I’d rather not answer the front door or walk into the backyard for fear of disrupting the delicate ecology of birds and plants, fresh air and sunlight.

Some outfits -- like the tie-die dress from Bali from 30 years ago -- can create a harmful electromagnetic disturbance.

When I was a kid, my mother had lots of house clothes; in fact it was considered an acceptable wardrobe category that consumed the greatest space in her closet, the repository of stuff you couldn’t get away with anywhere else. This included those things that were too stained or baggy or torn to wear in front of people who cared, certainly not us, even if these frugal concoctions made her Queen of Goodwill.

I am proud to say I absorbed her tutelage well, and apparently other members of the family did too.

 “Don’t you want to put on your comfy pants?” my niece asked recently, when we were on our way out to dinner. “Wouldn’t you rather just hang out at home?”

I decided then and there, this family has to sever the house dress gene at its root, so we can operate in the world of tight misery like every decent woman worth her lululemons.

Even if a good part of the day is spent dreaming of sweatpants stuffed alongside the one-size-never-fits-anyone fleece body snuggie that looks like a bunny rabbit.

My niece reminds me she had a stuffed rabbit as a kid.

So, faced with succeeding generations of house frumps, my husband decided to take the bunny by the floppy ears. Maybe he’d finally had enough after I wore pajamas to the gym. Or maybe he’d like to know the relative shape of the person he swore to love, honor and try to ignore with her baseball cap and flannel boudoir wear.

He bought me a real fashionista consultation for my birthday; now I was in trouble.

“Do I actually need this?” I ask in my straggly bathrobe at dinner, the certificate in my hand. I was insulted yet intrigued. Recognized for who I was, challenged to be who I wasn’t.


I respond by immediately cleaning my closet for fear a gorgeous, haute couture trendsetter will knock on the door and accuse me of being a comfy pants person.

And I went online to check her out, ready to accuse her of having nothing in common with me, especially when I see her latest posting on strappy sandals which I can’t wear without breaking an ankle. This line throws me, “When it comes to details, your heels can be a work of art. These are not your mother’s pumps.”

Already she was insulting my Mom.

The gift certificate specifically promises a so-called “closet edit” in which you learn what to throw out, consign or donate. I see nothing about repurposing as a house dress.

Then, when only underwear is left, the perky mix ‘n match expert shows you how to create new looks! The exclamation point is right there on the certificate.

It’s also after this line: You will never feel you have nothing to wear after a closet edit! I assume all this rowdy exclaiming means things you can wear outdoors -- I guess the underwear.

Holy not-your-mother fashionista!

With Mother’s Day upcoming, I certainly won’t do anything to disturb her memory yet, so before taking this voguish leap, I’m hiding some frumpy frugal-wear for a future emergency. Just in case.

For the family of course. It would make my mother proud.

May 5, 2019

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