Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Well Played Old Navy

At the risk of being indelicate, on my way to work today I was reminded of one of the many joys that comes with being a woman. As I am a woman enjoying the second half of my fourth decade, this reminder came earlier than expected, otherwise I would not have been wearing khaki pants. Light colored khaki pants. In that moment I was instantly transported back to my 13 year old self and remembered the fear and panic associated with this potential outcome. I realized in this moment that the only thing worse than having this happen while still in the throes of middle school hell was having this happen as a a teacher of middle school students.

Since I was already running late I did what little triage I could manage, wrapped my sweater around my waist with the sleeves dangling strategically and went to teach two classes. Easy enough, right, just sit behind my desk and lead class in a relaxed yet authoritative manner. This would work perfectly as long as I wasn't a PE or theatre teacher. Well, I'm not a PE teacher, so I dodged that bullet. Unfortunately I did not dodge the other one. So I rush to class, looking over my lesson plan for the day, desperately trying to make adjustments in order to avoid absolute mortification should the dangling cardigan sleeves sway and incur disgust from the 13 year old boys and disdainful pity from the girls. And wouldn't you know it, this, of all days, is when my division director pops by unannounced to observe my class. So, my option of conducting the entire class in the dark had to be quickly discarded.

I somehow make it through the class by lurking in pockets of dim lighting and standing with my legs crossed masking my utter panic with an air of relaxed authority. Thankfully I have a two hour break before my next class. I jump into the car and go to the one place I know I can buy a pair of pants quickly and cheaply...Old Navy. I certainly do not need any more khakis and lord knows I shouldn't be spending any more money until that fictitious book deal comes through (hint, hint, please share this so Simon & Schuster will come calling), but desperate times dictated a new pair of pants.

Two criteria:

  • My budget was $20 or less
  • The color had to be similar to the ones I was wearing (You know since everyone who saw me so far obviously made note of the shade of khaki pants I was wearing. I know this because Middle School aged kids are rarely absorbed with themselves.)
To my delight, Old Navy was in the midst of their 30% off Stuff and Save sale. The day was taking a turn for the better. I grabbed two pair of khakis in my regular size to try on. One was the right color, one was just a color I always wanted. The one in the right color turned out to be "skinny" style, and I do not have "skinny" style legs, I have "Irish farm-girl" style legs. The other pair were the right style, wrong color, and just a bit too big. Huh. Weird. So, I find the right color, right style and a smaller size; a size I have not worn in 20 years. They fit. My day just got so much better.

Full disclosure? I have been working on losing weight. Hurrah hurrah, good for me, whatever. I'm proud to say I have accomplished this without giving up gluten, dairy or sugar (no disrespect to those who walk that path. You are, in fact braver than me, as I would need my life threatened to give up any one of those much less all three.) My assumption was always that I would simply enjoy my regular sized pants fitting more comfortably. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would go down a size. And I am still not convinced that I have.

This is why. Designers, in a stroke of genius, have started to design pants for different shaped women. Thank you designers. I know that this smaller size in a "skinny" pant would not fit me, but the "relaxed through the hips and thighs" size fits great. The other gem I know of is that a size # today is actually larger than a size # years ago, because designers also know that vanity is a powerful motivator. If I tried to fit in this same size in the 1930's, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't even be able to force my arm into one pant leg. Since the criteria for sizes has changed, however, as evidenced by the existence of not only size 0 but size 00, folks like me can enjoy a bit of deluded euphoria.

Regardless of the reality, I definitely walked taller today since I was walking around in a size "late 20's version of myself" pair of khakis. Whatever the reason these pants fit, I'm enjoying it for as long as it lasts. As a matter of fact I have just decided that khakis make great pajama pants. From mortified self-absorption to joyful self-absorption all in a days work.

Well played Old Navy. Well played.

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