Thought No. 20: Sunday / by Jennifer Wisniewski


"Give me leggings or give me death."

After a while, I got real tired of Ryan saying, “I can’t stand to see you in yoga pants another day”. (After that scathing comment, he usually goes into specific structural details.) With a hand on his hip he would preach, "Why can’t you get some skinny jeans—with, like, pockets? Those are not pants! Are you currently at the gym?" I started tuning him out and had visions of Charlton Heston holding my leggings shouting, “From my cold dead hands!" After the sixth outburst by him, I secretly went online and bought some pants with buttons. 

The next day I was talking to my sister, Mary, and the buzzer rang. It was Amazon with my delivery.  Mary asked who was at the door and I explained that Ryan's been harassing me about wearing leggings, so I bought something more “work appropriate”, so to speak. She was, to say the very least, bewildered and dismayed by Ryan’s tough love stance on leggings. She defensively made her case. “What’s he talking about?! You always look so nice in them! You wear a blouse and a blazer. It looks great and you have to be comfortable. You work in a restaurant for Christ’s sake!" I tried to calm her down: “I know, I know. I understand how you feel.  I get it, but he’s right. They aren’t pants." Needless to say, as we're talking—Mary is getting the make and model of said jeans and putting in her order.

As soon as I put them on ... enlightenment started to set in. On day one of wearing a button around my waist, I slowly started losing my mind! It takes a while to get used to that sensation again and you start realizing the real need for a waistband. Maybe the realization is that your pants shouldn’t be forgiving and comfortable. Maybe the waistband has a purpose greater than holding the pants up. It might be there to tap you on the shoulder and whisper in your ear to put the vodka/soda down (and chips.)

As I was driving home today, I saw a youngish woman standing on the sidewalk—kickin’ it, having a smoke in her bright red heart pajama pants. Not a peculiar scene on the Northwest Side of Chicago, but odd—because it was four in the afternoon. If I was having any doubts about my recent fashion epiphany, it was exactly the visual I needed. I was one small step away from becoming a public pajama-wearing person. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be comfortable, but maybe we're not supposed to be comfortable ... all the time. Maybe clothes are supposed to remind us that we're at work—and that we should put the fork down and sit up straight.