I am not a fashion risk-taker.
It’s true. My unbraveness even applies to my closet.
While I sometimes can get a bit kicky when it comes to tops (I’ve even been known to wear sequins! Like, on a weekday!), my pants and leggings and pretty much anything else I wear on my lower half come in exactly two shades: black and really, really dark.
This is because I have what the ladies’ magazines like to call, a “pear shape.” In case you’ve never had the joy of reading a magazine which equates large portions of your body with pieces of produce, this basically means I’m heavier in my bottom hemisphere than I am in my top hemisphere. I’ve spent the majority of my life diligently doing what the magazines and websites and that little voice in my head have been telling me to do — trying to draw attention away from my lower half. Like, hey, maybe if I wrap my thighs in black 90% of the time, nobody will see them down there being all weird and disproportionate and pear-like?
So when I received a package with my new Pins to Kill leggings, I was a bit hesitant to open it.
First, because, OMIGOD, will you look at how cute this package is? I didn’t want to tear that baby up.
And, secondly, because I wasn’t too sure what was going to be inside. I had seen the Instagram feed full of photos of dancers and climbers and other svelte ladies in brightly colored, graphically printed leggings. They were gorgeous — both the ladies and the leggings. But they were also so very, very not like me at all — again, both the ladies and the leggings.
Inside the package was a pair of jungle-print leggings — complete with parrots. (PARROTS!) These were not leggings for the faint-of-heart or nervous-of-thigh. These were not the leggings one wears to blend in. Unless, one happens to be hanging out in a tropical paradise — complete with parrots. (PARROTS!)
If ever there was a pair of leggings designed to help me get over my fear of drawing attention to my lower half, these were them.
Last Saturday, I pulled on my new leggings and headed out in public to simultaneously do errands and conquer my phobia of attention-getting pants. This is how it went:
First stop: Lunch
There is a Panera two miles away from my house, but, instead, I drive ten miles to the next town over to go to their Panera. I tell myself this is because I want to go shopping at the stores in the other town, but I know in my heart I’m doing this so I don’t run into anyone I know.
In case, I do run into anyone I know, I’m also wearing a hoodie and sneakers in a look that says, “Oh, me? I was just at the gym. Hence the parrot pants.” Of course, if these people know me, like really know me, they will know I wasn’t just at the gym because I’m never just at the gym.
When I step up to the counter to place my order at Panera, the worker glances at my pants and gives me a smirky look. He’s a middle-aged white man with dreadlocks. I feel like he’s not really in a good place to pass judgment. But even so, I tell him my order and run to my table, where I stay with my legs tucked under the table.
Second stop: Housewares shopping
In the Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I come face-to-face with a wall of mirrors. My parrot-covered legs are EVERYWHERE. It’s like I’m in a forest and my legs are the parrot-covered trees. Instead of running away in horror, I stop and stare. I look pretty good, but I wish I were wearing cuter sneakers.
At Michael’s, I spot a bush of fake foliage that looks familiar. And then I realize it’s because they look exactly like my pants. Minus the parrots.
Third stop: Movie cinema
I get the same covert pants-glance from the clerk at the movie cinema. But I don’t feel judgment from him. Instead the look says, “Oh, well, those are unexpected.”
A five-year-old girl in the bathroom stops and stares at my legs when I come out of the stall. I wonder if my legs are reminding her of an episode of Dora the Explorer. Maybe some episode with lots of jungles and wildlife.
At the cinema, I watch Room, which is super good, but also super depressing. At the end when the lights come up, I look down at my pants. They are cheerful and bright and they remind me that life is good. I have a feeling jeans would not do this.
Last Stop: Grocery Shopping
At the grocery store, I parade up and down the aisles, and nobody even looks at my pants once. Probably because people are wearing all kinds of things in the grocery store on a Saturday night: everything from super tight miniskirts to fleece pajama pants with Sponge Bob Squarepants on them.
The girl behind me at the checkout is wearing a huge, glittery ribbon that rises about two feet above her head. She looks like a shiny, beautiful present. I surreptitiously stare at her and wonder if I shouldn’t try to face my fear of huge hair accessories next.
Out of all the places I’ve visited so far, the grocery store is definitely the one place where I run the most risk of seeing people I know. I was nervous at first, but when I don’t run into anyone, I’m kind of sad. I mean, I’m wearing pants with parrots (PARROTS!) on them. They really deserve more of an audience.
And Finally: Home
When I get home, I try the pants on with some boots and a black sweater. This outfit doesn’t pretend I’m going to the gym. This outfit says, “Oh me? I’m just wearing some parrot pants. LIKE A BOSS.” I wish I had worn this outfit instead.
Next time, I tell myself, next time.
And, yes, there will be a next time.
Because if there’s one thing I learned from my day decked out in attention-getting pants, it’s that I don’t have to spend my life wishing invisibility on my thighs. I don’t have to condemn my lower half to a life of black and really, really dark. Instead of bemoaning my pear-shapedness, maybe I should celebrate it. And celebrate it in the best way I know how — with parrots. (PARROTS!)
Disclaimer: I received this beautiful pair of jungle print leggings for free from Pins to Kill.
WHAT ITEM OF CLOTHING ARE YOU AFRAID TO WEAR? WHY?