Fear Friday: Wear Attention-Getting Pants

February 5, 2016

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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.

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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.

Modeling my "just at the gym" look.

Modeling my “just at the gym” look.

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.

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Soup, salad & parrot pants.

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.

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Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who has the parroty pants of all?

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.

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Blending in with the decor.

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.

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Parrot pants + popcorn = life is good.

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.

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Rocking the aisles in my parrot pants.

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?

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I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On February 5, 2016 at 8:57 am JessieV said:

    I’d love a pair of those pants. I want to do some ethnological research as you did. I think I’d love the results! 🙂

  2. On February 5, 2016 at 10:57 am Pauline said:

    Totally unrelated to your VERY cool parrot leggings, what legging brand do you usually wear? I’m searching so hard to find a pair that doesn’t make me feel naked and so exposed when I wear them…

    Now, to answer your question: I’m afraid to wear sleeveless top mostly because I think I have a ginormous upper arms. I can count the number of days I’m brave enough to wear them on my 2 hands. Most of the time, I cover it up with a cardigan, but this gets bothersome when it’s summer and very hot outside. Maybe I’ll follow your footsteps and wear them this year!

    • On February 6, 2016 at 11:47 am Sally said:

      I definitely have some sleeveless top phobia myself. I’m going to be tackling that fear once the weather warms up because, yeah, wearing a cardigan in the middle of August? I’m not about that life!
      As for leggings, I LOVE Torrid leggings. They have a super high waistband so you don’t have to worry about them rolling down and are much more durable than the cheesy-cheapo ones I used to buy all the time from Old Navy. Only thing is they’re for bigger girls — I think they start at size 12.

  3. On February 5, 2016 at 1:15 pm Sandra L. said:

    I love your pants! While I’m a fan of black, I think one needs to splash out every now and then.

    As far as garments I’m afraid to wear, I absolutely hate showing cleavage. When I got married, I had a seamstress make my dress. Upon trying it on, I discovered there was a teensy bit of cleavage in the vee neck area. I nearly freaked. Don’t ask me why. I was a much thinner 23 year old then. (For the record, I am 51).

    • On February 6, 2016 at 11:44 am Sally said:

      Hmm… interesting. I tend to be much more worried about revealing too much down below than I am up top, but over the last few years I’ve found myself more hesitant to show much cleavage. Partly because I lived for so long in Asia where people don’t really wear revealing tops. Short shorts and micro-mini-skirts, no problem! But a v-neck?? Scandalous! And also because I now work primarily with Muslim students — and mostly male Muslim students at that — so I make a point of being pretty covered up when at work. Maybe I should add “wearing something cleavagey” to my list of Friday fears… except I would definitely have to try out that fear while not at work!

  4. On February 6, 2016 at 11:22 am Veronica U said:

    I just wanted to let you know how much I always enjoy reading your blog 🙂 My husband and I moved from Michigan this summer, but I love your little bits of Michigan that are always in your posts – talking about Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and today – I saw a Meijer grocery cart!! Holy moly, the little things you don’t realize you miss!

    Keep facing your fears — and please keep writing about them too!

    Much love from the East Coast.

    • On February 6, 2016 at 11:39 am Sally said:

      Aww, thanks, Veronica! So glad you’re enjoying the blog. And it’s funny you say you miss Meijer. While I like Meijer (especially the wine aisle… possibly too much!), I miss Wegman’s SO MUCH. Every time I go home to Buffalo, that’s one of my first stops!

  5. On February 6, 2016 at 3:02 pm Cest La Vibe said:

    Those leggings are really fashionable right now!
    Cest La Vibe recently posted..Five Reasons to go to The 2016 Governors Ball Music Festival

  6. On February 7, 2016 at 5:16 am Claudia said:

    I am gorgeous, Sally. I can wear anything I want. SERIOUSLY.

    Oh, btw – you are too <3
    Claudia recently posted..Great things to do in Argentina

  7. On February 7, 2016 at 6:52 pm Linda said:

    Lovely post. I like the honesty and realness about your writing Sally. Well done 🙂 Thanks for sharing us.

  8. On February 8, 2016 at 11:30 am Samantha said:

    You go!!! You rocked those parrot pants!

  9. On February 23, 2016 at 1:36 pm Meg said:

    I love this. I am also, ahem, pearshaped, and my favorite thing about leggings-as-pants is that I’ve started wearing a lot more miniskirts. IT DOESN’T MATTER IF MY SKIRT IS TOO SHORT! Because I’m wearing pants underneath! No more sitting down carefully, plus the miniskirt covers my more pear shaped bits.

    Anyway, I’m newly inspired to get some cool patterned leggings for under my miniskirts.
    Meg recently posted..No, Seriously. Don’t Skip “Monument Valley”

    • On March 10, 2016 at 5:41 pm Sally said:

      I love wearing leggings under skirts and dresses. I work with primarily Muslim male students, so it’s not really cool to show up to work in short skirts or dresses. But leggings solve ALL my problems!

  10. On February 25, 2016 at 11:26 pm Kaori said:

    You rocked those crazy leggings! Those parrots are awesome and I think your color coordination was spot on!

    And I am exactly like Veronica, when I saw that picture at Meijers it made me miss Michigan! That was our go-to weekend grocery store and I loved their ice-cream lady. I would ask for a single and she would pile on 3-4 scoops. We definitely don’t have that system here in Japan, a single is one measly scoop. Always.

    Anyways, I’ll be looking forward to that huge hair accessory report next! 😉
    Kaori recently posted..The Ramen Shop in Omiya: Negijiro

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