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Put On Your Pants, Ladies

Put On Your Pants, Ladies

When one of the girls in the TSNE (Tri-Ess New England) group commented that 70% of women wear slacks all the time, I challenged her on the statistic. She admitted to it being just her personal observation. My interest was piqued though because CDs constantly complain that women are not feminine enough. Then one of my younger writers did a piece on Downplaying Pantyhose and Fitting-In. Lisa talks about looking like the girl next door and she does and her casual dress demonstrates it very well in her photos….not unlike what you will see in the mall on any given day.

Earlier this year Lucky magazine did an article on why pants are way better than skirts and while some of the reasons are not surprising, there was some dissension. So I asked the ladies in several of my Yahoo groups and their observations were equally disturbing. That 70% number may be too low and their observations covered locations from New Jersey to California.

 Carolyn said, “I once sat in a chair at the tiniest mall in my city and counted the number of women wearing skirts or dresses.  In half an hour, except for the women who worked at the mall, I counted exactly one woman not wearing pants.  And she was wearing a very casual skirt.  From then on, when I go to the mall, I always wear pants

And perhaps you might expect this at the mall but not at the office. Another friend remarked, “I would guess that statistically, that isn’t far off. I work in a professional setting, predominantly with women of varying ages. Even the most professional of them wear business attire/suits with slacks, far more often that skirts or dresses.  That being said, nicely fitted ladies’ slacks can be very flattering and attractive, though not nearly as much as dresses and skirts”.

But it goes beyond even this. My friend, Cherie, from the Denver area said, “I must agree here in Colorado but even a higher percent of the time. Every time I go to the clubs most women are wearing slacks. You will also notice that almost none wear stockings or pantyhose anymore even on the red carpet”.

Terri said, “I was at a funeral yesterday and many of the women wore pants. The norm has changed, just like so many other things”. Yea gads! The same is true at church too.

So what are the reasons? My friend, Judy, from Fargo said “comfort and convenience…in general I would agree that the majority of women wear pants in most social situations unless it’s a wedding or some sort of special event”. Yes, this true. Lucky said, “There’s no denying it: pants are just easier to deal with. There are no sudden winds to worry about, no difficulty crossing your legs and you’re certainly more agile in a good pair of pants than in a flowing skirt. So after declaring last week that flats are better than heels, we’re making it official—pants are better than skirts”.

 Here are some comments from the real live women at Lucky:

 Blowing skirt“Because sometimes I like to sit cross-legged at my desk and I can’t do that in a skirt. Because pants are always warmer than tights, no matter how thick and cashmere-filled they are. Because the right pair of pants will always make legs look longer and leaner than a skirt can. (Even this one here, which I still endorse buying regardless.)” – Alison Syrett, Digital Writer

Every time I wear a skirt I experience at least one moment of panic where I convince myself that my skirt is completely hiked up in the back, revealing my underwear. It never is, but wearing pants eliminates the possibility altogether.” – Sarah Ferguson, Digital Production Assistant

“You never have to shave your legs! (But don’t worry, mine are silky smooth under there. Most days, at least…)” – Sarah Ferguson, Digital Production Assistant

“Wearing pants means you’re prepared at all times for a spontaneous dance-off.” – Sarah Ferguson, Digital Production Assistant

“Pants are better than skirts because you never worry about errant updrafts while wearing them. In a skirt, you have to avoid every sidewalk grate for fear of an unintended Marilyn-Monroe-in-The-Seven-Year-Itch moment.” – Karen Wilson, Senior Digital Producer

“Pants with long hems and high heels make you look a million miles tall, even if you’re only average in height.” – Karen Wilson, Senior Digital Producer

“Finding pants that fit you is complicated, which is actually a very good thing in one sense: your friends/roommates/sisters won’t be able to borrow/steal them from you as easily as they do your shoes and shirts.” – Natalie Matthews, Digital Fashion Writer

CES-Catherines-Sep08This picture was taken a few years ago at a Catherine’s shop in a Springfield VA mall at a store event for crossdressers. I’m in the center rear and you can see my white pants. The outfit was created by my wife and I did look and feel very feminine although the strappy white shoes were digging into my feet.

Now least you think that Tasi has crossed over and is preaching heresy, not necessarily so. Not all women agree that pants our better. And I can tell you from personal observation that this trend towards pants is more pronounced in the U.S. than elsewhere. In much of the Latin/Spanish and Asian worlds, skirts and dresses still are widely worn, but more so in the middle and upper classes.

Lucky went on to say, “Hold up—pants are most certainly NOT better than skirts. Not if your body type skews more toward the hourglassy, small-of-waist and not-so-small-of-hip dimensions that mine does. It’s virtually impossible for me to find jeans that fit both in the waist and the hip regions, particularly pairs that aren’t super-stretchy. I own one pair of jeans—ONE—that I bust out for very special occasions. The rest of the time, you’ll find me in full, A-line skirts and dresses—a silhouette that, at least for me, is far more figure-flattering.” – Elana Fishman, Senior Digital Editor

“Would Marie Antoinette, Megan Draper or Lady Mary Crawley ever choose pants over skirts? Hell to the no! They’re just not as classy.” – Elana Fishman, Senior Digital Editor

“Unlike skirts, which twirl in a pleasantly fairy-like fashion, pants do little more than puddle sadly around one’s ankles—or, in the case of skinny jeans, serve as super-constricting ankle-hugging devices. Great for warding off deep vein thrombosis on long plane flights? Sure. Whimsical and elegant? Not in the slightest.” – Elana Fishman, Senior Digital Editor

Another cross-dressing friend said, “My guess is some of them don’t think about being as feminine anymore and would rather take the easy way out. It takes work to look feminine and good even for a girl”. Clinton Kelly, my favorite style icon, would certainly agree with this as time after time on TLC’s What Not To Wear, Clinton bemoaned the lack of style by American women.  But do we take it too far? Maybe! Heather said, “But then over dressing for the venue is one of the biggest mistakes us girls can make. It is very possible to wear jeans and be feminine at the same time. I usually look better than the GGs when I do it, too”.  Actually over much everything is the reason for most crossdresser faux pas’ as I write about in my book Top Ten Fashion Mistakes by Crossdressers and How To Fix Them

One woman said there was a hugh difference because women who wear only skirts are more “delicate and religious” And the response to that was, “Um, what? LOL. I am so far from delicate and even farther from religious, yet I only own 3 pairs of pants and the rest of my wardrobe is skirts and dresses. I do not like strapless anything though and I haven’t worn a mini skirt since high school.

pantsuit and dressI tend to prefer below-the-knee skirts and dresses so I don’t worry about flashing anyone. I only have issues when it is super windy outside and I am in a full skirt.

 Another woman said,”Me too. I am so much more comfy in a skirt or dress. I wear pants but generally when I’m feeling a little “meh” and it is easier to throw on casual cotton pants and a t-shirt and put my hair in a ponytail, because when I wear skirts and/or dresses I feel the need to look more polished overall”.

So, you decide. Are you comfortable in pants? Do you feel fashionable in pants? Would you wear them? Leave a comment and let us know.



Annette says:

Generally I wear pants 95-99% of the time as I like to blend in. Dresses I like to save for those rare special occasions…nice restaurants, shows etc. As always, I believe it’s important to keep the venue in mind and dress appropriately.


Cyrsti Hart says:

Years ago in the old Tri Ess days I used to get harassed for wearing slacks or jeans and flats… or going bare legged in the summer months with no panty hose…very tough to not blend in with the women where I live, not to mention the comfort.

Perhaps it’s the difference in the reality of the public and the privacy of the hotel we were in?

I agree with Annette…if you navigate the world as a woman, you need to do your best to blend with them!

Tasi Zuriack says:

Your comment about Tri-Ess is interesting, as I started a chapter in Roanoke in 2008. We had several girls that wore jeans or capris but I can’t imagine anyone of us criticizing the others because we didn’t choose to be in a skirt/dress and pantyhose/nylons. Just look at the girls in the Catherines picture. One of my favorite outfits is a nice pair of properly-draped black slacks, a filmy black and white top (black bra underneath), nice jewelry and flats. I look good and feel sexy. So it can be done. Bit you can also dress a LBD up or down and take it from casual to dressy with just your accessories. Hugs…..Tasi

Randi says:

I suppose I am out of touch. I work in an office. I still wear a skirt suit or dress to the office everyday. I also wear pantyhose. I grew up where my mom demanded us to be properly dressed at all times. In those times going out to dinner on a Sunday meant wearing a dress for my sister and suit for me. Of course I hated that, I too wanted to wear a dress.
I am an old fashioned woman. I dress for the office in formal business attire, hair and make-up is done. It is not easy being female, but I would never go back to my old life. I thank Dr. Brassard for his skills everyday.

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