Are you wearing pants?

The jeans in the painting represent a time when pants mattered.
The only painting I’ve done since the pandemic started was to put a pair of jeans on The Boy. He’s the only one in this house who has worn hard pants.

By Teresa Swartz Roberts

Blog post 40. Copyright 2021

Are you wearing pants?

I wouldn’t normally ask, but it seems to be a thing now—a pandemic thing. I’ve seen some hilarious commercials about what’s going on below the screen during business meetings and job interviews. I’ve also seen real examples of people forgetting that they can be seen onscreen, from trips to the bathroom to children acting up to public displays of affection.

I used to love pajama days, those rare snow days or Saturdays when you could literally choose to not get dressed. I usually used my time well. I could spend time with The Boy if school was closed. We’d build a fire in the basement family room and play board games and Mario Cart. I also got a lot of work done on those days, whether it was catching up on grading papers or cleaning out the bottom of my closet.

The pandemic has turned every day into a pajama day. I don’t have to get dressed. But, like most folks who don’t have to leave for work every day, I am no longer using my time to catch up on chores or devise ways to spend quality time with My Honey. (The Boy has his own life to figure out.) Other than what I need to do to survive, I’m not getting much work done.

I do put on something that I can answer the door in. My solution to the dilemma of what to wear is to make my everyday clothes pajama-like. I think the change in my dress code is representative of a widespread shift, and I think the change will be reflected in the outfits we choose in the future. Many of us are clothed in today’s fashion mullet: all business up top, party down below.

An actress who was a guest on a late-night talk show said that for New Year’s Eve she and some friends put on hard pants to celebrate. What? I did a double-take. She explained. Hard pants are any bottoms that are not stretchy and pajama-bottom comfortable: jeans, khakis, dress pants. Soft pants are pajama bottoms, yoga pants, sweatpants, the kind of clothes you wear around the house. I think hard pants and soft pants are apt terms to draw a line between what we used to wear all day and what we’ve been wearing during the pandemic.

I saw a fashion report on athleisure clothing. You’re supposed to be able to wear it to virtual work and then work out without changing clothes. I believe the trend toward multi-use clothing will continue when we head back to our offices and hit the gym in real life.

For now, I don’t know anybody who is motivated enough to change clothes a couple of times a day to dress appropriately. Most folks work pretty hard just to project the illusion of having prepared for their day. All those bearded men are saying they decided to try something new rather than admitting they’ve given up on shaving. We know the truth.

I am getting up every morning. I am showering daily. I am even getting dressed. But I’m comfortable. To be honest, I haven’t worn hard pants for years. Parkinson’s is my excuse. All of my pants are soft and loose enough to sleep in. I will not be returning to uncomfortable clothes.

So my answer is I am wearing pants, soft, stretchy pants, Who is with me?

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