Category Archives: pants

Welcome Back, Pants


The Pants Institute is pleased as pants to present: The Classic Pants TV Lineup!¹

From the conservative black & white pinstriped pants of the 50s to the colorful polyster prints of the 60s and 70s bellbottoms and on through the high-waisted peg-legs of the 80s, this look back at the golden era of Pants TV will bring a smile to your pants.

  • I Love Pants: This classic show from the 1950s features a young married woman’s antics, which frequently involve trying to sneak around in her husband’s pants.
  • Growing Pants: A family learn that as the kids get older, they must wear larger sizes of pants, or be increasingly uncomfortable.
  • All in the Pants: A 70s show about the life and family of a middle-aged middle-class white man who struggles to adjust to changing societal norms for who wears the pants in the family.
  • I Dream of Pants: An astronaut happens across a pair of magic harem pants that can fulfill his wishes, but only if he wears them in secret.
  • Three’s Pants: In this madcap 70s comedy, 3 single young adults sharing an apartment are always getting their pants mixed up in the laundry.
  • The Pants Boat: Each weak, different styles of pants are paraded on the decks of the Pantsific Princess, a cruise ship that promises to pair up pairs of pants.
  • Pantasy Island: Each week visitors arrive on a tropical island to act out their wildest fantasies of wearing different pants.
  • Diff’rent Pants: 2 young boys from Harlem must trade in their worn-out jeans for new fancy pants when adopted by a man with millions of pants.
  • The Facts of Pants: A group of teenage girls in a boarding school learn about love, life and pants.
  • The Golden Pants: 4 older women live together in the 80s and wear 4 distinct styles of pants.
  • The Pants Bunch: When 2 families merge their wardrobes, how will they ever fit all their 70s polyester pants into one dresser?
  • Welcome Back, Pants: A high school teacher and his students teach each other lessons about changing pants fashions and returning classic pants styles.

This post is for Mary, who requested a pants post when I asked for suggestions on things to post about. This post is also dedicated to my dear friend Elizabeth, who first introduced me to the comedic power of pants, and who should have been wearing her birthday pants today. I still miss her every day.

Can’t get enough pants? Try these on for size:


¹ I had just about finished this post when I had a nagging memory that my blogging buddy Painted Maypole had years ago done a pants-TV-themed post, as part of a challenge to write a post in the style of another blogger. (She chose me!) Happily, there is only a wee bit of overlapping in the pants shows. And these are rerun pants, anyhow…

Saving All My Pants For You

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This edition of National Pants Radio is dedicated to those who seriously love pants: a playlist of classic pants songs to fit all body types.

  • All You Need Is Pants – The Beatles
    However, shirts and shoes are also required for service in most establishments.
  • Pants Me Two Times – The Doors
    Pants me once, shame on you. Pants me twice, shame on me.
  • Pants Will Keep Us Together – Captain and Tennille
    Especially if they are stitched well.
  • Pants Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
    At the seams.
  • Can’t Buy Me Pants – Beatles
    I’m not buying that. Money can buy many things. Even pants.
  • Making Pants Out of Nothing at All – Air Supply
    Would these be invisible pants?
  • Do You Believe In Pants? – Huey Lewis & the News
    Yup. Except maybe the invisible ones.
  • You Give Pants a Bad Name – Bon Jovi
    That style is really unflattering.
  • You’ve Got to Hide Your Pants Away – The Beatles
    Just toss them in the hamper.
  • Tainted Pants – Soft Cell
    I don’t even want to know what those stains are.
  • Where Did Our Pants Go – The Supremes
    Did you check the dryer?
  • A Man Without Pants – Engelbert Humperdinck
    Is he, by any chance, wearing a trenchcoat?
  • Need Your Pants So Bad – Fleetwood Mac
    Um, I’m using them right now. Can’t you get your own?
  • They’ll Never Take Her Pants From Me – Elvis Costello
    That’s just creepy.
  • Addicted To Pants – Robert Palmer
    You and me both, Robert. Better than heroin, though. Or leggings.
  • The Power of Pants – Huey Lewis and The News
    Sustainable. Renewable. Fashionable.
  • Saving All My Pants For You – Whitney Houston
    Um, thanks. I’ll be sure to make space in my closet.

Today marks the 6th anniversary of this blog and a special day for me to reflect on the meaning of pants.

The Republic of Pants: Election 2012


It’s once again election season in the Republic of Pants. Four years ago, we were gripped by the tight pants race between Corduroy O’Bloomer and Trousers McPants. Today, the pants of the Republic are still split.

The media’s bias-cut stretches the fabric of the truth, tailoring the fit to either the Left Pants Leg or the Right Pants Leg. For those fully comfortable dressing on one side or the other, the choice may seem an easy fit. For those caught between the legs, however, the decision remains an uncomfortable one, and many concerns chafe.

After wearing O’Bloomer for 3 years, many are ready to try on a new pair of Pants. Some complain that O’Bloomer didn’t fit the way they’d hoped, that they’d been deceived by overly flattering dressing-room mirrors. Others never thought he was a good fit, and are pushing to go back to older pants styles. Yet there are still many who support O’Bloomer, and argue that his sturdily constructed pants are only beginning to be broken in.

O’Bloomer and his Vice Pants, Bootcut BiDenim, seek to publicize benefits of The Affordable Cleaners Act, a law by which all pants should be given access to adequate laundering. They claim that better fabric care for all pants will positively impact the well-being of the Republic, as well as addressing the rapidly rising costs of laundry. Critics argue that the dry cleaning companies will clean up while the pants of the Republic are hung out to dry.

Corduroy continues to be hemmed in by threadbare rumors, including that he is a Muslin, or just like Linen. Rumors that he was manufactured abroad persist in spite of his display of his “Made in the Pants Republic” labels.

Opposition styles, though, are also far from universally appreciated. After one of the most awkward and embarrassing fashion shows in decades, Tweed R. Moneypants was selected as challenger to O’Bloomer.

Few would call the Moneypants campaign seamless, with evidence of it being patched up on the fly. Many claim that R. Moneypants is really a pair of reversible pants, showing whichever pattern of his double-face fabric better suits his base. Some dispute his claims that he pulled himself up by his belt-loops, saying that he was braced by his father’s suspenders. Moneypants has further been criticized and for pocketing his assets in offshore Bermuda shorts, and for being in the back pocket of powerful suits with a vested interest in seeing him wear the Pants.

The uncomfortable stiffness of Tweedy’s material has been the butt of many jokes. Hammerpants Rayon, running mate of Moneypants, seems to be cut from a more comfortable pattern, but many doubt that his flashy cloth has enough substance to adequately cover the seat of the Pants Government.

Every fiber of the candidates is being examined for stains, holes and other defects, whether or not they are material to the issues. In this straight-legged race, neither side has the option to be a relaxed fit. Both must stay up on their briefs or risk being caught with their pants down. As the old adage goes, “He who slacks off gets sent to the cleaners.”

Both O’Bloomer and Moneypants are expected to be neatly pressed for the upcoming debates, with carefully tailored responses under their belts. Questions likely to be addressed include: How will each address the continuing strain on the fabric of the Pants Economy? How will they protect the National Pants from the looming menace of international Powerbritches? And finally, and most controversially, do leggings really count as pants?

Knowledge likes pants.

I’m here in Shanghai, and haven’t had much time to write. I’m sitting in the back row of a talk, typing this on my iPad. I can’t access WordPress directly in China, as most social media websites are blocked. (On my laptop, I can use VPN to get through, but don’t have it set up on my iPad, and didn’t bring my laptop today.) But I’m going to try posting by email.

The trip has been full of adventures and activity so far. Lots of running around, lots of things done. I feel like I’ve packed in a week’s worth of activities in 4 days. (I arrived in Shanghai On Friday, as did my cousin who was able to join me on the trip. We took the bullet train to Beijing on Saturday, then saw the Great Wall on Sunday, sprinted through the Forbidden City on Monday morning, and walked around Beijing a lot in the gaps between. We took the train back to Shanghai Monday afternoon. My talk was yesterday, Tuesday, the first day of the conference. It went well. I expect the tiredness to kick in today, now that I have that done.)

So, yeah, this has been a packed trip. I haven’t had time to sort through the hundreds of photos I’ve taken so far, but here’s one from Beijing I had to share.

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“Knowledge likes pants
Invisible but very important.”

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…and that’s when I realized I’d forgotten my pants.

You know that dream that you sometimes have where you show up for a job interview, and you’ve spent a lot of time rehearsing the answers to the standard questions about how you like to solve problems and you’re a go-getter and a team-player and how your biggest weaknesses are really strengths and how at your last job you invented a miracle flavor of gum that not only cured bad breath and herpes but brought about peace in the Middle East, and you’ve paid lots of attention to make sure your hair is just right and that you don’t have any spinach stuck in your teeth and then they call you into the office and you look down and you realize that you forgot to wear pants?

You know what yesterday was? My blog’s birthday. This blog is 5 years old now.

And one day.

Not only did I neglect to bake my blog a cake yesterday, I also completely failed to prepare a post. Here I’d been shopping around for weeks for the right pants for my blog to wear on its big day, and then what with life’s distractions, I just forgot. I mean, I guess I got my blog a flower yesterday, but given all we’ve been through together, it still feels a little cheap. Sadly, I did remember shortly after posting last night, but I was tired. I went to bed. My poor blog probably felt all mopey last night, thinking I’d forgotten. Thinking I didn’t care. Going over all the times that it had been there for me, tirelessly putting up with my whining and crankiness and embarrassing dorkiness and occasional neglect. My blog probably was thinking about packing up and moving in with some other blogger, one who would buy it a full dozen flowers and bottles of wine and write it love poetry.

Wait, was this a birthday I missed, or an anniversary? (Clearly the relationship I have with my blog is complex.)

So, um, happy belated birthday/anniversary, dear blog. I bought you a card, but it must have gotten lost in the mail.

ghost of the pants


The pants phantasm…a pantasmic apparition.

Today marks the 4th anniversary of the start of my blog, and also a day that has personal significance for me and my pants. I feel like I should have something pithy, or at least witty, to say. I wanted to write something fun or silly or brilliant featuring pants. It’s been ages since I’ve put together a pants list. But instead of writing about pants, I wrote the word pants. In light. Which I have to say is actually fairly fun and silly. It is also luminous, which is at least a synonym of brilliant

I have to keep chugging away at my research to at least maintain the illusion of progress, and there hasn’t been much time in my day or room in my head for blogging or pants. I’m being haunted by the spectre of an abstract submission deadline for a conference, which is looming only 2 weeks away. I had really hoped to have something ready to submit, but it’s looking less and less likely. But I want to keep my momentum, and hopefully I’ll be ready to submit something more substantial to another conference with a spring deadline. And there’s that tiny chance that I can still make the December 1st deadline. A little ghost of a chance.

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¹ I did not edit this photo at all, and I am quite pleased with myself for figuring out how to do this.

the conference pants study: interim results

Background
Yesterday, as I headed off to a conference wearing my black pants, I presented to you the Black Pants Hypothesis, a nascent theory of lower-body-garment-wearing behavior of women attending professional conferences. My expectation was that black pants would be the most frequently observed category of leg-and-bottom-covering clothing at the conference I attended.

Interim results
After two days of conducting research on the garments worn by women at the conference I attended, I have been able to make the following observations:

  1. It is very tricky to try to actually tally rates of black pants wearing while attending and working at a conference, at least without actually making efforts to record such observations and potentially appearing creepy. Methodology was therefore not systematic.
  2. Informal pants counts supported the expectation of high rates of black pants, however an exact measure was not determined. In spotting clusters of women conference attendees, it was not uncommon to see a rate between 1 in 3 and 2 in 5 black pants wearers. Counterexamples were observed, whereby a group of 3 or 4 women were observed of whom none were wearing black pants. However, all observations of groups of 5 or more women included at least 1 wearer of black pants.
  3. Rates of black-pants-wearing were particularly high among women giving oral presentations at the conference. In a sample size of 8 talks presented by women attended by the experimenter, at least 5 of the presenters wore black pants.
  4. Other highly frequently observed bottom-half-covering garments among female conference attendees included jeans and black skirts, with rates of jeans-wearing appearing to be similarly high to rates of black-pants-wearing.
  5. Gray, brown and tan and other neutral-colored pants were fairly frequently observed, with 2 outliers sighted wearing red pants.
  6. There were occasional sightings of non-black skirts or dresses.
  7. There were no observations of shorts, swimwear or nudity.

Discussion
The current study could neither confirm nor disconfirm the hypothesis that black pants are the most frequent bottom-half-covering garment worn by women at professional conferences. While large numbers of black pants were observed, the methodology was flawed such that it was not possible to determine actual rates. Further, the pants wearing behavior of women at professional conferences may be quite variable by both field and geographic region, such that the population of the currently studied conference may not be a representative sample of professional conference attending women as a whole. Pilot survey data were inconclusive, with some women affirming the essentialness of black pants, and others stating the lack of ownership of any black pants. However, correlations of these responses with professional-conference-attending behavior was not determined. Additional data will need to be collected.

Conclusions
I was glad I was wearing my black pants yesterday when I spilled coffee all over them shortly before getting up on stage to introduce presenters.

wearing my conference pants

I mean that literally, actually.

When I tell you I’m wearing my cranky pants, I don’t have a specific garment in my wardrobe that I wear when I’m being cranky. I can be cranky in any of my pants. I can even be cranky when I’m not wearing pants. (On the other hand, I do find it harder to be cranky in my flannel polar bear pajama pants.)

Today, though, is not a day for polar bear pajamas. Since I’ll be working at the conference, I need to look moderately professional. And while I can get away with wearing my cranky pants, I’m also wearing pants that seem to be my conference uniform. Black pants. (Which, now that I think about it, were also part of my uniform back when I did catering as an undergrad, and when I waited tables.) (Not the same black pants, mind you. This pair is relatively new.)

I submit to you that black pants are the single most common garment worn by women at professional conferences. This weekend, I will be on the lookout to test this hypothesis. I will attempt to take some rough quantitative measures. I predict that the rate of black pants will be greater than that of other categories of leg-and-rear-covering garment among females attending this conference.

What about you? Can you support my hypothesis? If you are a woman, and you attend professional conferences, do you wear (at least with greater frequency than your other categories of garment) black pants?

The Unbearable Tightness of Pants

Conflict.
Betrayal.
Angst.

Pants.

The Pants Institute proudly presents the Pants Cinema Film Festival: Masterpieces of Pants Drama.

Here are some of the films on the schedule:

    The Unbearable Tightness of Pants: A young woman feels increasingly uncomfortable in her pants, while her husband seems unable to keep his own pants on.

    What’s Eating Gilbert’s Pants: A young man is disturbed to realize that clothes moths have gradually overtaken his family’s closets.

    My Own Private Pants: Two misfit young men in misfitting pants embark on a journey to find pants that fit them more comfortably.

    The Last Pants of Disco: A pair of young women struggle to adapt to the changing pants fashions at the start of the 80s, and must bid their bellbottoms goodbye.

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Pants: When a man picks up his clothing from the drycleaners, he finds the pants that are returned to him to be hauntingly familiar, yet he can’t remember ever wearing them.

    The Remains of the Pants: An aging butler reflects on his life of service, and notices how threadbare his trousers have become.

    Pants in Translation: A young American woman visits Tokyo, and is unhappy to find that she can’t find the Japanese word for “pants” in her phrase book.

    The Pants Hereafter: A town struggles to cope with the gap left by the closing of a prominent pants retailer.

    Pants Labyrinth: A young girl tries on magic pants to escape the dark realities of her family life.

    Pants of a Lesser God: Not all pants are made the same. See label for care instructions.

    Pretty in Pants: A teenage girl runs into conflict when she announces that she wants to wear tuxedo pants to her high school prom.

    Edward Scissorpants: I can’t even go there. Ouch.

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I’ve been keeping these pants packed up for ages, and it seems a fine time to air them out.