Putting on my Big Girl Pants

For many years when he was younger, my oldest son only wore pants with elastic waists.  No zippers.  No snaps or buttons.  No flies.  And he wore them, pulled up around his ears, with his shirts tucked in:)  But at some point, I don’t remember why or when, he graduated from the slip-on pull-up pants to jeans.  Zippers and flies.  Now, a junior in college, he doesn’t own a single pair of sweats.

My younger son, ironically, or in an attempt to be different from his older brother, is almost the opposite.  For years he refused to wear any pants with elastic waists, claiming he hated sweats.  He was a jeans man.  But at some point he added nylon elastic waist shorts (with pockets please Mom) as a daily staple.  No matter how cold it was outside.  And he wore them around the middle of his butt, although at least the boxers were covered by his overly baggy shirts.  And he founded the unofficial Pajama Thursdays at his high school, where he and many other kids go to class in comfy pajama pants.

What’s my point?

It seems that I am not the only member of my family to subscribe to the “comfort over style” philosophy of dressing.  I am a bit of a frumpy slob.  I like things comfy and baggy.  I have long wondered when the “What Not to Wear” team would show up on my front door.

But there is a real downside to my dressing style when it comes to my life as a reforming yo-yo dieter.  As many of you may know from personal experience, certain comfy clothes make it all too easy to gain a few pounds and still have something to wear.

I get this.  It makes perfect sense.  I am logical and pragmatic and I like to think I learn from my mistakes.  Yet I still have a closet filled with elastic waist sweat-outfits and loose swinging summer dresses.  This is one hurdle I have not managed to jump over.  But, I will.  Yes, I tossed a few of the worst offenders this year.  But I kept others, unable to let go.

But the time has come to, as the saying goes, put on my big girl pants.  And that means I have to take off my “big” girl pants and get rid of them once and for all!

Not that I can entirely give up on the comfort notion.  I just think sweats feel better all day than jeans.  So I think I need to find a middle ground.  Something comfy but not too roomy.  Something that feels great but not if I gain a few pounds.  Something that can still pass the “sitting for hours in an airplane seat” test but that doesn’t have a crotch that hangs halfway to my knees.  Maybe I have gotten too comfortable with the desire to be comfortable.  Maybe what I really need from my clothes is a little less comfort and a little more reminder.  A reminder of the danger of the slippery slope of overeating or going off my plan.  A reminder that life is not as comfortable when I am not eating well.  Comfortable is good.  Sometimes.  Other times, maybe not so much.

What do you wear most of the time?  Do you dress for comfort or style?



Filed under clothing, family

46 responses to “Putting on my Big Girl Pants

  1. ahhh..I think I’ve established I’m a PJ kinda gal. You gotta great son there, estbalishing a Pj day at school…awww. When I worked in an office, we did that once and it was a hoot.

    Seriously though, there is something to be said for balancing it all out. Those pjs, sweats, elastic waist bands can become part of magical thinking–“I can eat 3 doughnuts and not gain an ounce”. You need to slip on a pair of zip up jeans or shorts ever so often to keep your perspective.
    who knew?

  2. As always, I’ll be the “radical.” Without exception, I dress for comfort. I also feel very strongly that comfort can also be stylish. I spent too many years in CorporateLand before the days of comfortable business clothing. In the banking industry, I had no choice but to wear suits EVERY day and I swore, when I retired, I’d never wear anything uncomfortable again.

    Fortunately, things have changed a lot and I think the two can mix effectively. But I am not one of those who gets dressed up to exercise or run to the grocery. And when in the privacy of our home, Mr B and I agree that we wear whatever feels good. He generally looks worse than I do. LOL!

    I’ve never had much interest in fashion, so have never tied my weight loss efforts to wearing better or different clothes. For me, it’s always about better health so I can hike further, bike further, etc.

    I hope there are others out there like me.

    • Karen

      I had forgotten that when I worked, I actually liked dressing nicely. And wearing jewelry:) And makeup even! Now I admit that many days I don’t even dry my hair and that is scary. I would love to find fashionable comfort clothes.

  3. Karen, I have my jeans that tell me what is going on but at home when I am blogging & such, I wear stretchy shorts or leggings depending on the weather.. although they are tighter fitting ones, not baggy. They make it easier for my many trips to the bathroom! 😉

    But I agree, nothing like big girl pants to tell us what is going on with your weight & actually sometimes wearing tight pants to a party or such can stop one from overdoing! 🙂 Hey, if you think this will help, I say go for it!!!!!!

    Too funny on your boys. I have a grandson that will not do buttons or zippers……


    I have applies to What Not to Wear at least 3 times!!!! Not only am I fashion clueless but I have so few clothes that I wear the same thing over & over. Once my granddaughter said to me: Nana, why do you always wear the same thing…. I laughed hysterically!

    • Karen

      I was just thinking that I should wear something for Thanksgiving that reminds me of my goal to not go overboard that day! I think I would hate to be on that show because they would toss all my favorite stuff into the trash:(

  4. I’m a comfort-first person, which for me means jeans and/or workout-type wear. It breaks the fashion rules, but then again, if I find myself near a walking trail with time on my hands, I’m dressed for it! (And many’s the time, I’ve taken advantage of that!)

  5. I got a good laugh at your post title – and knew just where you were heading. So it seems we dress alike too! One thing, I’ve discovered that jeans – snug but not tight, cover a multitude of sins of the flesh, and invariably make me look a little leaner. But I have more black warm up pants and sweats than I can count. And usually, “frumpy slob” is a fitting description of my style, too.

    When I was small, ( 120 lbs at 5’9″ in my 20s and early 30s) I used to LOVE buying great clothes and looked good in them. It would be wonderful to enjoy clothes buying again, and enjoying my appearance. We’re on our way (weigh?) Karen! And wouldn’t you LOVE to have Stacy and Clinton show up at your door (after the weight is gone)?

    • Karen

      OMG – yes… black sweats! But I agree that it is often more unflattering to wear the comfy stuff. I have to admit that I have not watched the US hosts, and really know the show from Trini and Suzanne being on Oprah. They crack me up.

  6. I am a jeans and sweater girl or a skirts and boots girl in the winter. BUT when I get home, at the end of the day, my “bag lady” outfit typically comes out…sweats and a big baggy oversized sweatshirt…

    I am working on my fashion style…that is what I want in this next life…so I am looking for comfort AND style. I got a new pair of jeans yesterday and they have the comfort AND look good…(plus smaller) a win, win, win!

  7. Ewa

    I seem to belong to comfort first group. If I have to look fashionable I put on a dress or a skirt. But now that my body demands more food for the winter hibernation pants would be a good gauge of how I am managing my cravings.

  8. sunnydaze

    When I’m at home I wear sweats but If I go to the store or something I wear jeans. I had a bunch of baggy clothes that I kept just for comfort until my DD reminded me that They were way too big and making me looked like a blob in them so I got rid of them and bought some tigher, more flattering sweats and work out clothes. I recently bought a pair of black yoga-type pants that are sooo comfortable and really look great on too. Since we’ve lost some weight we may as well show it off, right? 😉

    • Karen

      Good for you, rocking those yoga pants! I wonder if I would be less of a slob if I had daughters instead of sons. I honestly think I might… thanks to input from a daughter and the need to model a decent dressing style.

  9. Alright, I’ll be the opposite… because I am usually always in skinny jeans and high boots. I definitely dress for style more than comfort when I’m not at home. I find that my jeans keep my diet in check sometimes… I know when I’ve gained some weight. (At home, I’m in PJ pants… so I’m not THAT crazy).

  10. Both? At work I dress for comfort but I don’t ever wear sweats (well I do change for my workouts), I usually wear jeans and a decent shirt, since I never know when I’m going to do any grunt work I don’t like to dress super nice anymore- it just ruins my clothes!

    On weekends or going out I try to dress a bit nicer, but now and then I’m known to wear sweats and a t-shirt to go grocery shopping 🙂

  11. I guess I’m somewhere in the middle. I wear scrubs to work, which ARE comfy, but I like them fitted. At home, I’m either in jeans or workout pants. Nothing let’s you know you were bad faster than a pair of fitted jeans. I’m still comfortable in whatever I wear, I just like them to fit. I think getting rid of our big girl pants is a great idea!! I just cleaned out my closet of all my bigger clothes and gave them away. I’ve kept them every other time I’ve dieted, but I think I finally recognized that having them there, for me, was a crutch. It’s like I’m giving myself permission to gain back because my big girl pants are still there – just in case. I don’t want/need my crutch this time 🙂 Hopefully you feel as good getting rid of them as I did!! It definitely gives a sense of permanence.

  12. I don’t find jeans comfortable at all. And I don’t like sweats because I get too hot. I like cotton or other lightweight workout style pants – and yes those do have stretchy waistbands. I also like cotton chinos with real waistbands and zippers. (I usually have to nip in the waistbands on my sewing machine because the waist is always too big when they fit around my rear!)

    So I have both comfort and reminders of when I am creeping up. I do have a pair of tight stretchy jeans I bought a couple of years ago (now they call them jeggings) – except mine are loose now!

  13. Sometimes I have to wear suits or dresses for client meetings, but most of the time I’m in jeans with a jacket/nice top/sweater during the work week – except on super PMS days when I only want to wear yoga pants. There’s a yiddish term I’ve got to drop here (my mom would be so proud) – super baggy, old clothes are called shmattahs. After my big weight loss years ago, I kept one original pair of running tights for years from when I was 50 pounds larger. Then one night our apartment complex had a fire drill and I wore them out in public – seeing the look of surprise on neighbor’s faces made me realize they easily added 20 pounds. So now, I try not to keep any more shmattahs around. 🙂

  14. Dr. J

    One of the thoughts I’ve had is that people who can’t deal with a little discomfort have a hard time with weight loss and other areas that take work to be successful.

  15. M-Sat I require myself to get dressed. Really dressed. Things that are fitted. Things that require belts or buttons and zippers. I get dressed for work and even though no one would care if I wore yoga pants, I refuse to do it. I wear capris, skirts, dresses, nice jeans, slacks, sweaters, blouses, knit paints that are zippered etc. From wake up to 4pm, I must stay dressed. Even on Saturday, which is normally a jeans day. I make sure I wear makeup too. After 4pm, I can ditch the bra, the tights the fitted waists ect. I can remove the makeup etc. I am then normally in yoga pants, knit shorts or if I am really worn out, big baggy sweats that if I have a cell phone in my pocket they fall off. lol Sunday is a free for all, yesterday I wore jeans and a sweater. It has taken me about a year to go from that slouchy 3x girl to the size 12 tailored girl I am becoming. (hopefully to become a size 8-10 girl)

  16. I’m a jeans, nice top and boots person. I used to wear only elastic pants and baggy tops. Even though I have a LONG way to go, I wear slacks..either jeans or pants that have a button and zipper now.

    I do LOVE to “jammy up” as we say in our home early in the evening though!

  17. I try to dress stylish-ly for comfort 🙂 haha. I had been mostly wearing dresses/skirts when not in class/clinicals (I HAVEEEE to wear scrubs then!) I’m wayyyy excited about getting into the 3 boxes of clothes that are in my closet that i can’t wear right now, but will fit into them in a few months 🙂

  18. Adina

    Amazing that you wrote this just as Thanksgiving is approaching. My wardrobe of choice for the big day is zipper/button pants. For the past umpteen years, I have chosen elastic waist pants, because frankly, that was all I could fit into.

    I have lost nearly 70 pounds and am half way to my goal, I’m not going to allow a holiday to deter me.

    I had also pledged to my family that along my journey to better health and fitness, I will only purchase pants with zippers, buttons or snaps as I replace the sagging, elastic slacks that have become a wardrobe staple. I will, however, expand my exercise wardrobe…it’s really not comfortable to do yoga in pants with zippers. I vow to wear my zipper, button, snap slacks for work and holidays. I will reserve my elastic waist clothing for workouts and the occasional lazy weekend.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I have definitely come to the belief that elastic is part the of reason Americans are getting bigger.

    • Karen

      I was so thinking about what to wear for Thanksgiving too! I really don’t want to go overboard this year and think that a waistband would be a good reminder. Congrats on your tremendous progress:)

  19. When I was at my worst, it was comfort for sure.

    Now, I fit back into my stylish clothes. At least they were stylish four years ago.

  20. Hey Karen,
    I have a love/hate relationship with elastic. I think it is possible to be comfortable without it, and unfortunately, I’ve let a little too much of it sneak back into my closet… here is a post I wrote about the subject. It might be worth a chuckle.

  21. Hmmm. I have so many different sizes of jeans and pants, where do I begin? But for comfort daily I wear jeans, that are big enough to require a belt. But right now at home, I am wearing sweats.

    Part of me has justified keeping my fatty clothes in case I get pregnant-hey maternity clothes are expensive!! HOWEVER I realize this makes it waaaay too easy to slowly balloon back up without realizing it…

    Though I hate to rely on the scale-the pure numbers anyway-I think I am going to have to regularly weigh myself until the day I die in order not to start a descent that will send me back to obesity unfortunately-since I am very bad about obsessing about a number, but the way sizes in clothing have steadily increased as far as a size equates with 20 years ago, I need something more consistent.

    Polar’s Mom

  22. I love cute clothes! I also like comfort so I buy cute clothes that are fitted but they have to feel nice too!

    I only wear exercise type clothes for well, exercising!

    When you wear fitted clothes there is no room to gain weight.

    I do like to put my pj’s on after dinner in the winter time and be comfy and warm for the evening.

  23. LOL–I thought I was bad about being comfy over being stylish but I think you have me beat! I wear jeans 90% of the time, but to me, those are comfy. It does make a difference if they fit or not. And I can tell when I gain weight and they get too tight, they’re no longer comfy. But the bad thing right now is that I’ve been wearing jeans that are too big and they’re lying to me, telling me I’m thin and that I don’t need to lose any weight and for a while I was listening, cramming crap in my mouth, and beginning to fill them back out again. I finally put them away and am wearing my real size so the bigger ones can’t play with my head. 🙂

  24. At home I’m a yoga pant wearing mom but if I even have the thought of leaving the house in my yoga pants then I know that something’s wrong with my weight. Since I turned 50 this past March I’ve been upgrading my wardrobe and stop dressing like a complete boob and dress more like an actual grown up – kind of like “what not to wear” came to visit without the TV cameras! It’s going well!

    • Karen

      I still remember a show Oprah did several years ago about women who look younger than their age. The thing that really struck me was they all had long hair! But, they also all dressed well and youthfully, but for their ages.

  25. It’s so crazy how baggy pants can seriously play a role in how much we eat. I know for a fact I eat more when I’m comfy… NOT GOOD! I need to put my good girl pants on!

  26. One of the reasons I like being a surgeon is I get to work in pajamas 🙂

  27. I’m so glad to hear you’re getting rid of those clothes! It’s really very cleansing, although it can be scary at first. Go you! 🙂

    Also, I dress for comfort and style. It’s possible. 🙂

  28. I dress for comfort, but I also have to wear more professional clothes for work. Because of that, my style needs a little help. Or, rather, my budget for style needs some help…

  29. I can’t believe some of the clothes I used to wear … thinking they hid my fat when really they just made me look huge. (No wonder I hated having my picture taken.) Now I wear jeans every day unless I dressing up. The jeans do have spandex in them, but they are actually comfortable and I look SO much better than I ever did in sweats.

  30. I loved ditching the elastic pants and jumpers once I lost all my weight! These days, I only wear elastic waistbands in my workout clothes.

  31. Oh, definitely comfort. It’s usually sweat pants in winter and shorts in summer for me, both with elastic waist.

  32. Love the frumpy reference… Yes – I too enjoy the frump. I’m not a girly girl. I do the ponytail more often than not. I have drawers and purses with lipstick and rarely use them. BUT, I had a funny thing happen this summer. I won an award. A big award. An uber big deal. My sis came to the rescue. She scheduled my hair & manicure & trainings with Sonjia. And we went shopping. I had lost a few inches and was feeling pretty confident. And she dressed me…. And I let her…. I turned up my nose, kept my comments to myself, and she helped me buy some really nice clothes! And I gotta say, it feels great. Disclaimer: I wore workout clothes all day today. BUT, I’ve been dressing up a bit (relative term) and it feels really nice 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  33. D

    I love this post – you’ve done it again! 🙂
    I make sure that I wear jeans or fitting clothes – just because of this – I can convince myself when I’m in “comfort clothing” that I don’t have a weight problem – and then I eat/act like that’s a fact. Ugh.
    Plus I do feel better wearing “real” clothes.

  34. Pingback: Waisting Time , Archive » Hot 100 – Week 8 Update

  35. I defintely dress for comfort. Though, for the same reasons that you have stated, I should probably get some of my loose clothing.

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