Elizabeth Davies: Stirrup pants reminder of fashionable past

Elizabeth Davies

Walking through the mall, I had sudden flashbacks of my teen years.

It could have been the Sbarro pizza place that jolted memories of Friday nights spent giggling in the food court.

It might have been the retro GAP logo that made me think of French-rolled boyfriend jeans and V-neck sweaters.

But truly, it was neither of those things.

It was the mannequin wearing the stirrup pants in the store window.

Oh, yes, they are back. Stirrups were a mistake the first time around and are undoubtedly still a fashion faux pas that will cause us to cringe when we see pictures for years to come.

Having rode the stirrup wave once before, some 20 years ago, I have no desire to tuck my pants into my socks any longer. So despite also seeing slouch socks on display — couldn’t they have come up with a different look this time around? — I ignored the up-and-coming trends and headed for the back of the store, where the real clothes are kept.

I’ve worn plenty of different clothing styles over the years. I did the all-black thing for a while, then moved on to the oversized plaid flannel grunge look. I wore the hip-hop look, with B.U.M jackets and Z Cavericci pants. And the ’70s style: I had that one down pat, with flared, low-cut jeans and flower child shirts.

My feet wore Doc Martins and Vans, Birkenstocks and Converse. I’ve carried a backpack, a hobo bag, a clutch and a tote.

In the end, I’ve discovered something: I’m just not a trendy kind of girl.

I would like to think my look is “classic.” If you’re not familiar with fashion terminology, that means “old.”

I just can’t bring myself to wear skinny jeans or tunics with belts. I wonder if people will be whispering to one another as I pass by, “What is she wearing? Does she think she’s 15 years old and 110 pounds?”

Besides, fashion trends do not take into account the special needs of a young mother. Remember the low-cut jeans look? Mothers at playgrounds across the country were cursing the Gap while hiking up the backsides of their jeans on their way down the slide. And the guy who decided that high heel boots would be the fashion statement for fall has never tried to chase down a runaway 2-year-old in a busy parking lot.

It’s easy for women of a certain age — and by that, I mean late 20s to early 40s — to throw their hands in the air and don yoga pants as their daily uniform. Our clothing budget mostly goes to dress the kids — and it’s nearly impossible to find something that fits around our larger hips, is comfortable for playing trains on the floor and still looks good for the $14 that’s left over.

And so we wear the same style of jeans for season after season, paired with that top we bought without trying on because we had a child on the verge of a meltdown at the store.

This week, I skipped out after dinner and went shopping for myself. The whole process was so foreign to me that I ended up just grabbing random items and buying them in a rush because the doors were being locked and clerks were counting out change in the register.

And in my frenzy, it seems I left one thing behind: stirrup pants.

Thank heavens.

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