Am I just wearing clothes wrong?

Seriously. I tried on two things today in very upscale boutique clothing stores, on a whim, and both had the same problem. They were both fairly long—one was a sweater-skirt thing and one just a fairly long shirt. Both of them were a relatively lightweight fabric. Both of them were cut very nicely…and then they hit my waist, and suddenly they looked like I was trying to smuggle horned toads in my pants.

My pants have lumps. And bumps. And things. The flap of cloth concealing the zipper is not exactly concave, and the belt loops make little ridges, and I keep my keys in my pocket. (Sure, I realize women’s pockets are not meant to actually hold STUFF, so I could take out my keys and my phone if I had to…but there are still bumps from the jeans themselves!)

Why do these lovely clothes look so terrible if you are wearing pants? What is going on with that? Sure, maybe the sweater-dress should be worn with leggings only, okay, I’ll accept that…but I’ve got a sizable ass, and they don’t make too many leggings that fit over it and leave absolutely no indentations that this fabric would cling to or bulge over. (It’s a perfectly good ass, it is one of my better physical features, I am quite happy with it—but there’s a reason Kevin uses “Baby Got Back” as my personalized ring-tone. The day I discovered the “urban” boot cut jeans was among the happiest of my life.)

So okay, maybe if I had decent leggings from, like, Lane Bryant or something, I could wear the sweater dress. Possibly. But the one shirt was a shirt and only a shirt, and either I was supposed to ruck it up into weird folds at the bottom (it had a slit side, so…unlikely?) or I was supposed to wear leggings and let my ass hang in the wind, which is not going to happen on my watch, or it was for skirts only, and only skirts with highly specific sorts of waistbands, which really kinda limits the utility of this article of clothing.

This happens all the time. I put on a very nice shirt, it fits elegantly, and then it goes bumptastic at the waist.  And many of these do fit very elegantly, which is wonderful, because so few things go over the boobs and do not turn into a tent or gee-when-is-the-due-date…except that they are too thin a fabric or somehow I am Doing This Wrong.

Am I supposed to have a zipper shaped groove along my pelvis that the zipper flap slots neatly into? Did I not get the memo? Are these items all meant to be worn with skirts only? What vital piece of information am I missing that makes this clothing WORK?

8 thoughts on “Am I just wearing clothes wrong?

  1. Tami says:

    As someone considering installing a “backing up” beep indicator, I wish to hear more about these “urban” boot cut jeans.

    I am intrigued by what you say and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Also, I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t think I’ve ever bought a sensible, wearable piece of clothing from any store that called itself a “boutique”.

    I think they cater to the sort of people for whom daffodil-yellow pleather boots are a perfectly acceptable purchase, so long as one has even a single daffodil-yellow shirt to wear with them.

    I’ve given up on “clothes that look nice, are comfortable, and sensible” and have lowered my expectations all the way down to “does it make me look like anything one might find in the circus? Clowns? Tents? Elephants? No? Awesome. I’ll take two.”

  2. omega7788 says:

    Ursula –

    It’s been my experience that many shirts like the ones you described are meant to be worth rather oversized. They’re supposed to be loose and a bit flowy, instead of tight and/or clingy. Try a size or two larger than you normally would pick and see if that helps. Boutique clothing tends to run small, anyway.

    Also, Lane Bryant has some really KILLER leggings (and jeggings–jean leggings) these days, and the prices range from really good ($13) to flinch-worthy ($45). If you order online (to get styles that your local store doesn’t have), you can have clothes delivered for free to your local Lane Bryant store so that you can try them on before you take them home. Also, pay attention to LB’s sizing charts on the website. Their clothes are not cut the way regular clothes of that size are, so you may not be your usual size.

  3. Taellosse says:

    I am male, and stunningly disinterested in the intricacies of women’s fashion, so take what I am about to say with a good-sized salt-lick.

    Perhaps these are the sorts of tops meant to go with non-jean pants, if not skirts? Jeans do tend to be lumpy around the pelvis, but other sorts of pants often are not. For women, they often lack pockets or belt loops at all (and also sometimes lack a zipper–after all, your gender doesn’t need quick access to that region in the same manner as men typically do), and so tend to be much smoother in their fit. Even when they do have these features, thinner fabrics can be tailored such that they hug the curves much more neatly than jeans generally can, even tight ones.

  4. Katebat says:

    It’s because the fashion industry is the only place in the world where men are truly in control, and they have no sense of womens REAL bodies. That is my story, and I am sticking to it… That’s the only real reason high heels are still fashionable…

  5. Starbrow says:

    I’m also male, but my wife has worked retail for many years. Here’s the thing: those women who work in those boutiques? Most of them are actually pretty nice, and they have a lot of the same problems with clothes you do. So, swallow a little pride, come out of the dressing room, and ASK one of them what you’re doing wrong. They’d be happy to help. Heck, they have sales goals to make, they want you to be happy and buying things.

  6. Korbl says:

    @Katebat “That’s the only real reason high heels are still fashionable…”

    You mean it’s not because of cultural semiotics, the extremely pleasing things they do to a woman’s legs, visually speaking, and the fact that women keep buying them?

    On Ursela’s troubles… I know nothing about women’s fashion… or men’s fashion, for that matter, so I’m probably no help, at least not without some kind of visual, but I do find this interesting, as I’ll have to learn the stuff eventually…

  7. Sara Klips says:

    There are a few tricks to that particular style. First one is to buy a size up because they’re not supposed to be skintight. If they are worn skintight they often have a definite Opacity Problem.
    Second: Having a good spaghetti strap to wear under the piece will smoothe those pesky lumps out, and one that is long enough to peek out color from beneath the top layer is quite chic.
    Third: If wearing it tight rocks all the good curves until it gets to your jeans, a shirt underneath should help there too. If you don’t want to do that, vests pair quite nicely with long things and should either eliminate those bumps or make them seem less awkward.

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