A friend of a friend who relocated to London just a few months ago has been an invaluable resource for me these past few weeks, patiently helping me to answer such all-important questions as "will I be able to get my kids into a decent school," "are there items I won't be able to find in London which I should bring with me" and "am I an idiot if I think that I will be able to find room in a London flat for the entire train set, the huge dollhouse AND the oversized plastic kitchen?" (Yes, pack as many ziplock bags and Pullups as you can find, and ixnay on the itchenkay, in case anyone else has the same burning questions.)
She happened to mention in passing this week that the fashion scene is somewhat different in London than in suburban New Jersey and she's found that she's not necessarily wearing a lot of the clothes she brought with her. Given the price of apparel in the UK, I asked her to elaborate a bit. If my wardrobe needs some spiffing up, I figured, I might as well do it here before I go and save a few pounds. Her helpfully detailed answer stopped me cold. "Not a fashion maven," she wrote, "but here's what I've noticed... boot cut totally out, skinny pants."
There was some other ridiculous information about everything being dressier and women wearing heels to the playground, but I really couldn't get past that first sentence. I was blinded by the skinny pants.
When I first heard about the resurgence of skinny pants
I kind of laughed it off. My group of friends tends toward the casual and the classic, and we're not quick to jump on trend bandwagons. I figured I had a year or two before skinny pants made it to our neck of the woods, and I knew that even if I decided to pass on the look altogether, my social standing was not likely to suffer as a result.
But now here I am moving to a major metropolitan city. I'm already going to stand out as the crazy foreign lady with the crude American accent. Do I want to further increase my chances of complete social ostracization by wearing unfashionable clothing?
And so yesterday found me in a Gap dressing room, staring at my skinny-panted reflection in the mirror and muttering under my breath. I'm too old for this,
I told myself. No one who wore a trend the first time it was popular should be caught dead in the same look 20 years later.
At 5'2", the whole long and lean thing was lost completely on me and my bottom half simply resembled a short blue triangle. I have absolutely no hips to speak of and I was wearing a size 4. And yet somehow, I looked hippy and fat in those skinny jeans. It was awfully hard for me to believe that I was ever going to want to put those things on my body.
I stood in the store for what felt like an eternity, staring at those ugly pants and thinking about the value of fitting in. And then I bought them. Those skinny jeans, with the tags still attached and the receipt tucked into the pocket, are now a symbol of my hopes for this move. It is my fervent dream that I will find a group of women who proudly wear boot cut pants to befriend in London. The day that I am able to mail my new skinny pants and the receipt home to chichimama
so that she can return them for me would be a victorious one, a sign that I have made it in London without compromising myself. But if that doesn't happen, at least I'm prepared. I will be a hippy, triangular Londoner if that's what it takes to blend into my new environment. But goddamnit, I'm not wearing heels to the playground. Ever.