Saturday, March 3, 2012

Why I Gave Up Wearing the Pants--Literally!

I have given up wearing pants and I'm so glad I have! Almost four years ago I transitioned to wearing natural hair and cut off my relaxed ends. Even though I had nine months of new growth, I did not realize how much shrinkage I would get (about 80%!!!) so my hair ended up looking only about two inches long! That was way too short for me and I thought it made me look unfeminine. It also didn't help that my student wardrobe was mainly jeans, sweatshirts, and hoodies. So I decided I needed to make myself look more feminine to compensate for my hair.

I started by buying jewelry. I think large, colourful earrings look great with natural hair so I bought plenty of those. I also bought necklaces but I just never liked them enough to keep wearing them (maybe I haven't found the right style yet). I also decided my wardrobe needed an overhaul not only to look more feminine, but also because I had gained weight and my pants no longer fit! It wasn't that expensive either because I tend to do thrift shopping. I became frustrated because the pants I tried on did not fit me well. Many Black women have probably encountered the same problem trying to find pants for larger thighs and backsides along with a small waist. If the pants fit the thighs/backside then they are loose around the waist. Any pants that were in my waist size were too tight to pull over my thighs. So I decided to try on some skirts. At the time I had a few long flower skirts that I rarely wore but I still gave it a try. I ended up with pretty, elegant dresses and skirts that greatly improved my look and garnered many compliments! These are the benefits of wearing dresses/skirts:

  • It is easy to look feminine wearing a dress/skirt. Dresses and skirts come in feminine patterns (e.g., flowers, elaborate designs, lace etc.) and colours (e.g., pink, red, yellow, pastels) that are not seen often in pants. This means that as soon as you put them on you instantly look more feminine. Baggy pants aren't helpful but even a loose, flowing skirt can enhance your femininity. Furthermore, you will look more feminine because you will be wearing a traditional female garment. Dresses/skirts may also prompt you to walk and sit in a more feminine manner and this will make you appear well mannered and elegant. Women who want to look androgynous or masculine do not wear pretty dresses or skirts.
  • When you wear a dress/skirt you look more dressed up. Dresses and skirts are basically just tubes of fabric but somehow they make you look less casual. They are definitely more dressy than jeans. People will think that you care more about your presentation even though dresses and skirts are easier to put on than pants (no jumping around to fit into tight pairs or using hangers to pull up zippers!). Many women only wear skirts for special occasions so when you wear dresses/skirts it looks like you are dressing for something special. You will always stand out in highly feminine dresses/skirts when surrounded by other women wearing pants and casual styles. This will make you more attractive to men who prefer feminine women.
  • A dress/skirt can give you an hourglass figure. You can buy skirts that emphasize your curves if you have them, give you more curves if you don't have them, and minimize your curves if you have too many. When you wear a skirt (slightly above the knee or lower) no one can tell how large your thighs (I actually looked thinner than I did in pants especially because my lower legs are unusually thin). Skirts that are worn high on the waist (higher than any pants would be worn) can really emphasize the small waists of curvy or overweight women. Wearing things low on my waist makes me look boxy. Some pants are cut to actually look like men's pants and they make my hips look huge (especially when the pockets stick out).
  • Dresses/skirts can accommodate for weight fluctuations. Pants with elastic waist bands tend to look awful, but many skirts are made of stretchy spandex material or loose flowing material! If you gain weight the skirt still fits and hugs your body. If you lose weight is just looks like a looser skirt and you can add a belt. Pants that are too tight or loose do not flatter the body at all. So if you accidentally put on a few pounds over the holidays or if you are on a weight loss program you may not need to rush out and buy new pants. This will allow you to keep your favorite clothes and save money.
  • Dresses/skirts can actually be very comfortable. I think girls may avoid dresses because they are warned about getting them dirty and are not allowed to play in their "good clothes". But adult women do not worry about getting dirty or being able to run around, so these things are no longer a problem. Dresses/skirts can be made of comfortable stretchy material including cotton and jersey fabrics that breathe and stretch. On a hot day it is very uncomfortable being squeezed into tight pants. I was also pleasantly surprised that my legs didn't get very cold in dresses/skirts. I also wear them in the winter with tights and high boots. You can find comfortable dresses to wear at home too and you can wear flattering night gowns.
  • A great dress or skirt will always be beautiful and in style. Although designers come up with new fashions every season, a good skirt or dress will always be in style. A black skirt or summer dress will always be a great part of your wardrobe. Flower skirts have been in fashion for decades. The little black dress is a wardrobe staple. Certain styles like capris, harem pants, or certain jeans can go out of style quickly. 
I love skirts and dresses and they make me look fabulous!


  1. I made the switch to dresses and skirts only a few years ago. I love it and so does my husband! I receive a lot of compliments about my attire from men and other women too. So few women wear dresses these days, that wearing one definitely makes you stand apart from other women.

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

  2. Great article.

    I do not wear pants for religious reasons and it rocks! I only do ankle length though but I have worn slightly shorter ones with leggins.

    Thanks for the article!


  3. I, too, gave up wearing pants years ago. I love wearing cute skirts and dresses and it definitely makes me stand out. Only wearing skirts and dresses allowed me to develop a personal style that is unique, feminine, and memorable. People notice . . .

  4. Thank you so much for this! I'm trying to build up my courage to do this and this is definitely a post I'll save and look back on.

  5. Omg, YES! I love wearing dresses!

    When I lived in San Diego, I wore dresses and skirts because I was ALWAYS in a rush and it was so quick and easy to put together a flawless outfit! And they're so darn comfortable!

    Now, I'm in foggy San Francisco and I'm back to wearing jeans again :(

    How do you keep wearing dresses and skirts in cold weather?!?!

  6. Thank you all for your great comments :) Women, especially single women, need to stand out in a good way if they want to be noticed and appreciated. Even for women who are married/partnered, it wouldn't hurt if you looked better than the women around you and dressing up definitely does that.

    Hi KK,

    I wear dresses in the winter by pairing them with cardigans, blazers, or boleros, and scarves. I keep my legs warm by wearing only the longer skirts/dresses, thick tights or leggings, and knee-high boots. I also wear a long coat that extends below the knees. There are even sweater dresses that are very warm for the winter. It can be done :)

  7. Well, they don't make pretty dresses for apple-shaped women... You have to be hour-glass, pear-shaped at best. Until I can afford $30,000 for plastic surgery, I will continue to wear career separates that consist of affordable slacks from JC Penney and a nice blouse and sweater, probably from JC Penney, Lane Bryant, Belk, or Macy's. Because the only time I can get into a skirt is if it's A-line... and with the slim fitting jackets that cinch below the bustline, what's the point! I'll just continue to wear my two-piece Kasper and Evan Picone suits until it gets too hot - which, in the Southeast, is 7 months out of the year. And I don't feel any less feminine because of it... And could care less if anyone else thinks I am.

  8. I keep my legs warm by wearing pantyhose. I don't have a problem wearing skirts/dresses during Winter.