My goal this fall is to stop wearing “yoga pants” (shameless euphemism for pajamas pants) to the grocery store.  Or to Target.  Or to the Post Office.  Or–dare I admit it?–to the mall.

My goal this fall is to start dressing like the forty-year old woman I am instead of the twenty-five-year old girl I think I am.  My goal this fall is to put a little more effort into my appearance even when no one else is looking–which is a good idea since these days, no one else is ever looking.  (Actually, No One Else hasn’t been looking since 1995.)  My goal this fall is to stop using “but I’m only cleaning my house today” as an excuse to look like a train wreck every day.

True, I live a small life in a small town wherein the range of my travel starts at Walmart, loops around Costco and The Pita Pit, then ends at the public library, but this is no excuse to look like a bag lady every time I step out of my “car” (shameless euphemism for minivan.)  True, these errands are often done at the last minute on “cleaning day,” (which has somehow become every day), and so to pause for fussy personal grooming habits, like getting dressed, feels like a waste of precious vacuum and mop time.  True, most of my housework and errands are more easily done in cushy running shoes and an elastic waistband.  But for my fortieth fall, I have decided that the years in which personal comfort can coexist with looking half-decent are long, long gone.

I could pull off the yoga (pajama) pants and makeupless face in my twenties because, well, I was gorgeous back then.  (Dare to disagree with me.  Dare!)  And my early thirties brought with them the

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Young Motherhood phase, during which all expectations of attractiveness are rightly ignored by both Young Mother and Sympathetic Passerby.  But creeping into my late-thirties, I felt the winds change.  I would run into cute young moms bearing yoga (pajama) pants and makeupless faces and assume that, in my own yoga (pajama) pants and makeupless face, I was one of them–until I looked down and noticed I was the only one without a toddler hanging on my leg.  Oh yeah, I’d remember suddenly.  My kids can open their own fruit snacks and wipe their own bums.  And yet there I stood, doggedly loyal to my cotton-lycra blend.  While the physical toll of Young Motherhood had left its scars deeply imprinted on my body, there was no excuse for the scars it had left on my wardrobe.  After ten frazzled years, I was finally getting eight hours of  sleep a night and leaving the house without two days of advanced planning. Why was I still wearing yoga (pajama) pants?


Well, I’ll tell you why:  because they’re comfy.  And easy.  And lazy.  And they stretch.  The longer I go without washing my y/p pants, the skinnier I get.  But the longer I wear my y/p pants around town, the lazier I get–and that’s a problem.  As the weeks slide into months slide into years, I’m finding it’s harder and harder to squeeze into those freshly washed Buckle jeans, even when a gala event calls for it.  I remember back in the 80’s, before the arrival of yoga (pajama) pants, jeans were thought to be the most comfortable, casual pant of a woman’s wardrobe.  Ha!  Little did we know that a magic garment would soon arrive (in a magic store called Target) that would make blue jeans feel like armor; that wearing this garment would make walking around feel as good as lying in bed, only with the fitted and top sheet sewn loosely down the side of each leg.  Once we ’90s gals discovered yoga (pajama) pants–not to mention their ugly stepchild, the Cutoff Sweats–there was no going back to stiff and scratchy old denim.  Fifteen years later, I still can’t let go.  Jeans for cleaning?  Too restrictive.  Jeans for the grocery store?  Way too dressy.  Jeans for a Sunday afternoon, sitting by the fire?  As if.  (Have you ever sat by the fire in denim for more than five minutes?  Talk about hot pants!)  And so, rather than stuffing myself into jeans, I’ve been jiggling myself into yoga (pajama) pants for the last decade and a half.  And it’s time to stop.

So if you should see me about town, getting gas or groceries or better yet, a pedicure, and I look a little red in the face, don’t mistake it as embarrassment for forgetting your name (which is likely, considering my newly advanced age.)  Rest assured that I am simply adjusting to the confinement of Real, Fancy Jeans.  It’s been a long time since these thighs have made a swishing sound when rubbing together as I walk, but I guess that’s the price of high fashion.  And don’t you worry about my beloved yoga (pajama) pants getting their feelings hurt; they’ll remain folded quietly on a back shelf of the closet, waiting patiently for the next Cleaning Day to come ’round.  But I am determined that those pants will never again see the light of day outside my house.  Unless, of course, I have to wipe up a spill in the fridge on my way out the door.  (I wouldn’t want to get anything on my jeans.)  Or vacuum my car on the way to the mall (you can’t manage that kind of hard labor in denim.)  And who doesn’t need some breathing room when meeting friends for dinner?  (It’s geeky to overdress.)

Hmm.  Perhaps it’s time to look into the Pajama Jeans I saw on tv the other day.  Talk about a fusion of fashion and freedom.  But that’s a whole ‘nother post.