Most of you know that I recently changed jobs and now I'm working third shift. While working at night and sleeping during the day is a big change for me, it's not even remotely the most annoying thing about this job change.
The company I work for has very specific uniform requirements, one of which is that we all must wear black twill pants. BLACK. TWILL. PANTS.
I'm not saying that black pants are the easiest piece of clothing to own, but I have a pair of wool, a pair of twill, two pairs of jeans, and a pair of twill Capri's. I love black pants. Bonus, in the last year I've sung the praises of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and Capri's...how they fit, how a 16 is a 16 is a 16 and how I can walk in to Kohl's, pick up a pair of Gloria bottoms and walk out without the humiliating trip to the trying on room.
So last weekend, in preparation for the new job, Hubby and I took his Kohl's card (I don't dare have one) for a workout. I needed black pants and black shoes and black socks. I knew, deep in my heart, that the black pants would be the easiest of the three things to find because, yes, Gloria Vanderbilt makes a BLACK. TWILL. PANT.
More exciting, the pants were 1) built with an elastic waistband that would "stretch with ease" according to the label and 2) were on sale.
I tried a pair on and it seemed okay...a bit snug at the wait, but I figured, since the rest of the pant fit me like EVERY OTHER PAIR OF GLORIA VANDERBILT bottoms I've EVER put on, that the waist was something that was going to stretch with a bit of wear.
My first night of work, I didn't have the required uniform shirt, so the new boss told me to get a white polo shirt.
Okay, as a side note: The white polo shirt is THE WORST SHIRT EVER for a fluffy girl to wear. Don't get me wrong, I'm preppy to the core and I love a collared shirt. But there is something about polo shirts that is just really, really wrong on a bigger girl. Women's polo shirts are cut like maternity tops, (SHORT maternity tops)and men's are about a mile long. I loathe having my gut visible, so I chose the men's shirt.
Got to work...no problem...until about 5:00 in the morning when the morning kitchen person came in. I introduced myself and, instead of saying something normal like "hi...how are you. Welcome...did you like your first night" this delightful miss glowered at me and said, "You know you're supposed to have that tucked in."
By the end of the shift, it was really, really clear that no WAY was I tucking anything into those pants. The "stretches with ease" waistband was so rough on the inside I was actually rubbed a little raw. And clearly, there was not enough room for ME in those pants much less a shirt.
Let me just say again...these pants fit me in every other way perfectly. just not in the waist.
So, the morning after my first night of work, instead of going to bed like a normal person, I went out on what was to become a major QUEST for Black Twill Pants. Peaches was very excited to go to the Mall on a Wednesday morning (She finished 8th grade last week.) so we went up to the mall where I had no less than four choices of stores that claimed to offer clothing to fluffy women.
The first store, my go to store for pants, CJ Banks, didn't even have PANTS. I walked in, explained to the equally fluffy clerk what I needed and she made a face and said, "You want full length pants? Ummmmmm, I don't think we have those right now."
Okay, it's June. It's not Miami.
She did manage to find a half rack of nicely priced clearance pants....but of course my size was not to be found. For grins, I tried on the 16 tall, which was as close as they got to my size. Sure enough...everything fit...EXCEPT THE WAIST.
When I say everything fit, I mean everything was super comfortable and actually a little loose...except the waist band. Imagine your favorite pair of sweat pants...not imagine someone cut off about 4 inches of the waistband and then band the band material of barbed wire. You get the picture.
Not defeated, I thanked her and went to JC Penney's. I've shopped there infrequently over the years, but my aunt swears by them, and I know they have a plus size department.
If that's what you could call the four racks of clearance sweaters and a shelf of black Capri jeans.
Misses at JC Penney's takes up an entire floor. Plus is four racks and a table. In a country where 52% of all woman ages 18-49 has said they've purchased plus sized clothing, (I got this number from Reader's Digest Magazine.) why are big retailers IGNORING THE MAJORITY OF WOMEN? I mean, I expect that of Walmart and Target. I haven't purchased clothing at those stores in years. Walmart makes an attempt, but Target is just insulting. Sort of like Penney's, only Target slaps their four racks of plus next to the maternity clothes. That's just mean.
My next stop, and at this point I'm a little steamed, was to Lane Bryant. Now Lane Bryant is a store where I would shop in a heartbeat...if I had serious money. I like their clothes, but their prices are ridiculous for the normal woman. Apparently only the wealthy are allowed to be fluffy. How very Rubens of them.
I found a pair of black twill pants, and I know they would have fit me. However, I WAS NOT prepared to spend...get ready...$65 on a pair of pants I was going to be wearing to clean bathrooms, and frost donuts.
Furious, I walked the length of the mall to Sears. At this point I had zero hope. And I wasn't disappointed. I actually had to ask a woman where the plus department was...since Sears does such a good job of hiding their...count it with me, one, two, THREE racks of plus behind swimsuits and shoes. Really? Oh, but the woman I asked attempted to lure me into buying new windows.
|More valuable than gold, harder to find than plutonium...the comfortable black pant.|
I didn't even bother looking. Apparently Sears' idea of a plus sized woman is an 80 year old tramp who likes her pants slinky and her tops ripped.
In complete desperation, I went back to Kohl's, the scene of the original crime. Since I had $30 in Kohl's cash (from my previous purchase of two uncomfortable pairs of pants and a white shirt I'll never where again) I went back to the Department of Redundancy that is the plus department there (every designer for Kohl's believes a plus woman loves tank tops (we don't) and will only wear pull on pants( while comfortable, we think of these pants and the final stage of giving up.)
I picked up a pair of the offending Gloria pants and held them up to every other style of Gloria pants. Yep, just as I thought. The "Waistband that expands with ease" was a full TWO INCHES shorter than the waist bands on her jeans and her Capri's. And not just shorter...tighter material. SHAME ON YOU GLORIA VANDERBILT.
After almost an hour of searching...and cussing...I managed to find a pair of pull on pants (blech) and a pair of Lee pants that seemed decent. The pull on pants were comfortable and on clearance. The Lees were very comfortable and NOT on clearance. But, the Lees were NOT pull on pants and therefore the winner.
Two hours. Five stores. $12 later (after the Kohl's cash) I had pants...and a shorter white shirt. Tucked in and belted I sort of look like a soft sack of potatoes with a belt in the middle. Lovely.
I wore the outfit for work last night and fortunately I got to wear an apron. I was comfortable, so I guess that's what matters. I plan on returning both pairs of Gloria pants (Kohl's is VERY liberal in their return policy, so beware...you might get pants I wore for a couple hours. Another reason why washing clothes you buy is a MUST) and exchanging them for Lees. Who knows, I'll probably, after this experience, flip over to Lee jeans as well. Good Job Gloria, you just lost a customer for life.
And I buy a lot of pants!