By Marcie Everhart
I bought these pants at H&M yesterday, and I can’t wait to style them several ways. They are so boxy, high-waisted, wide-legged and short in the ankle — all the things that have been solid NO’s for me in the past. But, when I tried them on, I felt like Katharine flippin’ Hepburn. That feeling of power doesn’t happen often. Who wears the pants?!! Me and Kate!!
The young guy behind the register raised an eyebrow and asked if I actually tried these on. Whah?? Lol. I assured him, yes. Then he said “I just don’t want you to be mad at me when you get home.” Then he asked what shoe I planned for this. 😄 He knew these pants were going to put the pop on the shoe, even be “saved” by the right shoe. I loved this young man — I should have gotten his name to share with you. He was NOT holding back. I described my new silver, mirror-like, healed Mary Janes with a strap, and his eyes grew wider. “That’ll work.” But, I added that my black-and-white Nikes looked pretty boss too, back in the dressing room. He squinted at me. Then he said “with a chunky, black turtleneck with a tiny front tuck?” I said “Of course.”
I get SO excited interacting with people who actually like their jobs. It’s a powerful experience. This young man wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing with these Boss Lady pants!
So, I’m headed out of the mall (one just beginning its inevitable decline), and spot an intriguing, confusing store I’ve never seen before, apparently selling “African” clothing, stick incense, and about a hundred different Bob Marley tees. But… Bob Marley is Jamaican, mon, not African… no matter! I mistakenly self-identify as African too — we’re all descendants from Lucy, or so I’ve heard.
More importantly: They might have pants like THIS AD that has been stuck in my brain forever.
This may not click with younger gals, but while they grew up with models that looked like heroin addicts or lost waifs, we had fashion/role models like Lauren Hutton wrestling lions in Africa in the 80s. We were actually adventure girls in our dreams, strong and determined Indiana Janes! Look, the safari thing will never NOT resonate with me. I know the pants in this glorified head shop won’t be a fine gold mesh, but maybe the unusual, slouchy-cool, drop crotch… I have to try something like this on, and the more colorful, the better to wear with a ripped khaki shirt, lol.
Needless to say, BINGO. I imagined with a navy sweater and big, humungous boots — how adventuresome. Or just a ribbed henley and Birks. African chic!
I don’t want to get into the socio-politics of a store offering slouchy pants made in China and literally hundreds of other items glorifying the ganjha as “the” culture of “Africa”… the few Native Africans I know would be offended even. It’s odd and misinformed, but ultimately, who cares. Maybe the next iteration will BE better, tying in more real art and craft, respecting the regional differences of a vast continent — imagine the headpieces, footwear, jewelry… the torqs, turbans, sandals, scarves. I know of young African designers with local ties. Maybe we can create a coalition to get things shown that have been created by many young international designers in a traditional, American mall space?
Beauty is everywhere, in baby steps AND big strides. Let’s just put on our Big Girl Pants and move forward.
The Real-Real Behind the Scenes
A Little Background Music
Shopping Links For Kate Pants
Shopping Links for African Pants
*Photos of Marcie in Plaid Pants by Darrin Presley
*Photos of Marcie in Drop Crotch Pants by Dale Amlee