Why are all of the clothes jammies now?!?!

It’s that time of year, y’all: The Holidays. I love the last quarter of the year… exhaustively. I don’t even know that it’s accurate to limit my affection to the holidays. I just love fall and winter, as a whole. When everyone else is overwhelmed or depressed because Christmas is over, I’ve still got neutral winter decorations up and a list of non-Christmas seasonal movies from Frozen to The Thing to The Shining to Little Women. When an ice storm inevitably blows through, I’ll sit cozily inside drinking hot chocolate, secure in the knowledge that the generator will keep me that way. Now that life is returning to normal after the utter trauma that was 2020 and I don’t have to spend this time of year isolated and wondering if I’ll ever be a mom, I am even more enthusiastic. In fact, I scheduled our Christmas card photoshoot in September and am thrilled to send out the most basic middle class white people card ever! Oh, the things that excite infertility survivors. Now, to dress my family…

Still donning my postpartum twin mama body, I’m not thrilled with the way I look in any of my old dresses. I’ve been searching for something in my style that’s a bit more forgiving in the mid-section, while simultaneously trying to find clothes for Jake and the girls that coordinate. While my girls look cute in literally everything, I can’t seem to feel that way about my own body, so I’ve purchased a good half dozen items from Amazon in the hopes that at least one of them won’t make me cry.

Oh, to see myself through the same lens as my precious Violet, who literally looks exactly like me. Ideally, I could go to one of my favorite mid-range/budget stores and try things on in person, but I’ve tried, y’all, and I’ve come to a simple conclusion: all clothes are jammies now!

I’ve never been one to require sharp lines and stiff collars to look put together. I barely style my hair. My iron is strictly used for crafting. In the full year I spent trying to wear heels, I looked like a newborn giraffe learning to walk every single time. I’m also aware that our standards for dress changed during the height of the pandemic. I’ve mentioned how I, myself, forgot how to apply makeup after spending the year 2020 in athletic shorts, tank tops, and a founding father’s ponytail. As we approach our “new normal,” though…

– raise your hand if you’re weary of that phrase –

… it would be nice if we could bridge the gap between Life As We Knew It and The End Times. Covid-19 is here to stay and even if I’m alone in my line of thinking, I’m ready to resume dressing like a member of civilized society, instead of an Olsen Twin pajama party guest. I don’t feel like I’m setting the bar too incredibly high in my flats and simple dresses, either. I wear a lot of comfy cardigans, y’all. However, literally every store I’ve visited, from Target and Ross to Old Navy and Kohl’s has exclusively dealt in jammy-jams.

Throughout my adulthood, there has consistently been one or two trends targeting comfort over style, like maxi dresses and jeggings. I concede that these have their place, but it’s not just comfy pants and oversized crop tops anymore. Even the dresses are made of sweatpants material and old nightgowns.

Target

Old Navy

Kohl’s

It’s not just the baggy cuts, either. It’s the fabrics and the prints. I recognize a matronly nightgown when I see it, folks. I wore a lot of them to sleepovers in high school… because I was cool. Call it a maxi dress all you want, but whereas the same print might look feminine and cheery on a sundress, when you use classic florals without clean lines, it’s a nightgown.

It seems that pandemic trends have bled into the worst of 90s fashion, too. Instead of bringing back the tailored styles of blazers and pleated skirts, à la Cher Horowitz and Ashley Banks, or the bright youthful colors of Romy and Michelle, we’ve brought back the grunge of the cast of Clerks. Is there a way to wear earth-toned stripes and not look like you just rolled out of bed and smoked a bowl? Sure! It’s not with baggy drawstring-waisted cargo pants, though. Can lots of denim work? I frequently visit cowboy country, so I’m gonna say yes. Is there a time and a place for camouflage? Of course! It’s in a deer stand. Is there a way to wear tie-dye without looking like a 90’s mom at a theme park? I just Googled it and I’m going to have to say no. If that’s your thing, though, go for it, but perhaps choose a tie-dyed shirt, some fitted jeans, and brightly colored Converse, instead of a dress made of old sweats.

There’s a reason the models above are all hot, y’all. It’s because when normal people dress like the mannequins at Target and Old Navy and Kohl’s in 2021, they look like they’re about to take a nap, go work in the yard, or sell you a dime bag. The exact same prints and fabrics look just fine when they’re not so shapeless or paired with something equally baggy and ratty.

Look! I even found something flattering in tie-dye and there is a way to wear plaid without looking like Jay and Silent Bob. I’m afraid you’re on your own for camouflage.

I have never been one for fashion. Keeping up with trends is not only expensive, but as you can tell, I rarely find them to my taste. My wardrobe could be called a “capsule wardrobe,” not because of the modern minimalist movement, but because I’m cheap and grew up in a hoarder’s household, so I like to throw things away. I buy basic styles that I appreciate and find flattering, regardless of what’s in style, and anyone who doesn’t like it can go kick rocks. If I follow only one rule of fashion, it’s that loose on top requires fitted on bottom and vice versa. Modern trends, however, seem to have thrown this classic concept out the window to the point that we may as well all be wearing Snuggies on our nights out. I can’t find simple, flattering pieces anymore. You’d think that, even during this time of athleisure and 90s grunge, I’d be able to find some soft A-line t-shirt dresses or cute cotton fit-and-flares, but no! My only options are the costumes from She’s All That, before she gets hot.

I suppose, if I don’t want to look like an extra from Mall Rats, I have no choice but to buy the same three dresses in every color on Amazon until I like my body enough to wear all of the cute clothes I bought before we all collectively decided to let ourselves go. With as low as I rank fashion in my priorities, of all the reasons I am so ready for this pandemic to end, I never thought it would be one of them or that I’d scorn pajamas to this extent.

“I’m sorry I offended you. Could you tell me about this rubber butt?”

On Labor Day of 2012, Gail and I had breakfast and went mattress shopping. That, however, was not enough to make us look like lovers, so we stopped into our local sex store (or “novelty store” as the Midwest insists it be called), just for fun. Now, I don’t say “just for fun”, because I’m blushing. I say it, because the one we went to is super trashy, even for what it is. We both much prefer the other one nearby if we’re actually buying anything. This one was strictly giggle-worthy.

Fortunately, we were able to make our jokes and comments without worrying about offending other patrons, as the store was deserted. We laughed over the poorly airbrushed photos: “Where is the rest of her leg?!?!” We recounted the time Gail declared that you’d have to be hit pretty hard with a paddle to brand the word “BITCH” into your skin… just before slapping her arm with it to prove her point and realizing that she was, indeed, getting a “BITCH”-shaped welt. We make these trips a few times a year and this was a pretty standard one. Until…

Me: “‘… and then he touched me down there.’ Seriously. That would make for a great children’s audio book. Read by children for children.”
Gail: grimacing and laughing “Ugh.”
Shopwench: “He didn’t call it that.”
Me: “What?” I was confused since neither of us was talking to her.
Shopwench: “He never called it ‘down there.'”
Me and Gail: in unison “Uh… yeah he did.”
Me: “Like all the time.”
Shopwench: “No. He didn’t. He called it her ‘sex’, but he never called it ‘down there.’ I’ve read all three books.” She said proudly.
Me: “Um… yeah. So have I. He calls it that several times. I know, because we make fun of it all the time.” What can I say? I felt like taunting her.
Shopwench: “Well, no, he doesn’t, but that book has been amazing. That book has saved so many marriages. I’ve had women come in here in tears, because that book has done so much for them.”
Me: “Um… okay. I read it. I liked it well enough to get through it. I preferred Bared to You…”
Shopwench: cuts me off  “Yeah. I’ve read it. Fifty Shades was better. I could’ve done without the three kids and shit, but it was a great book.”
Me: waving a white flag “Um… yeah. I didn’t really care for the two kids at the end. I thought that was unnecessary.”
Shopwench: “No. That book has done so much good. You have no idea.” Yeah… I was just agreeing with your last statement.

Okay, lady, first of all, you are getting awfully offended for someone who is presently standing in front of a vibrating rubber butt. Secondly, it’s just a book. The only reason for you to take this much offense to some light criticism of it, that wasn’t even directed toward you,is if you fucking wrote it. Third, we are your customers. We didn’t ask for your damned opinion and keeping that to yourself is sort of your job title, when you’re selling Fleshlights. I said nothing critical about people who were into bondage, shoving marbles into their lady parts, getting sexy hit, or reading erotic novels. I quoted a poorly written one that I’d obviously read, myself. That’s it. If anyone on this planet is in a field that requires a sense of humor, it’s the gal selling remote control vibrating panties. For all you know, I could’ve bought out your entire stock of wooden and suction cupped dildos, had I received pleasant customer service.

Most importantly, “saved so many marriages”?!?!?! HOW? I mean, sure, it’s nice that these women are realizing it’s okay to be strung up like a super sexy deer, if that’s what gets them going; but if your marriage is truly in jeopardy, it’s not because of a lackluster sex life.

sexy deer
If you’re not impressed by my image search results, you’re wrong.

Marriage takes trust, committment and not stealing hundred dollar bills out of my wallet. Cough: I have issues: Cough. Some satin scarves on the bedpost might spice things up, but they haven’t saved shit. Furthermore, you’ve had women come in “in tears” over Fifty Shades of Grey? Were they sporting black eyes? Did you call the police?!?!?! Gail went to the YWCA charity ball supporting battered women and told me that every story of abuse she heard, from men letting the air out of a woman’s tires so she couldn’t leave, to monitoring their cell phones, reminded her of “that awful book you made me read.” So, while most women are adults and can put that alpha male shit into perspective and realize it’s only sexy in a fantasy, if one were bawling and mumbling about Fifty Shades, I’d be inclined to suggest a nice shelter.

We left the store shortly after this encounter with Gail calling me “honey”, because she thought it would be funny, and I bought my next vibrator elsewhere. In the meantime, this has become a marvelous inside joke that can’t be explained to anyone who asks.

screenshot Im sorry I offended you