Do you know that feeling of being so incredibly bored with everything in your closet? I'm sure you do. Sometimes all it takes is one new trick to re-position your view on your wardrobe -- for me, that trick was a pair of pants that I wore for years, until sadly, a few weeks ago, they suffered a rip that was beyond repair. This is their story. It may seem dramatic to eulogize a pair of pants, but if you've ever had (and lost) a cherished blouse, or ring, or scarf or dress, I know you'll understand.
I saw the photograph on September 16, 2009. The Sartorialist had shot a photo of a hopelessly stylish woman outside of the Bryant Park tents during Fashion Week. She wore a zany vest, a heather grey t-shirt and the most perfect pants I'd ever laid my eyes on. I'd recently grown tired of jeans -- they felt boring, too casual, unflattering, and just, well, not "me." But these pants -- these army green high-waisted pants with pleats at the hip and perfect stove-pipe cropped ankles -- these were my idea of nirvana. Not too polished, not too casual, not black, not blue, these pants were a closet evergreen. I needed them. Now. I urgently emailed the link to a friend at Lucky magazine who I knew would be up to the task of tracking down the genuine article or reasonable facsimile. Excited by the challenge, my friend enlisted the help of her dear friend and then-creative director at Lucky, Andrea Linnett, who is an eBay aficionado and expert tracker-downer. Within hours, I had received a link to the exact style on eBay. They were a past season of Balenciaga, they were the right color and they were only $120. Sadly, they were two sizes too small. But, buoyed by the knowledge of their origin, I commenced a combing of eBay listings akin to a military special ops officer, finding similar styles, but never the right size. I browsed designer consignment shops in Soho and on the Upper West Side, chatting with owners and shopgirls about my mission. Nary a pair had crossed the threshold of any of the shops recently, but they all took my number and promised to call if any showed up. They never called.
Then, a few weeks later I popped into H&M in search of a workout tank top. Lo and behold, front and center, were a pair of military-style olive green pants that were nearly identical to the ones I'd been searching for. I can't quite remember, but I think I called my husband while clutching them close, telling him that I'd found the pants. There was only one pair in my size at this store, and after going downtown to scour the two shops on Broadway it appeared that I'd happened upon the only size eight pair of these pants in existence. It felt like a miracle, like a sign from God, that these pants were intended to be part of my life. I wore them out of the store, and they immediately found heavy rotation in my wardrobe. Basically, I wore them constantly -- they accompanied me on trips to Yellowstone National Park, where they looked rugged yet chic with Blundstone boots and an Hermes scarf; to Paris on a bachelorette trip before my wedding in 2010, where I paired them with bateau-striped tees à la Parisienne; to New Orleans, where they were dusted with plenty of powdered sugar at Café du Monde; on bike trips to the ball fields in Red Hook; and on my honeymoon, where I wore them strolling the Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona; and through the cobblestoned, medieval walkways of Carcassone. They were patched once, after ripping on the inside seam. Good as new, I wore them until they no longer buttoned under my six-month pregnant belly, and when my daughter was about eight weeks old I zipped them up and marveled at how they fit again, how I felt like me again after the whole ordeal. She's a year old now, and after endless playground trips and smears of yogurt and sweet potato and hundreds of washes, they're sadly ripped beyond repair. I don't know if I'll ever find another pair of pants that fit my life so perfectly, that fit me so well. On a recent (and, these days, rare) solo shopping trip in Manhattan, I peeked into the sleek Joe Fresh store on Fifth Avenue, where I was struck by the uniqueness of a pair of gold jeans that seemed to be the perfect neutral for a dreary winter day. I bought them without trying them on, and have been wearing them often, though I'm not sure they're the magic-bullet answer to the void in my closet. I guess the bright side of needing to replace something so dear is that it means the hunt begins again, to see if I can find a new pair of pants, not to replace that perfect pair, but to carry on in their honor. Suggestions welcome.
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