October 20th, 2013

Captain Haddock


Where does one buy a good pair of well-fitting, durable, good corduroys which both men and women can wear?

I am serious. Where do these magical unisex corduroy pants exist, and how can we get some?

I'll go back a bit. Sonya and I like wearing corduroy. Who doesn't? Corduroy pants are comfortable; they're pleasing, they come in reassuring dark colors, and they make great sounds when you drag a comb across 'em. I am envious of Sonya's dark green corduroy jacket. It is a lovely jacket which she wears very well and doesn't fit me so I don't ask to wear it. I can't quite say Sonya is envious in return of my corduroy pants, but damned if we haven't discovered another one of those lousy gender disparity things that this country so loves. While shopping for goddamn pants, of all things.

The thing is that I'm a dude, right. And I can walk into a store such as, say, Sears, or LL Bean, or Eddie Bauer (though, honestly, I'd rather walk a mile somewhere else rather than step into Eddie Bauer) and say "HELLO I AM A DUDE WHERE ARE THE PANTS." And off I go to the section with corduroy pants for dudes, and they're in reassuring dark colors, and as long as I accurately remember my waist size this month I'm gonna be fine with whatever I pick out and if not, I either keep the receipt or I use a belt.[1]

But apparently clothing options aren't the same for ladies as they are for dudes. HOLY CRAP WHAT A TOTAL REVELATION WHO KNEW?[2] But when Sonya and I embarked on CORDUROY QUEST 2013 a few weeks back, we ended up on a sartorial adventure which ended with me down a hunnerd bucks and Sonya fuming at the entire fashion industry.

The nice places like LL Bean and Land's End what make nice corduroy pants for men also make corduroy pants for women. That is nice. What is not nice, however, is that LL Bean and Land's End make corduroy pants only for women who like to look all feminine and such. This is why their pants for ladies are offered with capri-style cuffs which look absolutely hideous but promise to give you "slim ankles", and with a little spandex in the waist so it'll stretch and not make the ladies look all fat and ugly and a bad baby birthin' prospect or whatever fear is currently being spread by advertising.

This is not to say that looking all feminine and such is bad. I know many people who look all feminine and such and do a very good job of it; I have never once heard any of them complain about fat ankles in corduroy pants. So, um, there's that.

Again, to contrast: Dude Corduroy Pants: Simple cut, 100% cotton, nice colors. Ladies' Corduroy Pants: Not-simple cuts, always with Spandex added to "give it a touch of stretch", and in colors that range from Golf Course Midway Green to something which could best be described as Unfortunate Baby Spoor. (I believe Land's End calls it "curry". Okay, then: Unfortunate Baby Curry.)

Sonya, however, does not dress overly femme, nor is she given to wearing clothing which looks as if an entire maternity ward has been sick on it. She has a three-piece men's tweed suit in which she looks terrific, but that suit was made long, long ago. Her favorite corduroy pants, made by LL Bean back when they actually had the notion that not all women want to dress alike, are not long for this world. She would like to buy corduroy pants which do not have Spandex, which will not give her slim ankles, and which will come in the darker, muted colors which we both like. But for all we've looked, we can't find anything.

She cannot wear much of the corduroy for dudes, though, because while that would make things much, much easier, it appears to be a simple fact of anatomy that dudes and ladies have differently-shaped hips and the pants cut for dudes are now specifically cut for dude hips. Sonya and I share a lot but we apparently don't share the same size hips, so my dude pants are a no-go. (They're also a few sizes too large, but THAT'S WHAT BELTS ARE FOR)

So what is there to do? Where can one go to buy corduroy pants for women who don't want femme pants? Simple cut, good fit, 100% cotton, and made of good, sturdy corduroy material? (The other thing we noticed while looking through catalogs and stores was that pants for ladies are made much less sturdier than pants for dudes. Because apparently dudes are so manly and rugged they'll wear their corduroy down bare before you know it, doing such manly and rugged things as walking in pants or sitting down at a computer.)

This is an important question and, if a solution is found, will put our minds to ease once we know there's at least one corduroy pants-maker out there who is cool with the idea of ladies who don't want to look like Laura Petrie. I mean, not that Laura Petrie wasn't hot, but I am not in love with Laura Petrie; I am in love with a woman who wants to wear simple corduroy pants.

I've never been much concerned with clothing as long as A. it fits, B. it covers up parts that'd get me arrested in public, and C. it's clean; now I know why. This is stoopid, Barney. This is really, really stoopid.

1. Forethought? Ha! Changing rooms are only to be used in the most dire of circumstances. I can't even begin to explain the neuroses behind this one because I really don't know what they are, only that I break out in a cold sweat when contemplating trying on multiple articles of clothing in a changing room.

2. I will be honest; I have not given much thought to ladies' clothing beyond that which I have had to wear for theatrical pursuits and whatnot. I know how to buy pantyhose that works for baseball mascot costumes (did I ever tell the tale of the Hatfield Hen in this here journal?) and I know that playing a nun so doesn't involve shopping for women's clothes because all you need is a big wimple and a form-hiding robe.