Eileen Fisher harem pants | on sale in XL at Macy’s, plus-size at Nordstrom
James Perse slub t-shirt | mine is size 2
Kristen Elspeth necklace | I got mine via ARO (use code GC15 for 15% off)
Charlotte Stone sandals | sold out
Everlane Petra tote | purchased with credits from Everlane
Here I am again catching up with another outfit I wore last week but didn’t post (only on Instagram). I wore this out to “the mall” with a friend last week and got several really nice compliments on my pants.
They’re so polarizing aren’t they, harem pants? And they’re certainly not for everyone, as we’ve discussed here and elsewhere many times. Some people really hate them and say very nasty things about the women who choose to wear them. Others just don’t understand them. And still others really really love them. Anyway, it doesn’t matter our opinion on clothing styles, I think – we must simply appreciate how each of us chooses to express herself and move on. How is it worth spending any time at all on thinking about what others are wearing? Isn’t it hard enough to worry about we ourselves wear??
I’ll admit, I’m not always the best at appreciating sartorial differentiation, although I’m really really trying. I still can’t abide leggings as pants (without a long top over), and high-wedge flip flops (bonus if they’re bedazzled) give me a conniption fit. French pedicures with high-wedge flip flops? kill me now. I joke, sort of. Those things are certainly not my style, but who am I to judge a woman’s choice of footwear? or pedicure? or anything else?
How’s that saying? “let she who is not wearing harem pants cast the first stone”?
Anyway, this is all just to say wear whatever the hell you want. I’m also trying to get better at this, and not apologizing for it. Maybe sometimes I DO want to send a message with my choice of clothing. Maybe I AM trying to be “different” by wearing harem pants or a huge oversized caftan as a dress. Maybe I AM trying to get attention. Maybe I like it. Maybe also, I just really really like the harem pants and find them incredibly comfortable. And I happen to think they look cool. Maybe they were all that’s clean?
Who knows. Who cares? None of it matters anyway if we’re not carrying ourselves with confidence; with our shoulders back and our heads up. But then the question is, do our clothes give us power? or the other way around? Or is it more synergistic than that?
I don’t know the answer. I think sometimes I let my clothes carry my confidence for the day – I wear what I know I look amazing in even if I don’t feel amazing, and it gives me a boost. Other times, I may feel confident and wear something that isn’t totally “me,” and feel deflated, like I can’t wait to get home and change. And still again, I choose something “controversial” like harem pants BECAUSE I’m feeling powerful and want to stand apart, and because the outfit is SO ME, it gives me more power, creating an aura in which everything is a-ok.
That’s how I felt last week when I wore these pants. I’ve noticed the last couple of weeks I’m settling into my style a bit more. It’s dark, non-traditional, and very very simple. And it feels so right.
This might sound like a ridiculous comparison to why you choose to wear something a bit different, but hear me out. I own 2 cars. First off, don’t be too impressed as 1 is 20 years old & the other is 29 (I make my cars last and last). Anyways, the 29’er is a convertible & the 20 yr old is not.
When I choose to drive one car verses the other varies sometimes on obvious stuff – like the weather, but mostly it’s a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic reasons. It’s also those very same reasons that I choose not to drive one car over the other. Sometimes I drive the convertible ’cause the weather is gorgeous & I feel up to the scrutiny that goes along with your person being exposed as you drive about. People will stare at you when you are in a convertible. Sometimes that’s ok with me if I’m feeling bold and strong & individual. But sometimes I can’t handle the exposure. Sometimes the snarky glances & eye-rolling (usually that comes from mid-30’s age women in SUV’s – what is their problem??) can be annoying. Sometimes I just don’t want to be the “different” person & instead drive the non-convertible car so I blend in with the masses. Also, when I drive the convertible, people tend to crowd me out of my lane either to be dominating, or to see if they can see fear in my eyes, or ’cause they don’t see me (it’s a tiny car) until I beep frantically from the road shoulder. I’ve had people roll down their window & tell me off or say rude things, because …why???, then these very people speed off as quickly as they can. I’ve even had people try throwing their trash into my car (and the cop saw it happen too – still one of my most cherished comeuppances EVER MFer!!).
The point being, sometimes I chose to drive the convertible when I want to and when I feel up to the exposure & possible backlash that can go along with it. But by doing so, I have to be on point, on guard & up to the challenge of either being complemented or being harassed. I can take it & do so with grace & composure.
Funny, if you had asked me when I was aged 27, or 36 or 41 did I much care what other people thought – I would have told you no, but with each added trip around the sun do I find that I truly don’t respond or react as much to extrinsic factors (i.e. other people’s opinion) anymore. This gives me great hope & comfort because with each added year I can be more and more me and less what I think everyone else thinks I should be or should do. Getting older typically seems to be a negative thing, but I view it more as a freedom thing. I’m digging older me more than I ever liked 20-something me or even 30-something me.
So wear your harem pants & screw the snarky glancers – they got their own prejudices & issues and probably more than their own fair share of snakes in their head to contend with! And if you’re ever in my town, we’ll take the convertible out! Screw the haters!
Jane, I am shocked. I cannot believe people (complete strangers) behave this way. What the heck is wrong with everyone?
Gretchen, wear your harem pants or whatever the heck you want with joy.
By the way, I get grief for having very short, grey hair. I suppose we can’t please everyone, nor would we want to.
Ahh! Just got my ShopitToMe email today and the harem pants are on sale at Saks! XL only, but great price – $71 http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524446643036&site_refer=AFF001&mid=13816&siteID=BolFSqx4S4U-CfLh1wK1YspFfxw21LkgcA&LSoid=376986&LSlinkid=10&LScreativeid=1
Grechen Reiter says
yeah, they seem to be only left in XL everywhere…
and they’re gone from EF’s site even. i wonder if harem pants are finished. that style anyway?? 😉
Grechen Reiter says
the truth is, i don’t notice any weird stares or comments at all when i wear them, i seem to only get positive reinforcement! well, except from my husband. but that’s another story altogether LOL – or maybe i’m just blissfully unaware of how ridiculous people think i look! either way, i don’t care…
you rock your short grey hair. i remember getting side glances & stares for having very short hair also.
Grechen Reiter says
jane, this is a perfect comparison…
and man, who ARE these people? i’ve never seen anything like that (people trying to throw garbage or saying nasty things to people in convertibles) before! my stepmom has had a saab convertible for a long time and a million years ago when i was staying with them i drove it for a while, and felt so cool 🙂 but i HATE my hair blowing around and getting in my face, so i could never own one LOL
I read an article once about how norma, generally nice people can become total jerks once enclosed in the comfort and security of their car. The seemingly meek and mild preachers’ wife turns into a raging aggressive driver with lane protection issues.
I find that the darker the window tint & the bigger the SUV – the more rude & mean people are to me when I drive the little convertible. It’s probably a power thing going on, but dang – some people are just determined to be rude & mean ’cause they can OR ’cause they can’t get away with it against the people in their inner circle who won’t put up with their ill behavior, so instead they take it out on total strangers.
I got theories galore about all this! LOL
P.S. I totally love the look of short grey hair on women – Jamie Lee Curtis is such the perfect example of how stunning a look that can be!
Yeah the hair in the face thing is an issue. I can’t wear a hat either (it blows off) & hats give me instant headaches anyways. I just suck it up & hope I don’t get hair across my eyeballs as I go into an instant downhill spiral. Hate stuff in my eyes!
We installed a little air dam thing that diverts the airflow & it cuts down on your hair getting blown all over the place.
Henny Liem says
Grechen, yesterday I shared that I own the Oak dress after reading your review on it (I’m wearing it right now at work, in fact). Today I’m going to tell you that I also have these EF harem pants after seeing them on you some months back, and I L-O-V-E them!!! I would wear them every day if I could get away with it. It’s crazy but I actually look forward to wearing these pants. I just find them so comfy, unique, fun, and easy to wear. In my late 40’s comfort and ease-of-wear are so important in clothes!
Thank-you for helping me dress so well and comfortably!
I hear ya’, Jane! I’m 54, and I remember thinking after I had my girls, “I can do anything! I am woman, hear me roar!!!” And then life would happen and shake me up a bit. But with every passing year, I feel more confident in my ability to stand up for what I believe, most important, and wear whatever the hell I want! Not so important, perhaps, but it signifies independence.
I like your analogy!
Oh oh….I’m a preacher’s wife. But not so meek and mild. I hope I didn’t “flip you the bird” on the freeway! 😉
It’s funny, but I was never into harem pants until I saw pics of you wearing them in different incarnations. I’m still not into them for myself, but you know how to rock those babies! I can wear an oversized dress like your beloved OAK dress, and feel great. And I get comments…some positive, and some, not so nice. I often think I must have a sign on my forehead that says, “Say anything you want to me. I’m made of Teflon!” And I’m just as guilty of saying things too bluntly, or that could be taken in the wrong way by the recipient. But I do think that my openness is what allows people to say what they think to me. And I’m OK with that.
LOL, I can’t stop giggling about your comment! Well played madam!
I used to work with a lady who was quite reserved, lady-like, meek and kinda a pushover….that is until she got behind the wheel of her car. Richard Petty couldn’t keep up with her. A drunken sailor couldn’t out cuss her if she got cut off by another driver. She drove as aggressively as a dude pumped up on anabolic steroids. But then, once she got out of her car – she’d revert back to meek Ms. Linda.
HATED when she would volunteer to drive us all to lunch when we would all go out together. You’d be convinced we would die getting there and would be close to barfing up lunch on the drive back. LOL
My Dad’s sister (my aunt) was about as close to Rosalind Russell’s character in Auntie Mame as a woman could get. I idolized her ’cause she was so comfortable in her skin & truly gave zero cares about what anyone had to say about her.
She was flamboyant and gregarious, and always told me that getting older was a privilege and not to squander it by bellyaching about getting older, but instead, harness the power to become whoever it is I finally was meant to be.
My Mom barely tolerated my aunt & was always trying to counter her opinion with reasons to be miserable. My aunt died a few good years ago, but she lived more over age 50 than she ever did under age 50.
My Mom is the opposite. When my Mom turned 50, she kinda just shut down & became “instantly old”.
I love Mom, but I don’t have much in common with her. I think I’d rather be more like my aunt who used getting older to her advantage!
Henny Liem says
the harem pants will never go out of style…they’re timeless!
When I bought mine about 2mos ago they were nowhere to be found in the “regular” department stores so I hunted for them on ebay and found mine there 🙂
I think you look awesome in those pants. I’ve learned my lesson, I can’t dress like you, but I can sure admire the heck out of your style.
Lisa´s last blog post ..Why Cut A Long Graying Braid?
Your Aunt sounds like she was an amazing woman, and truly authentic. I intend to be the grandma that dresses stylishly, listens to Pearl Jam, gets a little goofy after a glass (or 2) of wine, and tells hilarious stories.
LOL, this sound great!