By: Tyler Chitwood
There is an overwhelming amount of pants in the world: sweatpants of every color on the rainbow, Levi jeans your Mom bought from Kohls, khaki pants that never quite reach your ankle so people ask you “Is there a flood coming?” Gucci pants that cost $1,700 but look fly as hell, weird orange camouflage pants, corduroy trousers, and the list goes on. Pants keep you warm, keep you looking cute, and serve as a great way to express your style. But for the 13-year-old version of myself, a young and unfashionable individual lacking any confidence in his awkwardly shaped body, wearing pants was a nightmare.
Before I was forced to start wearing pants, life was as it should be for a middle school youth. I played a gross amount of World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, listened to Akon, exclusively wore athletic shorts and hoodies, and drank a Monster every day before school. This was a time when you asked your mom if your friend Timmy could come over after school for a couple hours so both of you could chug Mountain Dew Code Reds and take turns trying to beat Ragnaros from the Cataclysm expansion in World of Warcraft. A time when Timmy just bought something called a “Vape Pen” and, apparently, it’s cigarettes without the cigarettes. A time when your parents bought you the new and glorious “Xbox Live” for your dumb birthday which allowed you to not only shoot people, but with you pals. Timmy doesn’t even need to come over anymore; you can just shit-talk him through the internet. What a time to be alive, as they say. Being fashionable was the least of anyone’s concern.
My hate for pants doesn’t come from a single moment but a span of time that I refer to as the “I Played on The Middle School Basketball Team and Had to Wear Pants on Gamedays” era. For our first home game of the season, I wore a pair of my Dad’s business slacks, a wrinkled grey and navy argyle sweater, a white button-up, and black dress shoes that were two sizes too big. To put this in perspective, the second worst thing about the whole season was taking a layup on our own team’s basket in the most important game of the season. The first was wearing that outfit. Each game day following the first, I became more and more self-conscience about what I was wearing. All the joy and comfort of wearing gym shorts and a hoodie to school had been ripped away. I looked at what the upperclassmen wore, asked my Mom to buy me the same clothes, then stared neurotically at the mirror dressed in said clothes, feeling insecure about my body.
Fast forward to high school, and you better believe I was still wearing high socks and Sanuks. Freshman year followed the same trend as middle school: nobody looked twice at what people wore… unless it was cargo shorts. As high school went on, the group of individuals who wore gym shorts and a hoodie every day started to dwindle in size like an endangered species. Most kids graduated to wearing Polo button-ups and pants with the Hollister logo on the butt cheek. Once again, I looked to the older grades for fashion inspiration, but never strayed too far from my usual outfits. Kids wore cuffed jeans, graphic tees, dress shoes, and outfits that you might see on a modern-day college campus. Not only did I not own any of this, but I was horribly insecure about my body and how weird I thought I’d look in a thin t-shirt or fitted pants. It sucked not having the confidence to wear pants or even a t-shirt that may show off my muffin top (which I now love and embrace).
Over time, I’ve realized that nobody truly cares enough to judge you for not wearing certain clothes. As obvious of an idea as that is, the high-school me was way to fixated on how I looked to others rather than just wearing clothes that I thought were comfy and stylish. It was never about dressing well. Feeling comfortable leads to feeling like you are dressing well. It’s especially refreshing to know that in the past few years, fashion has become broader; It is more acceptable to wear anything you want, no matter the color, brand, or shape. I’m not a fashion expert of any extreme, but I do know that at a certain age, whether that be 14 or 20, that nobody truly cares what you wear, so please wear what you want.