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Trouser Badgers Strike Again | Manolo for the Big Girl

Trouser Badgers Strike Again

Let me clarify. I am not against knee socks with pants. I am not against knee socks in age-appropriate arenas if you are, in fact, age-appropriate for knee-socks. If your first experience of rock and roll was watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan that is a) awesome b)a perfect excuse to take off the mutton/lamb gear and buy yourself some Prada. However, if all you do is hike up your trouser socks, call it a look and then expect me to let you handle my portfolio let me tell you friend, you have another think coming.

Also, while I’m on the subject, let me talk about gaucho pants. Are you ready? Here we go, the Plumcake Patented Speech on All Things Gaucho Pants.


No. Not at work, not at the gym, not running to Starbucks or the grocery store or to take the dog for a walk. Not even in the privacy of your own home at three in the morning, huddled under the blankets with a flashlight and your illicit dog-eared copy of Unflattering Pants Monthly.

Harsh? Perhaps. But I think about clothes the same way I think about children and just like children, there are just some things too ugly to love.

29 Responses to “Trouser Badgers Strike Again”

  1. gemdiva January 18, 2008 at 5:49 pm #

    Thanks for the reaffirmation of my personal beliefs about Gaucho Pants. I was recently at a pre-bid meeting for an exceptionally big account and one of my competitors (she was from Los Angeles, but that’s no excuse) was wearing gaucho pants. I expressed to my co-workers how absolutely WRONG this was, especially given the professional setting and how I thought her company should be immediately disqualified from the bidding process on these grounds. After all, would you trust millions of dollars worth of business to a company that would hire such a clueless person to represent them? I’m so happy I’m not alone in this. PHEW.

  2. Bridey January 18, 2008 at 5:59 pm #

    Well, I’m from Los Angeles, and that clueless person was an aberration, praise be. I actually had to Google “gaucho pants” to be certain what this was referring to — and the results are chilling. You might as well just go ahead and wear culottes.

  3. Twistie January 18, 2008 at 6:11 pm #

    How do I love thee, Plumcake? Let me count the ways! It’s going to take a while, so settle in and get comfortable.

    From earliest childhood I rejected gaucho pants, coulottes, and the vast majority of clam diggers (unless, of course, one wears them for the purpose of actually digging clams). As for knee socks…well, I wasn’t quite old enough to wear them the first time the Beatles played the Ed Sullivan Show, but I believe the last time I wore them with a skirt was shortly after Gerald Ford left the White House.

    There is a time for knee socks with skirts, and post-adolescence is not that time.

    Gemdiva? I applaud both your superfantastic taste and your superior business acumen. Truly, you have the wisdom of Solomon combined with the flair of Madeline Vionnet.

  4. Laura January 18, 2008 at 6:33 pm #

    I love gaucho pants. I love them with the fire of 1000 white-hot suns and I know that that is grounds to dismiss me from the RSS feed that brings me to you. For what it’s worth, I am super-fantastic, even in them.

  5. Mo January 18, 2008 at 6:56 pm #

    I personally don’t care for Gaucho pants, no. They’re not attractive on most people who aren’t the 6 foot, size 0 models anyway. And this trend I’ve seen lately to wear them with boots is terribly ridiculous looking.

    I think the previous post confused some people on terminology. (And may I just add, I love the term Trouser Badgers…) I read “knee socks” as any socks that come to the knee. From reading the other comments, it seems people were agreeing on this, however: “Knee socks” are thick actual socks that happen to be knee-high. “Trouser Socks” are specifically called that on the package and are a material that is semi-opaque, may be patterned, come to the knee if they fit right, and of a weight somewhere between panythose and tights.

    On thinking about it, I actually meant trouser socks when I say what I wear with pants. Given that my pants are hemmed properly, the only amount of foot one can see with my shoes is maybe the top of the arch and perhaps a sliver of ankle when I’m sitting. I referred to trouser socks (of which the majority come in navy blue or black) being acceptable with pants because you can’t tell with so little leg showing if that’s just dark hose or not.

    But again, I live in the Pacific Northwest, where we are a bit more relaxed while getting the job done. If anyone says companies out here aren’t dressing “professionally” enough to get the job done, I say: 1. depends on the industry, really; and 2. I doubt unprofessional is an accurate description for Microsoft, Nintendo, Google, Amazon.com, Starbucks, Boeing, Nordstrom, Alaska Air, Holland America Cruise lines, Corbis, Cray Inc., and ZymoGenetics that are headquartered here…

  6. mafyb January 18, 2008 at 7:25 pm #

    I like them, too; don’t shoot me.

  7. teteatete January 18, 2008 at 7:57 pm #

    I find it hard to find anyone superfantastic in gauchos because they seem so gauche and clown-like.

  8. Meg Q January 18, 2008 at 8:03 pm #

    Re: gauchos:

    Plumcake: Here endeth the lesson.
    Big girl congregation: Amen.

    Oh, gauchos, will we never be free??? (BTW, my sister likes them, she just wears them at home.)

  9. Never teh Bride January 18, 2008 at 11:59 pm #

    I wouldn’t wear them around town. I wouldn’t wear them to lounge around the house. And I certainly wouldn’t wear them to the office.

    Buuuut I have found them to be a nice compromise in tap class, where the teacher needs to see one’s ankles but one would rather not wear “dance shorts” (i.e. shorty mcshorty shorts) or leggings that leave nothing to the imagination. Not for Broadway style tap, mind you, where you’re kicking quite a bit, but for rhythm tap when you’re doing a lot of footwork close to the floor and they won’t get in the way.

  10. Jennie January 19, 2008 at 1:42 am #

    When I think of gauchos I think of something akin to a split skirt. The legs are full and the waist fits like a tailored skirt. Otherwise we are discussing capris or a yoga outfit or something similar. When one is a kitchen and bath designer and must be able to transverse construction sites and fifteen minutes later meet with clients at a posh design center, then a split skirt, jacket, and boots give one the freedom to climb over piles of bricks and boards but still look like one is wearing a skirt for the client.

  11. Chaser January 19, 2008 at 1:43 am #

    I’ve always thought gaucho pants looked fine upon gauchos.

  12. Margo January 19, 2008 at 3:25 am #

    I took a bellydance workshop at which the instructor was wearing camo print gauchos. With the entire range of beautiful clothing available for bellydancing, why oh WHY would anyone choose to wear such horrors?

  13. Christine January 19, 2008 at 10:13 am #

    I once had the horrible experience of seeing my mother-in-law spend the day wearing shorts, knee high socks and ked-like sneakers. She was 55. I didn’t know if she was channeling Doris Day from her prime or had temporarily lost her mind. I cooked breakfast that morning.

    Just a few years ago, she bought a pair of gaucho pants and wore them with knee socks and boots. When she sat down you could see her knee above the sock and below the gauchos.

    Now she is 67 and wears black leather pants.

    I was thinking, would it be wrong for her to come into my wardrobe and toss unacceptables out, if I could do the same for her? No words would have to be spoken, just the offending items could be gone and then we could go shopping!

  14. Melissa B. January 19, 2008 at 3:01 pm #

    I have an intense personal vendetta against all cropped pants, be they gauchos, clamdiggers, capris, or whatever you want to call them. I am short and full-hipped and they make me look as though I fused tree trunks to my upper body in place of my legs.

    And I am with you on the knee socks, Plumcake. I wore them as a Girl Scout, but I can’t imagine them on an investment banker.

  15. leebee January 19, 2008 at 3:16 pm #

    Oh my! The battle of the gauchos!!

    Unfortunately I am on the evil side: i love them!! I’m a young gal in her early 20s who will wear anything gaucho just because of the endless possibilities for cuteness and well put together outfits. Some people do the look totally wrong… there definitely is a right way to wear gauchos. (eg: in a neutral colour with a nice pair of stiletto boots and a lovely blouse and jacket) Unfortunately most people wear them with running shoes and a t-shirt when going out to the grocery store. Thus, gauchos get a bad rap.

  16. boots January 19, 2008 at 9:29 pm #

    Gauchos are ugly as sin but too comfortable to give away entirely. I wear mine only in my house.

  17. Margo January 21, 2008 at 12:37 am #

    Christine – I have to say, any 67-year-old woman in black leather pants has my heart.

  18. Hulk January 22, 2008 at 9:24 pm #

    The Return of The Gauchos: A Story

    Once upon a time there was a television show called Sex And The City, styled by fabulous but wicked gay men who hated women and their bodies. They used to play funny jokes on the show’s star, Sarah Jessica Parker, by sending her onto the set wearing things like satin formal shorts and giant gold jewelry with a giant flower pinned to her head. It became a competition between the stylists, who won points for getting SJP to wear the most horrendous thing, and more points when something hideous became a fashion trend in New York and beyond.

    One day, one of the stylist found a pair of hideous culottes in an old trunk. He conferred with his cronies, who covered their mouths in horror at the sight of them. The stylist put together a “costume” for SJP. She said “I don’t know about this.” The stylists joined together in their chorus. “You’ll look faaaaaaaaabulous, you’ll see, you should trusssssst ussss trussssst usssss.” She put them on and wore them on the show. A trend was born, and women all over began stuffing themselves into unsightly culottes and gauchos. The evil stylist was toasted with bellinis.

    The end

  19. De January 23, 2008 at 10:25 am #

    Now, the De is on the shorter side and has ‘the hips of merriment’ (that is to say, her hips are quite happy :D) – and thus any cropped pant makes her look….well, far stumpier and lumpier and several other ‘umpiers’ than she’d rather look. Many of De’s superfantastic friends look adorable in shorts or clam diggers or capris (oh how De wishes she could look like Laura Petri in them, but alas no). But on the De, it is not so fantastic. (The De does, blessfully, look adorable and supercute in long palazzo or swishy pants and wears them often.) Shorts especially bring attention to The Knees of Shame and are avoided. Therefore, no, the De does *NOT* wear gauchoes.

    The De is, for that matter, of the opinion that the gaucho pant should remain on the gaucho. If you are not in fact a cowboy from Brazil or a neighboring South American country, then you should not be wearing said pantalones.

    (And no matter how chic others think it looks – to De you look like a 12 yr old ruffian attempting to sell her a newspaper in Brooklyn circa 1915.)

  20. Bridey January 23, 2008 at 11:36 am #

    I’m with Margo: Go, Christine’s mom-in-law!

    Really, it seems to me that any lady who has the wherewithal to wear black leather pants at 67 must be simply accepted — and possibly adored — for exactly who she is :)

  21. La BellaDonna March 18, 2008 at 6:05 pm #

    Jennie, you sound both sensible and stylish, and I would LOVE to have you design a kitchen and two bathrooms for me!

  22. rabrab January 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

    I don’t personally wear gauchos, mostly because I follow the axiom that if you wore something the first time it was trendy (which I did,) you probably are out of the demographic that can carry it off the second (and subsequent) times.

    However, I also believe that gauchos can look very good, on a woman who is tall enough and shaped a particular way (slim-ish hips, no potbelly, long legs.) They also only look good when worn with appropriately tall, slim boots. Skin should not show between the bottom of the gauchos and the top of the footwear, even when sitting.

    The big problem that I see with many gaucho pants styles is that they aren’t cut properly; they aren’t simply wide-legged pants, with fullness down the inside of the leg, but rather the fullness should be on the outside of the leg only and they should be extremely full anyway.

  23. rabrab January 18, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    Arrrrgh. That last sentence should be “they should NOT be extremely full…”

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