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Communism fell and all I got was this stupid blister | Manolo for the Big Girl

Communism fell and all I got was this stupid blister

Oh hell no. I may be drunk, but I’m not THAT drunk.

There is no way in harlequined hell I’m wearing stirrup pants again.
Hells to the naw

I mean, I get stirrups as a practical matter.

If you’re horseback riding they’re invaluable but I haven’t ridden in years. At this point in my life, if my feet are going in stirrups there will either be a medical professional or a US Senator bearing Scotch involved, and since I don’t live in DC anymore (and don’t have the morals of an alley cat) it’s far more likely to be the former, and while there are a lot of non-fashion references I’m glad to make in my daily ensemble, being prodded by the Frozen Escargot Tongs of The Damned is not one of them.

Plus, I have a grudge against stirrup pants on a personal level.

Let me take you on a little word journey back through the hazy mists of time to November 1989, where a young Miss Plumcake was sitting semi-attentively in Mister Kapusnik’s fifth-grade class.  I was semi-attentive because the stirrups of my brand new cow-print stirrup pants ( the ones that precisely matched my equally be-Holsteined mock-turtle halter trapeze top) were bothering my feet.  And do you know what happened while I was fiddling about?

The Berlin Wall fell.

Everyone else has great stories to tell about where they were when the Berlin Wall fell and I don’t because MY STUPID STIRRUP PANTS RUINED THE FALL OF COMMUNISM. Now instead of sitting around being wistful about what a special time it was, I can only try to explain to a stunned audience that yes, my grandmother who purportedly loved me decided the best thing to do with a mouthy, chubby girl already a half a foot taller than everyone else in her class would be TO DRESS HER UP AS A COW.

22 Responses to “Communism fell and all I got was this stupid blister”

  1. Twistie March 4, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    I’ve lived long enough to go through stirrup pants twice. I had sense enough to completely avoid them in childhood, even when my mother bought me a pair and tried to convince me to wear them. I was silly enough to drink a sip or two of the Kool Aid in the eighties, but quickly discovered that this was not a fashion statement for me. For one thing, try finding them in the right length when you’re a petite with her waistline in her armpits. Yeah, not happening.

    This time I’m going back to being as sensible as I was when I was seven and said ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ about stirrup pants.

  2. Lisa March 4, 2010 at 12:25 pm #


  3. Nerfmobile March 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    In 1985 – I was in high school – I owned a pair of stirrup pants that were black with large, deep blue snowflakes on them. I remember wearing them at least once with a “big shirt” (worn untucked – it hung down below my rear) made of shiny polyester in a dark-blue-and-black spotted leopardskin print, complete with a sparkly jewel pin at the collar.

    Fortunately, I don’t believe any pictures of this ensemble exist!

  4. Jen March 4, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    Preach it, sister! I have bad flashbacks because there was a time that the only thing available for a girl of my size WAS those damn stretchy stirrup pants. They can rot in hell!

  5. Debs March 4, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    I had a pair in a golden, velveteen color worn with riding boots (no I didn’t ride) in the early nineties. In the evenings, I put them with a purple velvet body-suit and heels. I’m 5’9″ and it was a good look then, but became dated and then discarded. The pants were NOT very comfortable. Wouldn’t do it again. Too directional and/or disco.

  6. Mimi Stratton March 4, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    Certainly won’t wear stirrup pants in that color. Or cat pattern.

  7. SusanC March 4, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    As a tall person, I can attest that wearing stirrup pants is awkward physically as well as aesthetically. Either they will hurt your feet, or you will be able to stash your wallet and toiletry kit in that space below the crotch, as they will always ride about 4 inches too low.

    When mom bought me stirrup pants, I finally gave up and just cut the stirrups.

    And for hideous patterns: did anyone else have them in faux acid-washed-demin (in blue or black) that harked from the Lerners catalog?

  8. Plumcake March 4, 2010 at 6:54 pm #

    See Mimi, I think if you’re going to DO stirrup pants, you might as well go the full Peg Bundy. Purple lamé tiger stripe is actually MUCH higher on my list than plain black, because at least then it would be capital F Fashion instead of just sad fat girl in bad pants.

  9. hickchick March 4, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    As another “mouthy, chubby girl already a half a foot taller than everyone else in her class” I am right now thanking God for school uniforms.

  10. barbara March 4, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

    stirrup pants and “big shirts” or giant, shapeless sweaters… these clothes were bad enough the first time. What would possess the fashion gods to actually bring them back?

    It get worse. I was at the mall earlier this week and there are shoulder pads in some of the tops. ::shudders:: shoulder pads, I tell you!!

  11. ChristianeF March 4, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

    Ugh… I HATED stirrup pants. They lookd so cool and cute on the girls at school, so I talked my mom into buying me a pair. Since I am of the short persuasion, I had to pull them all the way up to my (non-existent) boobs and still the stirrup piece was forever falling off of my foot. Also, I could never determine if they should go over or under my scrunched-down socks. Either way, it was horrific.

  12. theDiva March 4, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    stirrup pants


  13. jeannemarie March 4, 2010 at 10:16 pm #

    I’m embarrassed to say I actually loved my stirrup pants back then. It was probably late 80’s? I had two pairs, both in black. My favorite were the cheaper ones. I must have been just the right height. I’m fairly short, so they never pulled, and somehow managed to make my legs look long (I’m not that short, but have much shorter legs). I wore them with a plum colored, short-sleeved, longish sweater that a friend found at Filene’s basement for such a ridiculously low price that she bought it figuring one of her friends would fit it, but she couldn’t leave it on the sale table! ;-)

    I looked thinner and like I almost had long legs – I loved them and wore them all the time. Funny – I can’t even remember what shoes I wore with them!

  14. Violet March 5, 2010 at 2:15 am #

    They looked good — yeah, in the 80s, OK — because they achieved something of the same long and narrow look as a very skinny pant, only without any of the unwanted hi-res knee and random bump definition, because the fabric was all pulled taut which made it blissfully skim over all that shit. I get it. BUT: they hurt my feet and drove me crazy and that is why I wouldn’t do it again, even if I were younger, and despite the fact that I have an unsatisfiable in the current market jones for a very narrow but not skintight leg.

  15. All Women Stalker March 5, 2010 at 2:26 am #

    I don’t think I’ve ever worn stirrup pants. But I did wear colorful cycling shorts in public.

  16. Lisa March 5, 2010 at 5:03 am #

    You know, I”m not as convinced as everybody else is on the whole skinny jean thing. I’m surrounded by tons of tiny little Asian girls (I teach at a west coast university) and they’re all running around in them and basically I see these young women, I think “Iggy Pop” and Iggy’s thing is to be cool by being himself, which is raggedy and undernourished looking. They look fine; when you are 20 you look fine in everything, but I can’t hep but think they’d look and more fanciful in something else.

    And no on the stirrup pant, unless you are a dancer and you are wearing them on purpose. For dance class.

  17. raincoaster March 5, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    I used to think stirrup pants were okay, but only inside boots (as people here have noted) tall enough that you couldn’t TELL they were stirrup pants. This was true even back in the Eighties.

  18. sarahbyrdd March 5, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    *sigh* Yes. Wore them. Wore them to death … so much more slimming than the gathered harem-ish pants that were the alternative at the time. But really, enough’s enough. Tights are not pants … and stirrup pants are just tights on steroids.

  19. KS March 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    Plumcake, as a short & chubby elementary schooler of the same era (not tall, though), my stirrup-pant/swing-mock-turtleneck ensemble was cream with pastel rose and powder blue flowers (with dark olive green stems). While I have to admit I loved it at the time, looking back at the pictures is horrifying.

  20. Bree March 6, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    I had a pair of red stirrup pants, which I wore with yellow socks and hi-top Converse sneakers. I had a pair of black ones too, which went with every 80’s fashion nightmare I owned at the time. But because I was taller than average, the stirrups kept slipping off the bottom of my feet and the crotch was too low.

    Why does the fashion industry think we need to revisit these things again?

  21. zuzu March 7, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    I had the dropped-crotch problem with these. Which may have been the whole reason for the big shirts.

    Really not happy to see the ’80s fashions being recycled.

  22. Lisa March 7, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    Bree, when I read your comment all I could think was “Square Pegs! Square…Square…Pegs!”