Monday, June 18, 2012

Shorts Story

I have written about shorts before and I guess I should just a post a link to that and call it a day, but I have a whole lot more to say on this subject.  Mostly because of an unfortunate video.

My husband, you guys, is Clark Griswold.  Vacations and Christmases are things that he takes very, very seriously.  He plans our family vacations according to this "Five Year Plan" that culminates with us taking our lovely brood to Europe (I'm thinking this may be more like a seven year plan or a ten year plan).  He plans and he plans and he plans and we always have a lovely time, no matter where we go.  This year, as I mentioned earlier, we went to a cabin in Gatlinburg, if for no other reason than to recover from the last two years where we have done massive, walking-intensive, historically themed vacations.  Our biggest goal was to relax...and rest...and relax some more.  I wanted a hot tub, and my husband wanted a theater room.  And that was what we got.  Matt planned even more stuff for the cabin--renting 90's comedies to introduce to the kids, buying a vast array of popcorn.  And he made a fun DVD of our past vacation exploits to show the kids when we arrived--basically just photo stills set to music.

So we got there and while the kids were running about, getting excited about the wonders of our home for the next week (we live in a single level house--the fact that our vacation cabin was 3 floors was all the excitement they needed), we loaded the homemade DVD into the theater room's player.  I popped some popcorn and we pulled them away from the pool table and video consoles and had a family viewing of vacations past.  It was really fun--seeing how much the kids had grown and reliving lots of fun memories.  Matt had interspersed lots of funny comments, so we laughed like fiends at inside jokes.  When the video was done, the kids were playing around with the little menu thingie and we found some assorted actual videos we had taken.  And there was a lovely video from two years ago that featured us playing putt-putt.

I was wearing a dress.

A dress that I thought looked really adorable on me and was super comfortable and cool.

And although I didn't do it, somehow someway, I came really, really close to flashing my underwear at my husband when I was leaning down to get my ball (REPEATEDLY).  Which means that there was almost video taken of my fluffy white ass. 

Moral of this story:  sometimes, although dresses are divine in the summer, you really just should wear a pair of shorts.

You guys, I love dresses.  I do!  If I had my druthers, I would have done little over the last month but sit at my work computer and order dresses.  It is truly all I want to wear in the summer because most are work appropriate (especially in the summer months when I [and everyone else] can really get away with more) and weekend appropriate and NEARLY everything else appropriate.  But there are times that you just need a good pair of shorts.  I KNOW.  It's screwed up.  It is a fact that I ignored for nearly 10 years.  But shorts serve their purpose so well.

This year, I ponied up for two pairs because there are two weekend days and I really only wear shorts on the weekend.  I am open to another pair--I really wanted a sailor-type style J.Crew Factory was selling, but  I didn't order online while I could and then the B&M Factory store didn't have them, and then, well, I'm always partial to a pair of crisp white shorts at the beach (where I'm going next week!).  But two pairs pretty much serves my needs very well, especially considering I still wear dresses and skirts, even on the weekends.  I always buy a pair of J.Crew 5" chinos, so this year I decided to get them in neon pink.  And guys?  So much fun.  I love those things.  I've been wearing them with a chambray shirt, but they are also really cute with simple v-neck tees.  And I also got these, because why the hell not?  Printed shorts are cool.  I pretty much told myself I was keeping them even if they made me look like I weighed 800 lbs because I liked them that much.  Luckily, they do not. 

Now, if you really need a shorts primer, you can go back to that link above and read all about it because I wrote it last year, and well, there ya go.  Here is the corollary to all that:

1.  Don't overspend on white shorts.  I mentioned above that I love the look of white shorts in the summer time, and I really do.  BUT.  White shorts are....white.  White like the snow, white like Connecticut, white like a virgin.  And, like all of the things above, they are easy to taint.  I find that I have never been able to wear a pair of white shorts longer than one summer.  They just get too stained.  And I have thought about this a lot, because I have had my white jeans definitely longer than one season and they show no stains of any consequence and really, what I think is that when you wear shorts, you are doing more things that invite dirt.  Things like meandering along trails and eating barbecue and chasing kids and eating drippy ice cream cones on the boardwalk.  Darker hues hide the evidence of all this in a way that white just can't do.  So get some fo' cheap.  My pairs the last two years have been from Old Navy, and they usually work out just fine--no see-through, decent material, a quality purchase for the 15 or so smackers you'll pay for them.  You might also find a good pair at Target.  A couple of years ago, their Merona brand shorts were made of really nice material and my mom and I happened upon them when they were on sale for $10.  And there are always 4th of July sales to think about if you don't want to go too cheap.

2.   Don't go too big on top.  I love the look of a pair of shorter shorts (4 in. or shorter) and a blousy, flowy top of some sort.  It seems like a good balance, you know, and I see it in fashion magazines all the time.  It is also something that looks horrible on me.  It makes me look big all over, like I might be an offensive lineman stuffed into a pair of chinos and stranded at a barbecue.  And I don't think it is just me.  This is a really hard proportion to get right.  I see a lot of people who look lost in swaths of fabric up top, which makes them look bigger and well, hotter.  And not hot in a good way.  Hot in a "HAND ME MY CHURCH FAN, BERTHA." way.  Although peasant tops are great on some folks, we just all ain't Marianne Faithfull, if you know what I'm a-sayin.  When all else fails, girls, shorts and a fitted, quality t-shirt is not a bad combo.  It usually hides that which you would like to hide, flatters assets like boobs and shoulders AND has the added benefit of being cool.  Even a nice ribbed tank top in a pretty color can compliment your shorts well.  Basically, what I'm saying is that less is more and simple is better and blah blah blah, I'm boring myself.

3.  Don't try to make them more than they are.  I was very tempted to type here that you really shouldn't try to formalize your shorts in any way because that is a skill best left to the true fashionistas among us, but then I remembered seeing someone pull it off.  For my mom's graduation, a friend of my mom's attended in white city shorts with a really pretty floral print Ann Taylor cardigan and a fitted empire waist camisole underneath.  She wore sparkly flat sandals and nice jewelery and pinned her hair up.  The look was classy, appropriate, and much, much nicer than 90% of what I saw other people wearing to the event.  That is an example of someone making their shorts work in a totally different place--she could have just as well worn the same shorts to a barbecue or over her bathing suit. In some ways, the key to this is to treat your shorts like they are a nice skirt and accessorizing in the same ways.  But like I said.  This is tricky.  Unless you have just the right pair of shorts, you're going to look like an idiot.  I feel like if you are doing anything where you would need to worry about all this, you could just wear a dress.  And you were going to do that anyway, right?

And let's remember the principal rule from my original shorts post:  NO1CURR.  Of course, I am paraphrasing, and maybe it's a bit harsh, but well, everyone else is so caught up in their own body flaws during the summer, that it is helpful to remember that no one else is worried that you didn't lose that last 5 lbs. and no one can tell that your legs have caused you more sleepless nights in your 29 years than you ever would admit to publicly.  To them, you just look like a happy person enjoying her summer.  And if they are the type to notice that you are perhaps not as thin as, say, Gisele Bundchen, well, you don't need them as a friend anyway.  Come sit with me, dear.  I'm sure if I know that meanie I can think of someone mildly related to them that once gave someone a blow job in a funeral parlor (TRUE FACT:  I do know of someone who did this, and now you all want to know who, don't you???), and if I don't, I can just make something up.

As an addendum, if you are truly shorts phobic, and really, you shouldn't be, but if you are, I will let you in on my favorite new secret purchase.  This charming skirt from Old Navy, currently $15 in store.  I'm wearing this sucker RIGHT NOW, you guys.  I had wanted a chevron dress for a while but couldn't find one that I really liked that wasn't full out maxi, so when I saw the skirt this past weekend, I knew I must try it.  And I really, really like it.  These type of cheap, flowy skirts usually put me on the one-way express train to Frumpsylvania, but this one has the nice print which brings the eye inward, and yes, does make you look thinner.  And the top is a roll-down style waist which means you can tinker a bit with the length AND the waistband is big enough to sort of "control" your tummy.  I'm not kidding!  It totally does.  And it is super comfortable.  I originally thought I might just wear it over my bathing suit, but guys, this thing looks really cute on, and yes, I am wearing it right now in the office, albeit with a jacket and my "dressy" sandals.  And like I said, you can get away with a lot in the summer, at least in my office, where, because of vacation schedules and such, I go whole days without seeing anyone of any consequence. 

I just won't be wearing it to play putt-putt.

Which I am exceedingly good at.

Anyone wanna play?  I'll wear the shorts this time!


  1. I have a pair of orange Caslon shorts I bought recently and wear the heck out of. Same shorts in beige were dreadful, white were frumpy... but orange? Awesomeness. Almost makes me want to pair with heels and a blazer. Almost.

  2. OOO orange! Now my imagination is tweaked. I will maintain until my dying day that beige/khaki type shorts make me look like a 40 year old gym teacher (not that there is anything wrong with being a 40 year old gym teacher--I just don't want to be one when I am a 29 year old not gym teacher). My mom thinks they are "classic" and a must have. Um, no.

    And yeah, I wore my pink shorts with wedges and a cardigan one day, but that's as far as I've gone. And that was only for an evening. And I can't say I felt wholly comfortable... I'm sure you could pull it off though, true fashionista that you are. :-)