Fretting over waistbands is a stretch

The verdict is still out on whether this is good news or bad news, but many of the pants for women this season have wide elastic waistbands.

The part of me that loves big family dinners, Saturday morning donut runs and summer cookouts with barbecue and potato salad says, “Yeah baby! Let’s do this!”

Another part of me, the part that doesn’t just step over the bathroom scale but actually on top of it from time to time, says, “Whoa, Momma!”

For me, wide elastic waistbands say, “Go ahead, have seconds.”

Sometimes they say even crazier things like, “Have another dessert,” or “Ask for whipped cream.”

Clothes were meant to be a safeguard. And not just against overexposure. Pants with zippers, and waistbands with buttons and snaps, serve as a physical, and sometimes uncomfortable, reminder that the calories are mounting.

If my waistband doesn’t remind me, who will?

I’ve long owned pants with a wide elastic waistband—they’re workout pants. In theory, they are for bending, stretching, exercising, walking and running, something more vigorous than sitting at the kitchen table with a bowl of ice cream. Although, they work well for that, too.

But now we are encroaching on an era when comfy, stretchy workout-style pants become everyday pants—although by different names.

There are dress pants labeled “solid loose.” It sounds like an oxymoron, but you don’t have to define it, you just have to wear it.

Then there’s the “endless pant,” which is dubious no matter how you frame it. Or stretch it.

Then there are “air essentials.” I guess those would be pants that breathe in and out with you and require oxygen masks should your plane nosedive.

There is also a continuum ranging from “relaxed waistband” to “loose waistband.” Like the chicken or the egg, who knows which came first.

“Pull-on business casual” pants are also touted as the latest thing. Our youngest granddaughters wear pull-on pants. They’re very happy and easy-going. They are also 5. Maybe everyday pull-on pants would improve my mood.

The most puzzling is the “Spanx stretch twill.”

It almost sounds comfortable, which is ironic because in the early days Spanx was never comfortable. Spanx was painful. Spanx originated as ladies shapewear in the form of a small tube of industrial strength spandex strong enough to catapult a space shuttle to Mars. A woman squeezing herself into a Spanx was similar to a Polar bear squeezing itself through the PVC pipe beneath your kitchen sink.

I was the first to advocate that Spanx come with a caution from the Surgeon General: “Warning: Spanx may cause shortness of breath, lightheadedness, heartburn and the feeling that you are being sliced in two directly beneath the rib cage.”

Now even Spanx has gone comfortable stretch. I guess they loosened up over the years. Haven’t we all.

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