5 Things I Learned By Going Pants-Free For 30 Days

(Photo: Jenna Briand)

Wardrobe-wise, I was ready. My family bought me a handful of great new skirts, knowing 30 days without pants was going to be tough. I dug up a snug pencil skirt from the back of the closet. Pulled out a dress or two to dress down for everyday use. And shut the drawer on my jeans with a tiny whimper and a pathetic wave. “See ya next month, old friends.”

Who knew that so trivial a resolution would take me to the heights of polished sophisticate and to the lows of mid-life neurotic with such deft ease? Who knew that an A-line skirt could make me beeline so quickly to either fabulous or fussy?

Insight #1: If giving up an article of clothing can make such waves in my life, fear for me, friends, should I ever try to give up anything more serious. As I sit writing this today, cross-legged, in sweats (a position I sorely missed!), these are my top revelations from a January without jeans. The good, the bad and the superficial.

1. Going without pants is a great conversation starter.
In the beginning, I really couldn’t help myself from announcing to anyone within earshot that I had taken on a 30-day no-pants challenge. I was convinced that everyone, even total strangers, could actually see how odd it was for me to be wearing a flowy skirt instead of skinny jeans, and I felt the need to explain myself immediately. Of course this was all in my overactive, seemingly narcissistic mind. I had not lost a limb. I did not have a tattoo on my neck. Most people thought nothing of it at all, until I voluntarily assaulted them with the information. They would politely chuckle, and I would then quickly ask if they’d make any New Year resolutions, too.

2. No one should bowl in a skirt. Ever.
There are a number of occasions when, I’ve realized, skirts and dresses should be non-optional. Bowling is one of them. Turns out all that fabric is really hazardous to one’s form. Grocery shopping is another. And I’d argue “Saturday.” But I skirted my way through all those events nonetheless. Working out and sleeping, however, were tricky. I hadn’t fully defined how far I was taking this stunt. Early on I purchased what I’d once proclaimed to be the Stupidest Item of Clothing Ever Invented — the one-piece skirt-over-leggings-yoga-thingie — but ultimately could not leave the house wearing it. So, a confession: I slept in PJ’s and worked out in my Lululemons. And I decided that wasn’t cheating.

3. Playing dress-up can be fun.
It’s hard to not feel polished in a skirt. For me, the act of slipping a skirt onto my body prompted a nearly Pavlovian response of feminine preening. I put on makeup, heels, and jewelry with a flair my jeans-wearing self does not normally possess. I had better posture, a friend observed, and spoke in meetings with a bit more bravado. I was complimented for my “look” by a stranger in the airport, called “ladylike” by a mom at school and actually inspired a colleague to ditch her jeans, too. I felt like I was a character in a play and my role was a 40-something woman who actually dressed and acted her age.

4. Playing dress-up can prompt existential angst.
I am generally uncomfortable being a 40-something woman who actually dresses or acts her age. But why should a skirt — a pretty, youthful item of clothing, by most accounts — make me feel so matronly? Why did I feel so physically constrained and awkwardly formal? I developed one theory (after dismissing my husband’s likening it to the “exposed tackle” of men in kilts) that when I was younger and lacking confidence, I over-dressed so people would take me seriously. And now, having taken far too many things too seriously in life, I underdress so people will know I’m relaxed. So I feel relaxed. That, or I’m just a tomboy who is finally at peace.

5. Everything in moderation.
In the end, I’ve concluded that giving up pants for a month was a good idea. I may forever be a jeans girl, but skirts are for me, they’re just not for me every day. And now I know that on those days when I need some extra polish, some sartorial armor, or a boost of bravado, I’ve got recent experience — and a better wardrobe — to help get me on my way.

Check out part one of Jenna’s 30-Day Challenge here.

Find out how the rest of our participants did:

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2 Responses

  1. Editor’s Note: So How’d Those 30 Days Go? | Tue Night

    […] Jenna Briand shares five critical insights from her pants-free month. […]

  2. Jones Brown

    It seems to be fun and attractive to others for such look that express you, What do you think what else happend in that 30 days which you also want to add?


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