Of all the sartorial reasons for a man to get riled up -- go sue the fellow who gave the thumbs-up on Crocs, why don't you? -- suit pants are among the most inconsequential of them all...It must be cool to be a fashion writer. I've never even noticed there was such a thing as "diaper pants," yet for Givhan it's a weird recurrent phenomenon.
A suit, of course, can have panache. The quality of the fabric and the fit can signify wealth and authority. But when the eye scrutinizes a suit, it's really looking at the jacket....
Dress pants have never been fetishized the way other parts of the wardrobe have. Bluejeans, for instance, have been elevated to a kind of fashion haiku -- deceptively simple, yet filled with emotion, attitude, sex appeal and profound cultural meaning. For proof of how banal men's pants have become, look no further than the nearest male derriere to read the Dockers label. Introduced in 1986, they launched a khakis revolution and made virtually every man who wore them -- which is essentially every man -- look like he was somnambulating toward a life of soccer games, little blue pills and quiet desperation.
There have been attempts to transform pants into talking points. Designer Thom Browne cropped them at the ankle. Former Christian Dior menswear designer Hedi Slimane cut them so narrow they were practically shrink-wrapped onto his models. And too many designers to name have championed diaper pants with the crotch dropped to the knees in the misguided belief that men will want to relive their suckling years.
But in the closets of men who buy clothes, not fashion, pants are merely functional.... But the loss of even the best-made pair of pants, the ones that accentuate a trim waist and give the illusion of a sprinter's bottom, isn't worth crying over.
But here's the reason to cry over pants. It's not that they're distinctive, it's that they are so closely tied to what you know or want to deny about your body. This is why so many ads for diets picture a thin person standing inside a giant pair of pants and gleefully holding the waistband out. Your pants are gauges of weight and muscle tone loss and gain. When you bring in your old pants -- as Judge Roy Pearson did -- to be let out to accommodate you weight gain, you are exposing yourself in an intimate and deeply emotional way. When the Chungs accepted his pants, they weren't only accepting his pants, they were accepting the man's shame, his humiliation, his failure. They were saying, in effect, we understand this misfortune and we will take care of you. To just lose the pants was to say this relationship meant nothing to us. It broke his heart. He cried. Not just for the pants. For everything.
It's like when Daisy cried over the shirts in "The Great Gatsby."
"They're such beautiful shirts," she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. "It makes me sad because I've never seen such--such beautiful shirts before."
IN THE COMMENTS: Jane says:
The Great Pearson: At the end of his Dockers, a flashing green light signaled to him to go ahead with his suit for his beloved pair of legs, beckoning like springtime and the fresh smell of money.Drew says:
Pearson was upset that his Prufrockian destiny was derailed by the Chungs' loss of his garment, thus preventing him from declaring that I grow old . . . I grow old . . . I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.Oh, this is a great clue to poor Mr. Pearson. Look at this, from the WaPo write-up of the case:
A pair of pants from a blue and maroon suit was missing when he requested it two days later. The Chungs say they found the pants soon after and tried to give them to Pearson, but Pearson insists those are not his. The charcoal-gray, cuffed pants are now evidence.He never wears the bottoms of his pants turned up, yet they gave him pants with cuffs. It's as if he had handed them his youth, and what they gave back to him was old age. He grows old! These horrible cuffed pants! The pants of death!
"I haven't worn pants with cuffs since the 1970s," Pearson said. He also submitted into evidence a photograph of every pair of pants in his home to show that he does not like pants with cuffs.
Drew also supplies the perfect quip: "Pearson should drop his suit . . . but not his trousers."