I’m borderline obsessed by big pants at the moment. Big pants and whether or not to get the closed-toe kind of Birkenstock.
First: pants. I always put off buying pants because I have got what is commonly termed as a hungry bum and all pants just get wedged up there and it’s AWFUL.
Famously, you can’t try pants on in the shop (and definitely not now) and so I buy pants half-heartedly, speculatively and am always disappointed when they are the most wrigglesomely most terribly uncomfortable things in the word, sending me reeling and cursing back up to my bedroom to fling them off and get something else on. And then they sit there for years because I cannot return them and feel awful flinging them off to the ragmen.
So I never bother trying out new pants and have plugged on for years with my faithful M&S microfibre bikinis, which are all great and marvellous up to a point because in certain clothes they don’t half give you a hell of a VPL.
But in lockdown, priorities change. Time expands and contracts in a strange accordion-like way and I find that I have time to do things like buy a selection of massive pants in order to find really good ones.
My top hits so far are:
Marks and Spencer Modal Midi Knickers
Sloggi Maxi Pants (try typing that without falling about laughing)
Chantelle Soft Stretch High-Waisted Briefs these, bizarrely, only come in one size and it’s not an especially generous size. I am a size 12 bum and these fit me exactly but any bigger and they wouldn’t. I wasn’t going to feature them because of this but they are so good and comfy and genuinely zero VPL I have been forced to.
And now these, the Birkenstock Boston sandal. I am sorely tempted. Aren’t you?? How can you not be!
But I mean I really can’t. Giles will just leave. He will stand up and leave, shouting “I told you months ago it was me or the shoes!” over his shoulder. So I won’t. But you can.
I have also just finished and unchallenging but great fun book called Big Summer, by Jennifer Weiner. To tell you anything about it will give the whole thing away, but I won’t. I mean, it’s no Wolf Hall but it was fun and un-cliched but I enjoyed it.
How about you? Which bizarre items are you lusting after at the moment. And have you read any good books recently?
I’ve just bought the fur lined slipper version of the Boston’s…..!
I clicked on the link to the Chantelle pants. OMG what a blast from the past in the shape of the navy blue version! In my ’70s schooldays it was thought perfectly acceptable for teenage girls to do gym and outdoor sports wearing only “navy blues” on the bottom half. I sincerely hope this is no longer the case.
I’ve been eyeing those Bostons for several years and never quite manage to take the plunge, as my husband will be straight out of the door after Giles. Probably because I have been wearing Sloggi maxis for years. Years and years. Though I can also recommend those odd boy-pants for teenage boys, with no actual gusset at the front, just a bit of extra fabric for a teenage willy, which – as it happens – fits a full Coronamuff nicely.
Do you know, I think I probably could buy those Bostons. If he hasn’t left me already, he probably won’t ….
Sophie this comment has made my day. Thank you. I was just eyeing up the Sloggi maxi version with the control front and thinking how much they resemble men’s incontinence underwear.
Does the leg elastic dig in on the maxi’s I have ‘muscular’ thighs and don’t want any unsightly bulges.
Thank you, Frances! No, I don’t find they do and I am no slouch on the ‘muscular’ front. Elastic takes a few washes to soften, and I started on the boy-briefs because I have a patch of eczema just on the knicker-leg crease which REALLY objects to elastic, but prior to that absolutely fine. I’m a serious underwear fusspot because I’m too generously cut – and now too old – to have fights with my underpinnings.
Is this the moment to mention my friend’s G. E. N. I. U. S. portmanteau word for tired white pants? GRUNDIES. You’re welcome.
Hi Sophie – is your friend from the north west? Where some of us call their undercrackers ‘bills’ or “grundies’ – which I think is rhyming slang for undies – after Bill Grundy.
I’m hankering after some really great leggings, for running, working out and generally living in. Some nice, comfy but attractive bralettes and some lotta clogs. I think my list gives away that my main priority of lock down/post lock down is comfort. Oh and some luxe skincare to sort out my blotchy, dull skin. It’s not a huge list, and I should order it all right away, I deserve it don’t I?!
I got so excited about this post because I misread the title as big PLANTS. But I was so glad that I read on, if only to become accustomed to the term ‘hungry bum’. I’ve never heard that before and it sums up my own bottom wonderfully. Perhaps big pants are the answer! As for the Birkenstocks – I had that style in the 1990s and to wear them would remind me too much of my lost youth/freedom. x
Hi, been telling everyone to read ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ just a beautifully written story. American Dirt was good as was her other book ‘A RIP in heaven’
I’m loving the knicker chat thanks Esther! I was actually looking at my bloody awful knickers the other day and thinking I should really update them but you’ve listed the main issues with this so I haven’t bothered. I’ve been wearing massive pants since I had a caesarean a year ago. Anything anywhere near my scar drives me fucking mad but in the past I’ve favoured a fairly low brief (full covered on the arse though) so I think I need something not quite as big but not too teeny. So I’ll probably just carry on wearing my massive pants forever and my husband will continue to look at me in horror
On the Birkenstock front I’m undecided. Plus my dad has a pair that he wears as slippers…I bet they’re bloody comfy though
I’m surgically attached to a four year old and a 1 year old so any spare time I have is spent doing some kind of boring life admin or trying to clean up the constant crap in the house. I would love to read a book and I’ll add this to my list (sorry I really don’t mean to sound woe is me I realise this is a shit situation for everyone)
Just read “The Consequences of Love”, Gavanndra Hodge’s excellent memoir. Really highly recommended. Can’t seem to get myself even remotely motivated to buy any clothes – very listless about it all, just keep thinking “what’s the point?” – not a great attitude, but can’t seem to shake it off at the moment!
Inspired by my current binge watch of choice Vikings, I bought myself a completely ridiculous over the top costume style reindeer fur cape. It was £140. Ffs. But I reeeeeeeally wanted it. And it’s cosy as fuck. And I’ve got bugger all else to spend my hard earned NHS key worker cash on in lockdown. There’s only so much I can put away for a rainy day before I start eyeing up ridiculous treat purchases. Presents to yourself are the best presents.
Hi Esther – I have been wearing Sloggi midi (not maxi) briefs (although the midi feel quite maxi) since last summer and I am a complete convert after a lifetime of M&S pants. They are worth the extra money – so comfortable and supportive under a floaty summer outfit, without being too tight. They have kept their shape really well and the cotton fabric makes them perfect for hot weather. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
I really am not sure about those Birkenstocks!!! But have been married to my gold madrid Birkies all lockdown – I treated myself to a new pair for pottering around outside and bought a great pair of pony skin Maruti sliders, which I am wearing as slippers, inside. They are really comfortable and look great with absolutely everything, from shorts to maxi-skirts, dresses and jeans.
My 17 year old daughter and I were discussing at lunchtime how clothes have been affecting our moods during lockdown and the importance of dressing for ourselves on our mental state. May seem a bit frivolous at a time like this – but anything that helps keep you sane (particularly teenagers) sounds good to me!
Book wise, I’ve been reading a lot of Barbara Pym and mid-20th century fiction, but this week started the Claire Lombardo book, The Most Fun We Ever Had. I can recommend it (although I suspect I am behind the curve on this and everyone has probably already read it!) – an easy read, which is what a lot of us need right now.
Best wishes to you all. x
I have a dark grey pair of Bostons that I must have had 15 years, if not more; certainly longer than I’ve had my children. They are wonderfully comfortable, and far, far less unattractive than the Lycra cycling unitard get up that I have to see my husband in. I do like a fugly shoe though.
I bought a pair of those M&S midi knickers and the seams all came undone so I binned them. Something I’ve discovered about knickers is that there is such a thing as too big. I’ve definitely noticed since losing all my ‘baby’ weight (read: sitting on arse breastfeeding while eating) that all my hungry bum makers might actually just be too big. I’ve always sized up in knickers but I think these days that might be unnecessary??
I’ve had those Chantelle ones in my JL favourites for a while, think it might be time to purchase. Esther do you have an affiliate link for them? I’d love to support you. Thanks.
O Frances you are so thoughtful. This website uses skim links, so any affiliate rewards available (sometimes there aren’t any) are automatically applied if you click through from the site xxxx
Hi Esther! I had two(!) treasured pairs of Red or Dead beige Shornas a few years ago – similarly tragic in style to these Birkies, but oh.so.comfortable. I really miss them! While there’s enough in my wardrobe to keep me going.. the kids on the other hand are getting desperate for new shoes, bigger shoes, and I baulk at the thought of buying online. Just missing escaping to the shops altogether, really. X x
Same here – went for new Crocs as they pretty forgiving just going a size up.
This is too late for me – I just an M&S delivery as the kids had a growth spurt and accidentally ordered myself mesh pants. MESH. Like I’m the girl in Weird Science. I am not. Those Birkenstocks SAW YOU COMING. They’ve been out to stud with some clogs. Giles isn’t going anywhere, look at you. I found myself looking at dungarees after they did a thing about can you wear dungarees over 40 in the paper and I said something witty like you can’t wear dungarees over 4 to no one in particular, and now I think I want some. I’m reading One Two Three Four – The Beatles book by Craig Brown (who also wrote Ma’am Darling) which is great, lots of funny anecdotes about the band but also other people they interact with; a patchwork history. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris was quite funny and I’m also reading Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls which is painfully familiar if you were at school in the 90s. I started Putney but didn’t actually have the nerve for the storyline and gave up two chapters in.
Oh and Stasiland – really recommend that
Jill Brennan (@HornesterJ) says
I am really lusting after a new pair of house loungewear/pyjamas that I don’t sleep in. A set that wouldn’t break the bank but feels nice to wear in the evening. My sister is on the same hunt. When she asked, all of her friends were on the same hunt. Is this a thing just now?
Louise Buckingham says
Hmm – not sure I’m a big fan of the sandal, but highly recommend John Lewis knickers https://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-partners-5-pack-bci-cotton-bikini-briefs/p4905644 Am in the middle of Where the Crawdads Sing – its great – would make a great film. Also, just wanted to mention that I did Nathalie’s barre class the other day. Thanks for the recommendation. It was great and I’ll do it again. I do lots of barre in Cambridge and love it.
Ive just ordered Alexandra Shulman “Clothes and other things that matter” has good reviews and I like the sound of it and for some reason I like her when Ive listened to anything she’s done. I always want new shoes and can change my mind daily about the ones I want. I can actually convince myself a new pair of shoes will change my whole outlook on life. Today I want the new HUSH platform birkenstock style in tan that they annoyingly emailed me this morning, mentioned to my husband at lunchtime Id really like them and he just asked me how my painting (been repainting the housefor lockdown) was going – unfortunately atm Im a student so financially dependent on him 😤. He’s lovely but probably been wearing the same pair of Birkenstocks for about 25 years.
Not clothes but a bath. I live in a flat with a large wooden veranda and a small garden and I’m obsessed with the idea of an outside bathtub. My husband would be puzzled and horrified if I even mentioned it, so I just lurk on websites looking at possibilities.
‘Thought’ do some bamboo shorts pants that are so comfortable. They are in quite whacky designs but I think they do plain ones now. After a Caesarian I never went back, why would you?
I bought those M&S ones when you recommended them a few months ago. I’m reading American Dirt which is gripping and have just finished Hamnet.
stripe and stare for pants. Also…. Howies for their merino ones which i bought for running, but just wear ALL THE TIME
Staying anonymous for this one! But am I the only person who has embraced the hungry bum (what a phrase!) and is still wearing thongs?
Really got into American Wife recently as a good and not depressing read. Although now considering reading a Laura Bush biog to see how much was true.
cindy fried says
Loved American Wife! Reading up a storm here – the best was Lily King’s Writers & Lovers, Jenny Offill’s Dept of Speculation and Kiley Reid’s Such A Fun Age. Plus Susie Steiner’s Manon Bradshaw series (3rd on way end of this month, can’t wait – gripping and wry crime thrillers).
Have bought 2 pairs of sweat pants from Hush (Amie and Monaco, the latter ‘dressier’, though I’m going nowhere *sob*).
Have those clogs in black and vegan (cardboard, basically). I love them, hub not so keen. So they stay.
I’ve not managed as much reading as I hoped, what with the full time job and two small children and home schooling (and the wiping down! The cooking!) but I am absolutely loving The Overstory by Richard Powers, which I think is totally exceptional. I’ve also very much enjoyed Elif Shafak’s 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in this Strange World, Daisy Jones and the Six (Taylor Jenkins Reid) which is an easy and hugely fun read and also Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love which was way better than I expected.
I’ve also read and not at all enjoyed Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang; well written, interesting but I found it curiously unpleasant.
Finally, I am still wading through “Come as you are”, which has apparently transformed the marital sex lives of my American friends. Mine as yet remains resolutely I transformed.
Doing barre with Natalie has been one of the highlights of lockdown, particularly because she kindly records her sessions so that I can do them at dawn!
I’ve had The Overstory on my Kindle for ages and every now and again I look at it and think “Trees?” then move on but maybe its time has come.
Peabody Bites says
I felt the same way for nearly a year – but I promise it is great
Stripe and stare – best knickers ever for the hungry bum!
I bought a skater dress for eight pounds on ebay the other day because I was hot and couldn’t be arsed. So fashionable!
I keep trying to read but my children like to interrupt me on average every two seconds so I’m reading a book about the HEGEMONY OF THE ARISTOCRACY called Entitled, very very slowly. Very slowly.
Anna S says
Another vote for Stripe and Stare knickers – so comfy and no VPL or hungry bum! I don’t wear any other kind now.
Dalia Haber says
I’ve read The Bindings which was absolutely brilliant. Also read Fugitive Pieces which was beautiful