Light on the bottom

Hi, friends! Before I move on to today’s post, I have to stop and say how much I’ve been loving all your comments on my last post about my new hair color and more importantly, about celebrating yourself. Thank you for all the lovely compliments, but REALLY thank you for sharing all of the things you love about yourselves!! It’s been refreshing and inspiring reading what everyone wrote. Honestly if you need a little dose of love, check out the comments. It took me awhile to reply to everyone and while probably like most people, I strive to reply to everyone but sometimes fall down on the job (ugh), I desperately wanted to on that post because of all the wonderful things everyone shared about themselves! โ™ฅ


Okay, moving on from the gushy sappy part of the post…

I can’t wait to say one of these days, “spring has sprung!” Buuut it totally has not even a little bit here. That’s weeks off yet. But that still doesn’t stop me from daydreaming.

So what’s your take on light or brightly-colored trousers? Pants, jeans, capris, shorts, whatever. Are they something you regularly sport without much thought? Or do you stick with navy, black and brown, or similar dark colors?

For some reason, I’ve come to realize I almost never wear light colored bottoms. Skirts, sometimes. But trousers, nope. I have the one pair of white trousers I bought for my 10 year college reunion and I wore them exactly once, and have had several years since, thinking someday I’ll wear them again. Honestly they’re a cute wide-legged style. Come to think of it, they’d be great with a navy boat neck tee and the nautical-inspired summer flats I picked up on crazy sale from Miss L Fire in December. Such a sad tease, buying summer shoes in winter! But they were as cheap as buying shoes at Target, so who’s going to say no to that

But I digress. Light or bright bottoms. Pink. Baby blue. Light gray. Mint green. Yellow. Light or print prints. Why don’t I wear them? I have no idea. Do you avoid them too? I certainly have no real introspective reason, here. I think it’s just maybe long-term habits in how I dress and what I buy or make for myself, so therefore they’re out of my normal comfort zone. Most of my bottoms are either dark (denim, black, brown) or patterned (plaid vintage pants, why do I have such a fondness for plaid vintage pants?). And I have a lot of light, bright or patterned tops, which pair well with dark bottoms.

So this spring and summer, I want to make a concerted effort to figure out a way to embrace lighter or brightly-colored bottoms! They’re cheerful, they’re fun, and I always think it looks great on others.

lightbottoms Sources: 1950s bermuda shorts on Etsy from Frida Larsen Vintage /
red denim capris from Vivien of Holloway

I started with a pair of whoa mama orange cotton sateen Butterick B5895 trousers that I’m working on. It’s Robert Kaufman Stretch Vera Sateen in Tangerine from fabric.com (I also bought some in Azure, a bright blue). Not sure why I thought it would be a bit more of a rust orange, but nope. It’s bright pumpkin. Last month I posted my reservations on Instagram and got several pro “do the orange pants!” replies. So what the hell, since they’ll match a top I’m working on (more on that soon), why not just go for it. I promise this fabric isn’t neon, but it’s pretty damn bright.

orange sateen pants in progress

Then, I bought some pale blue cotton sateen from Mood Fabrics. It’s this one here, which looks a bit brighter and more turquoise, but it’s actually quite a pale blue. Lovely, but definitely very light baby blue.

baby blue sateen from Mood Fabrics

I also ordered several samples of other stretch sateens and would love to maybe find some colored denims for something a bit heavier, or pop for one of the Vivien of Holloway pedal pushers or capris. They seem to come in lots of fun colors.

Are these fabric samples I got ever colorful, too! I don’t know if I’d dare do the white print with huge blue flowers (that’s a stupid cut for a floral swatch but the fabric is here), but what fun capris those might make, right? And in terms of prints, it’s really making me want to find a cute gingham bottomweight of some sort.

sateen swatches

Errr, anyone with no-visible-panty-line underwear recommendations? I think I’m going to need them. And the lazy girl in me admits this may be one of my deterrents from light bottoms on my own bottom. But that’s an easy fix, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think I need to leave those swatches laying around awhile, while I warm up to the idea. I’ve got to figure out some tricks for what to pair them with so I feel comfortable and not like everyone’s staring at my behind or the wrinkles of my tucked-in shirt. Hey wait… maybe I should sometimes try out the style on the woman on the left, below! Wide belt, maybe a long jersey shirt, and lighter trousers or capris. Perhaps I’m onto something here… I don’t know, we’ll see. (That aside, I’d totally take each bit of both of their outfits, thanks!)

avisco ad from myvintagevogue Source: 1955 Avisco ad, from myvintagevogue Tumblr

How about you? An irrational fear of lighter bottoms like me? Or are you the complete opposite? I’m going to have to look for some inspiration on how to wear lighter colored cigarette pants, capris and shorts this year. I’m really starting to feel excited about things I want to wear once it warms up (and hopefully I’ll put together some thoughts to blog about that soon). I better get crackin’ on the planning!

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Golly, 48 Comments!

  • I love Bermuda shorts! I’m partial to plaid ones. For me, I’m not so big on lighter bottoms usually except for khaki.

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  • Bright bottoms are great! I have a few light coloured shorts (a pair or two in white, and a pair in bright blue), but for trousers, I only have a pair of patterned light blue/white/tiny dots of black. And I only have that pair as I sewed them up with the thought of getting more bright and light things in my wardrobe. Otherwise I am a slave the the darker clothes (they work well in my office…).

    I can’t wait to see the trousers/shorts/capris!

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    • Yes, I can definitely see sticking to darker for the office! I don’t commute into the office that much but would definitely do the same. I’m sure it’s the time of year driving me to want more color!

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  • I LOVE jewel tones pants ; I like my cobalt blue or amethyst ones with my black & white oxford pumps and a black or white top… But I do not dare go too light in the color for fear of needing to do even more laundry! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • I haven’t really worn them in the past but I’d like to. I love those pink ones above.

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  • I have cobalt, red, deep yellow and cameo pink pants. As to underpants, thicker fabric slacks even in light colors do not need special ones. As for lighter weight slacks, stick to nude colored underpants and make sure the fit is spot on. Too tight legs and you get a line, too loose and they ride up giving you quadra cheek.

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    • I’ll probably end up with more lighter weight ones, since I can’t really imagine wanting to wear lighter (or that many brighter) ones in winter. Quadra cheek… hee hee!

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  • I do have an irrational fear of light bottoms. Even if it is nowhere near that time of month I’m always worried my period will how up early or something. I worry about other women I see in white pants too. It’s never happened to me, I’m just paranoid it will. Also, how the heck do they stay clean?! Worrying about where you sit down all the time? Also, I spill tea on my legs a lot, sitting on the sofa with a too full cup, so I love dark jeans for that. But I could get down with bright colors.

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    • Ha ha! I love that you worry about it on other women, too. The sitting part I would worry about too, although that’s why part of me is drawn to that illustration with the shirt that covers her butt.

      I bet I spill more tea on myself than I realize! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • I like lighter shorts, but I usually stick to dark colors for pants. I am thinking some lighter blue pants would go with my wardrobe nicely though. When I was much younger (into crazy trends and very skinny) I had some great bell bottomed dark red pants made out of that 90s nylon material – I thought they were sooo cool. I have also owned a fair number of colored corduroy pants. I have stuck to dark denim in recent years because they look classic and are easy to wear a lot. Somehow it’s easier to justify crazy colored and patterned skirts than pants?

    As for the undies, Hanes makes some that solve specific problems – I really like the ones that are “no ride up” for not showing through. There is some stronger elastic behind the legs that keeps them from riding up, my personal underwear bugaboo. They also have a higher rise, and are pretty seamless. Hanes also makes a “no muffin top” pair of seamless-ish underwear that is good for things really tight around the hips.

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    • I’m thinking that the pale blue fabric I got will be either shorts or capris, definitely something I could only see myself wearing on occasion. I love dark denim!

      I’ll check online for the Hanes ones, we went to Target but ours is the worst stocked one on the planet it seems like, so they were picked over.

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  • Love the idea of bright bottoms! I got a ‘whoa mama’ tomato red sateen made into looser 1940’s style 3/4 pants which I wore on Christmas day – promptly christened ‘Santa Pants’ by my brother- (tch, brothers!) but that won’t deter me! I happily wear bright orange, green or striped bottoms, . Australian brand ‘Sloggi’s’ make full briefs which have scalloped edges and sit almost invisibly against the skin, I find these are brilliant for being pretty invisible under fitting trousers.

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    • Hey people only think of red in terms of Santa for a few weeks! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Love your no fear of colorful bottoms. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel comfortable enough doing it a lot, but I’d like to at least on occasion!

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  • i love bright pants on others yet am convinced that on me they would give me a bottom the size of a bus. Not that I think that of others. Silly really but there you go.

    As for no VPL, I find light, seamless boy leg styles work well.

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  • Just this summer (I’m in Australia) I bought a pair of red shorts, my first shorts (i.e. above the knee) in about 15 years and certainly my first not black/navy/denim pant in much longer than that. And I rather love them. I am pretty much beyond worrying about what others think of my outfits anyway. So go for it I say, ALL the pretty colours!

    There is a range of Jockey briefs here that are seamless and invisible. My daughter works in a sporting goods store so wears exercise leggings to work with these briefs and they are invisible. They also come in a variety of styles, bikini, hipster, boyleg, full brief. Good luck as there is nothing more effective in attracting attention to your backside than a VPL!

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    • I would definitely say my wardrobe fits into the category of “beyond what others think” too. lol! It’s just a matter of feeling if I’m comfortable, too. So I’m hoping I can sometimes get comfortable with this idea! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • I have to confess to being terrified to put my bum in a pair of white pants – wide leg or otherwise. It’s just something that makes my anxiety sky rocket!

    I do, however, love coloured bottoms! I have several pairs of cigarette-style pants including red, hot pink, and cobalt. I also have dark denim, medium grey, and black, but I find I gravitate to the bright colours. I made two pairs of wide leg linen/rayon blend pants last year – one in navy and one in hot pink – and I wore them to death. All my bright pants go so many tops in my wardrobe!

    I am so glad that you are going for those orange pants! You’ll love them! I also applaud you for buying turquoise and pale blue. I highly recommend sewing a hot pink pair as they truly go with everything. Can you think of a colour that doesn’t look great with hot pink? Me, neither!

    I like light and medium weight stretch twill for bottoms. Fabric.com has a great selection for good prices.

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    • Love the idea of hot pink pants! I think the pale pink will have to be capris or shorts since they’re so light, they really scream summer to me.

      I think I was on a sateen kick due to winter (give me something happy and slightly shiny pleaaaaasssseee) but I love stretch twill, too. I’d like to dry a medium weight one (i.e. I’d wear it in more seasons that way) in a gray or a cobalt blue or evergreen, perhaps. I think in my mind I’ll still usually think of brighter pants in warmer weather, although I wore my red stretch twill cigarette pants in late fall with little boots and a ski pullover and it was a cute combo!

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  • Aww man, I’m just now reminded of how much I used to love Bermuda shorts! I was actually just thinking about this subject as I was shopping for some bottom weight acceptable knit fabrics to make some Palazzo pants for summer (because yes, I might be circling back around to chic hobo pants again). There doesn’t seem to be many options outside of your basic neutral solids or extreme brights! What’s the middle ground? The bright, brights would look awesome in retro style petal pushers, but maybe not so much in a wide leg option… or maybe I need to find out the hard way and just order the lime green jersey haha!!

    Can’t wait to see which of those swatches you decide on, and how those orange pants look as an outfit! Awesome, no doubt.

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    • I have a vintage shorts pattern that has three lengths– Bermuda, Jamaica, and.. I’ve forgotten the other. I remember being amused since I’d only heard of Bermuda shorts!

      I know what you mean about color and style and middle ground, too. I think brights could work in wide-legged styles especially if you’re going for a beachy kind of resort-wear look. Navy top, bright flowy pants, sandals. Comfy and has a ‘pop’.

      And look at the shock on my face that you might want to wear palazzo pants again. Utter shock. Not. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • I adore that orange fabric! Those will fabulous trousers!

    I think it’s all in the styling. You wear a bright trouser with a neutral top/jacket and then accessorize. As long as you feel comfortable in your ensemble, you’ll look great. Plus orange is the best color in the world.

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    • Yeah, the shirt I’m making that spurred me on to making the orange trousers is black but with small pops of color in the pattern. I’m definitely not shy about colors but I think I’d feel too awkward in too much bright together! Although I could always tone something down with a darker cardigan. I do that a lot to balance.

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  • I have to comment while laughing, because of two things. Too many women think it’s a fantastic idea to wear brightly colored undergarments under unlined white pants.

    A cousin told me the best way to be sure you weren’t preggers when that time of month was late was to wear white slacks and no prevention. Never failed. Unfortunately.

    Yes, I have an irrational fear of light bottoms, but then my coffee (with cream) never stains my blue jeans. ^_^

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    • Bwahaha! Funny what your cousin said. Yes, I think I’d reserve that pale blue fabric for only AFTER just in case. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • I like color for pants, but I usually stick with black or dark blue. I used to have a pair of red jeans that I wore out and some fantastic purplish velveteen boot cut jeans. Those pants were sassy, and I’d love to find more like them!

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  • I do have a fear of light colored pants, but it’s because I have really large hips. When I was in college, i had a pair of light yellow retro styled capris that I loved, but I would only wear them when I was feeling skinny. I really have no issue with light colored skirts though, so go figure.

    As to panties, I know that many people are against them, but you can’t go wrong with a thong for zero panty lines and visibility. If you buy the right ones, they’re not uncomfortable at all. I’m partial to these from Target as the lace sides keep them from making any pinchy muffin tops, and the main construction, being made of cotton, makes them very comfortable.

    http://www.target.com/p/women-s-lace-thong-gilligan-o-malley/-/A-14549438#prodSlot=medium_1_6&term=lace+thong

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    • I was at Target this weekend and it was horribly picked over, but I picked up one without lace that looks promising. I’d forgotten I did sometimes wear them with tighter clothing when I was younger. I mean I never loved them, but they did serve their purpose!

      I think my slight fear spills into skirts. No problems with a light colored skirt with a big print on it, but I don’t own a single solid-colored skirt that’s light. I have a light brown/tan one and that’s the closest I can think of.

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  • I’ll make and wear skirts in just about any colour. In fact, I’m very happy with my new bright orange pencil-isn skirt: http://petitmainsauvage.blogspot.nl/2015/02/skirt-and-bolero.html
    When it comes to trousers, I’m a lot more careful. I’ve had leaf green trousers for summer that I loved (finally got rid of them recently because the fabric was getting worn out) and white and beige ones I was OK with… All of those were for summer and I remember tinkering more on their fit and feeling more self-conscious wearing them than dark coloured trousers made from the same patterns. Because that’s the issue with light coloured trousers: Every wrinkle shows. I may make new light coloured trousers, but I’ll probably go for a roomy 1940’s style fit. Or a use a busy print (or maybe not, I hardly wear prints) with a bit of stretch for a 1950’s shape…

    Oh, and I agree with Megan Maude: To avoid panty lines, thongs are really the only way to go. The ‘no seams’ versions are both comfortable and invisible under your clothes.

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    • That pencil skirt is amazing on you! And that’s an even lighter orange than the sateen I have! It looks great how you’ve styled it.

      I know what you mean about fit and lighter fabric. Even taking photos, I’ll be bothered by things that I think look perfectly fine in real life. Drives me crazy!

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  • I think I always stayed away from light colored pants because I have a big bottom and I won’t wear anything that makes it look even bigger ๐Ÿ™

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  • You know, I have never really thought about it! I have had white and khaki trousers and shorts over the years, and a bunch of vibrant skirts – my absolute favourites are a vivid orange batik circle skirt I made last year and my red with white polka dots skirt. That being said, I have never really considered the pastel route. Maybe because I rarely see those colours in bottomweight fabric? (I am definitely an opportunistic fabric shopper!). I did do a houndstooth pencil skirt- which is not quite the same as gingham, but I could readily see some golf-style trousers in it ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I admit that I REALLY like the Vivian of Holloway capris you showed above- both colour and style – I figure Gertie’s pattern with maybe a cherry print blouse might be doable…
    Sounds like you have some fun planning to do! (Oh, and as for the huge floral print- those make truly delightful full skirts if you don’t think that it would work as capris ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
    Happy planning/sewing!

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    • Khaki! Why don’t I ever think of khaki in there? Not that I have any khaki pants, anyway, but somehow it always seems to get a ‘pass’. I agree about how much of one’s decisions is based on fabric that you see. The sateen from Mood is a bit thinner than the Robert Kaufman, but it’s okay since I’d really only see myself wearing any of that once it got warmer, anyway. Finding bottomweight fabric is really frustrating, isn’t it!

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  • I’ve tried on lighter pants before, but I feel like they make my legs look super short. Darker colors elongate a bit. I’m wondering, though, if it would also have to do with getting a light colored trouser that fits really well. Darker colors are a little more forgiving, but maybe I just haven’t worn a light bottom with a great fit.

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    • I agree that it probably relates to the shape of the trouser as well. I’ve become more aware of that over the years. Wide legs in general make me look shorter, narrower legs seem to elongate my leg a bit, and personally I find they pair better with heels. (I always have this annoying feeling with wide legged trousers and heels because I never feel like the length of the trouser looks right with the heel.) And the heels help with making my legs look a little longer. So I’ll be curious how this all plays out if I try it with pants! I suspect most of the lighter or brighter colors will end up capris or shorts though, since I don’t see myself wanting to wear them year-round. Even the orange ones I’ve been debating on if I want to shorten the length a bit.

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  • I wouldn’t say I have a fear of dark bottoms, I just think I was somehow taught that bottoms should be darker than tops. So I almost never wear white as a skirt or pants! I have sort of broken out of this, but only for the sake of some amazing pieces (helloooo neon-orange skinny jeans) do I actually really do it. I dream of bright pencil skirts, but I still don’t know about wearing a black shirt with them.

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    • Most of my tops are light/bright/patterns, so I know what you mean. Other than t-shirts, I don’t really own a lot of dark tops. But the fabric I’m currently sewing up as a simple vintage top that’s black with a small print. So perhaps if I go more in that direction than just solids (since patterns are more me anyway), it’ll help me feel more comfortable with the idea.

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  • I wear light colored bottoms all the time, but then again, 92% of my bottoms are skirts, so not quite the same thing. I have kind of mixed feelings about bright or light pants and shorts. On the one hand, they’re fabulous on other people! I always feel like it’s something that I would love to rock, especially in the summer when a pair of baby blue gingham pedal pushers sounds like, quite literally, the best idea ever. On the other hand, I have a hard time finding any pants that fit right, and I don’t want to draw attention to any fit issues that I might have by wearing something that draws the eye to that part of my body. Maybe it’s just one of those “rules for pear shapes” that I’ve had ingrained in me over the years by reading fashion magazines, though.

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    • Baby blue gingham pedal pushes, totally agree that sounds swoon-worthy!

      I’ve learned in the last year or so that I’m a little more pear-shaped than I expected, so I never had rules for pear shapes drilled into me. Which is a good thing, I think! It’s all about what you personally find comfortable anyway. Although we’ll see if I can ever feel comfortable in light pants. I bet I’ll fare better with the brights and a darker top than the light, but the baby blue will be nice for shorts or maybe capris. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Being a short, curvy (hourglass) lass, I generally tread lightly where pale hues are involved in general, but especially on the bottom, and most especially with pants (I don’t wear shorts – that would involve liking/being comfortable with my stubby legs considerably more than I do/am). Though fit nearly trumps colour on the slimming front, objectively a big hit of say, pale pink or mint green on the bottom, isn’t going to do me as many favours as black or navy might, so while I might sport those colours as a skirt or dress, with pants it’s not too likely I would. Though I seriously love them on others!

    โ™ฅ Jessica

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  • It took me awhile how to figure out wearing colored bottoms – I usually pair them with a neutral or very tones down in color top. Otherwise it feels too much like a box of crayons. I also never wear white pants even though I keep buying them! Will I ever learn? I’m too afraid to sit in them haha!
    As far as avoiding panty lines, I buy cotton boy short style underwear with as wide lace edging as I can find in a nude colorway. Victorias Secret usually has them. The lace lays smooth over your skin if they fit properly, rather than elastic, which causes that hard line. If all else fails I buy something more like spanx. My thighs aren’t meaty enough to get a line across them from the leg of the underwear.

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  • Honestly, I’m trying to think if I own any other pants besides jeans! I’ve got a few pairs of leggings and a pair of grey corduroys that have never fit and never get worn… pretty sad, huh? I love the look of light-colored pants, but I’m a slob (plus my life is a never-ending fight against muddy paw prints, thanks a lot, excitable dogs!) and I struggle with pairing separates, so I’m pretty tame when it comes to pants. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m excited to see what you make! I’ll be eagerly watching for some pretty pants!

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    • I know, it’s really only been in the last year that I’ve worn any pants really *regularly* other than jeans, and it’s the other pair of cigarette pants I made (and never blogged) after my fitting tweaks, which are black corduroy (and never posted because hello, photographing black pants in winter is basically pointless, lol). Denim is so versatile! Light and bright… um, so not versatile. lol I’m a denim girl through-and-through but I’m hoping on occasion I can pull out the big guns and try something a little different. I don’t think it’ll ever be my mainstay though!

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  • I’m always a little daunted by light colored bottoms. Brighter colors, like red or bottle green? Sure. Paler colors, like white or pink? I’d be afraid of sitting on something! They always look so snazzy on people, though, and there’s nothing like white pants or skirt for that old fashioned respectable sportswear look.

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    • That’s one of the reasons I’m drawn to the outfit shapes in that ad– while her shirt isn’t entirely covering her butt, I think it would help me feel more comfortable! Either that, or blouses that generally don’t tuck in. Which isn’t my usual style, but in summer I wear that more. Which seems like a good pairing since I’m mostly thinking any colored bottoms would be warmer weather wear, anyway. I agree I always find it snazzy on others!

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  • I suppose I never thought about it, Tasha! I do love bright bottoms but all my pants are either navy cotton, denim or khaki. I’m heading to the L.A. Fabric district on Friday so I’ll get some shiny bright cotton or sateen to make some 50’s pants.

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