Friday, November 18, 2011


My sister told me about an assignment she recently gave her grade 8 students, to write about how they think the next year is going to be different.  One of the answers was "I will age, maybe start wearing jeans" because apparently this student just realized that she only wears sweats.

It made me recall my own relationship with sweatpants in elementary school.  I think there comes a time for everyone where mayyyybe wearing sweats out in public isn't the most appropriate thing to do for everyday clothes (I don't care if you want to do a lazy ice cream run to the store or whatever, but wearing sweats as your normal pants is weird). 

As a determinedly unfashionable 12 year old, the jeans vs. sweats idea never really crossed my mind.  I did not want to wear shirts that could be thought of as "tight" so I wore at least size medium unisex printed t-shirts (usually souvenir), and jeans or sweats.  They were interchangeable as far as I was concerned, until the one day in grade 6 where one of my best friends took me aside and said "Robyn, I'm only saying this because I'm your friend, but I really hate those pants."  I was wearing gross baggy black sweats.

I was DEVASTATED.  How could she say something like that?  How did she have the right to criticize my amazing, march-to-my-own drum fashion sense?  I dressed like Kristy from The Baby-Sitters Club, no one ever told Kristy that they hated her sweats!

I believe I actually stayed home from school crying that afternoon, while my mom tried to nicely tell me that maybe I shouldn't wear sweats to school anymore.  I don't really know how the whole thing got resolved, but I believe one day soon after the sweatpants fiasco I wore a different pair of sweats to school - ones I had personally sewn myself (you can imagine how incredibly fashionable a pair of sweats that a grade 6 girl made in sewing class would have been), and I suddenly felt very self-conscious in them.  I finally saw them for what they were:  schlubby, oversized, too-casual-for-school clothes.  I'm not sure if it had anything to do with my friend's frank confession or if I would have come to the conclusion on my own, but after that day I stopped being the girl who wore sweatpants to school.

I still dressed like Kristy for a few more years though until I realized that oversized souvenir t-shirts were the torso equivalent of sweatpants.

You're welcome, internet.  Yes, this is actually me in grade 5, and not wearing a Halloween costume.


  1. Robyn, the internet is now a better place.

    I had a similar experience with rubber boots. They slipped on and off in a flash, and they were waterproof. Perfect all season footwear!

  2. Now that you mention boots, I am pretty sure I wore big purple Sorel boots winter boots way into grade 8 (in the winter only) until I realized when people were saying "nice boots" they were actually making fun of me.

  3. I got out of the sweatpants game early - Grade 4 or so. Lucky for me.

    Unlucky for me though, I was still very far from being cool. Haha.