Let’s just say I’ve never been a clothes horse.
I was thinking about this today when my friend Steve Graham posted on Facebook a very funny description of his fruitless search for an acceptable new pair of pants—oh, how I sympathize! It was hard enough finding decent, comfortable clothes when I lived in the USA, but here in Brazil it’s well-nigh impossible.
The women’s clothes here are either riddled with spandex (hate, hate) or covered with studs, embroidery, appliqués or a ton of other doodads (despise, despise). The women’s pants (including shorts and pjs) have waists that start just above the pubic bone (so uncomfortable) and are usually very form-fitting (aka pinchy tight).
Even T-shirts aren’t exempt from decorations, printed mottoes in bad English, and necks so wide that one of your shoulders is always hanging out whether you want it to or not.
And then there are the underpants. I don’t even want to go there. I still order mine from the USA, I confess. The G-strings are bad enough, but even the so-called “regular panties” have no room for a normal butt, and are always getting stuck you-know-where.
My first act of revolt was to start buying clothes in the men’s and boy’s department. I actually did find a couple of decent pairs of pants (I don’t wear jeans—too stiff and hot) and some plain T-shirts. So now my wardrobe plays out like this:
Winter: slacks, long-sleeved T-shirts
Summer: men’s boxer shorts, short-sleeved T-shirts or tank tops
But I still long for a simple pair of cotton pants with a draw string or an elastic waist. I’ve been searching for them among the websites for medical scrubs, but most of them are at least 50% polyester. Sigh.
On the up side, though, Brazilians do have some funny names for clothes. Strapless tops or dresses are called “tomara que caia,” which means “I hope it falls down,” and men’s boxer shorts are “samba-canção”— an old-style of music, meaning that only geezers wear them.
Funny thing is that I really enjoy looking at high-fashion clothes at the runway shows in São Paulo and Rio—but to me those aren’t actually clothes, they’re art. That’s different.
For my day-to-day wear, I want something super comfortable that’s almost like wearing nothing. Or maybe I should just wear nothing (when I’m inside, of course). Or maybe not. I remember one time my mother decided that she would do all her housework in the nude in the summertime. That lasted for exactly one day. She said it made her feel “too vulnerable.” So much for nudism. I’ll just suck it up and stick with my boxer shorts, plain pants and T-shirts.