Clothes – my nemesis

228639pdLet’s just say I’ve never been a clothes horse.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.225422pd

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.

samba canção

samba canção

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.



Filed under individuality, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Clothes – my nemesis

  1. That’s all you need. Ive often thought, though that we (in appropriate climes) should takes notes from desert nomads…long flowing stuff…keeps the sun off if you care about that, but also “breathes”, allows the air to flow, keeping you cooler, less prone to dehydration. I’ve thought this for years so maybe I’ll give in and start a trend!

  2. You should! Long and flowing is nice, but gets in the way of certain activities, like housecleaning!

  3. Libby Unwin

    I like sweats in winter with turtle-neck or a flannel shirt. In summer I like shorts and 2 men’s undershirts when it’s very hot or some sort of t-shirt and shorts. I do wear jeans as well in winter and khakis in warm weather. As you can see I’m not a fashion plate. I have been influenced too much by my racetrack years!!

    • I’m totally with you on this, Libby! I wear sweats in the winter sometimes, too, when it’s cold here. I never did the racetrack, but having been a work-at-home freelancer for years has definitely influenced my fashion choices!

  4. Such a shame you don’t sew. Easy to make simple slacks, shorts and tops and relatively inexpensive. I do sympathize. If I couldn’t buy something new and comfortable from time to time, I’d be in a sour mood. Rio fashions sound awful.

  5. I DO sew, Merrilee, but I haven’t had a sewing machine since I got back to Rio in 2008. I’ve been caught up with other things, but I may get one again. I’m quite an expert sewer, actually, and have made complicated things like fitted sofa covers.

  6. Oh my gosh, you should look for a used sewing machine. Do they have anything like Salvation Army and Goodwill there? You could whip up stuff so easily. You might even be able to make a little money sewing for other people.

  7. Actually new sewing machines aren’t all that expensive, but I need to put it off for awhile because I just bought a bunch of furniture. I wouldn’t sew for others, though, because I find sewing somewhat nerve-racking! 😀

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