Friday, September 5, 2014

Fashion Faux Pas, Prison and Pettipants

Even as a young girl with a considerably tighter body and smaller waist I was never really fashionable.  Some people have an eye and a knack for fashion and dressing for their body, and sadly, I don't think I'm one of them.  I buy what I think looks good when I look in the mirror and what makes me feel good wearing, basically what either conceals or makes what I'm not crazy about look better and accentuates the parts I like.  I rarely know what is "in".  As a woman shopping in the plus size section, which HAS grown considerably but still contains items made from material better left to being draperies and tablecloths, I face some struggles but think for the most part I do pretty good on the rare occasion I buy new clothes.

For the record, we're not discussing that goth phase from high school.  At all. 

As a general rule I try to avoid the most commonly made faux pas like wearing sneakers with corporate wear, and I buy the right size for my body though sometimes that can be a struggle because shirts that fit my mountainous bosom fit like a sagging sack everywhere else.  I quit wearing thongs (except for when laundry day rolls around) so I'm rarely guilty of having an exposed whale tail.  I don't mix stripes and patterns.  I'm tacky in that I wear leopard even to funerals no matter what.  If I were to be perfectly honest though most of the time someone else's fashion faux pas needs to be pretty serious in order for me to actually notice it.  I'm just not that person who spends their day ass-checking other women for Visible Panty Lines (VPL), and if you notice my VPL there's a good chance I'm going to thank you for checking out my ass.

But from time to time a trend comes that I fall in love with and this year it was maxi skirts.  I was looking for one and finally found one that I loved.  I found a top to go with it, and was overall very thrilled with my purchase and excited to wear it.  I somehow managed not to buy one in every color like my Grandma used to do when she found things she liked.  When we moved my grandparents to their assisted living home, my Grandma had at least two of almost everything including four Nautical themed jackets that all had the same pattern but different background colors.

The Skirt
Photo courtesy of

My grandmother passed away in early January of this year, but there are constant reminders of her in my daily life from the vintage Farberware (which has outlasted the new Farberware I bought myself), to the wine glasses she gave me from the basement that were still in their original box and plastic wrap and had been for 20 years, to the voice in my head that asks me if I'm wearing a slip under my skirt.

I only wish I were kidding about that last part, but every time I wore a skirt she asked as if it were her personal duty to be the World's Nosiest Old Lady  Undergarment Police  protector of Family Modesty and decency...or something.  I always contributed it to being one of five daughters and, well, old.

And while she never said it, I'm pretty sure I was a constant disappointment to her in the modesty department because the answer was always "No", especially if it was a long skirt. It never really led to arguments, but every once in awhile she'd oh-so-casually mention how she'd never leave the house in a skirt without one.  So it should be no surprise when I say that the first time I decided to wear my new fabulous skirt, I didn't even consider wearing a slip.

If you follow me at all, you know that I have friends and loved ones in the criminal justice system.  My new tye-die, jersey knit maxi skirt and new shirt seemed perfect to wear to visit.  There was no metal that would hinder me at the metal detectors at the door (I try to wear the least amount of metal possible to avoid complications with my piercings), it looked nice, it was going to be warm and it would be nice and comfortable to wear for a long drive on a hot day in August.

I forgot to consider that I am not a small woman.  Thick.  Fluffy.  Curvy.  Plus-size.  Call it what you will, but to put it plainly I do not have a thigh gap.  This might not seem important now and it wasn't when I decided to wear that skirt, but it sure became important later. 

When the day came... I woke up late.  I dressed in a hurry while being thankful I'd had the oversight to lay my clothes out the night before.  I spent all of my time on my hair and makeup, making sure everything was in place for the drive ahead and reasonably humidity-resistant.

Then, in what I realize now was a pretty half-assed effort, I dusted powder in all of those special places prone to chub rub.  I looked at myself in the mirror, then made sure I had everything I needed in my purse including grabbing a change of clothes "just in case".  Then I hit the road.

Even with the air on it wasn't long before I started feeling warm and the thought as to why my Grandma loved Buicks so much (other than being a Belgian from Green Bay) ran through my head and I missed my first car: a Buick with a fold down center console that could be put up for extra ass room.  Completely different from my Pontiac with its racing-seat inspired bucket seats.

Oh Bench Seat, how I love thee

It was warm.  I was sweating in spite of the freezing cold air blowing on my face and my toes.  My thighs were touching.  So I did the only thing I could do... I hiked my skirt up and adjusted the dashboard vents.

I then proceeded to act as if the word of the day was "legs" and attempted to contort myself as much as someone whose thighs barely fit in wanna-be racing seats possibly can in order to "spread the word".

There is no way to really describe what I was doing except to say I was pulling a Miley Cyrus, albeit plus sized, in my car.

It was just like this, only I wasn't wearing a sparkly pot leaf body suit.  I also wasn't wearing shoes, my arms were up but my hands were on the steering wheel (to get cold air to my sweating pits), and my right foot was posed over the brake... because safety first. 

I arrived on time, and while I was not shower fresh the fact that I had alternated between blowing freezing cold air at my crotchular region and armpits had clearly done something to maintain a crisp, if not completely fresh, facade.  I touched up my makeup and headed in.

Visiting a Correctional Institution is an interesting experience.  Maybe most people just aren't interested in knowing anything about it but I'm surprised I don't get more questions.   I'll just say that once you've done it a few times it is just kind of annoying, like airport security only you don't get carry-ons and free peanuts at the end.

I made it past security and walked up the steps to the heavy iron door, they unlocked the first door and waited for it to close before opening the second door into the visiting room.  I sat down and realized my panties had ridden up.  I casually, and with as much subtlety as I could muster, straightened myself out.  However, midway through my visit I stretched my legs only to realize the fabric of my skirt got incredibly thin.  If it got that thin when I stretched my legs... and then the worst thought passed through my mind, and I asked the most unfortunate question in a semi-horrified voice:

Can you see my panties through my skirt?

It was one of those moments where you brace yourself for the bad news, but somehow something in you still hopes for the best.

Sadly, there was no way of escaping the fact that I had driven across eight counties, cooling my thighs/hooha and pits in the stream of frigid cold air in an attempt to avoid sweat and chub rub, only to be the woman who walked into a Maximum Security Prison wearing hot pink panties and a see-through skirt.  

In my defense, I didn't realize the part that stretched over my derriere was white.  I swear I didn't intentionally walk into the Crossbar Motel with my ass on display.  For what it is worth, I was still one of the classier women in my age group who showed up for visitation that day, but that doesn't lessen my humiliation (and is another story for another day).

I almost threw the skirt out.  A see-through skirt?  Ain't nobody got time fo' dat.

But I am not one to waste.  So when my shame some time passed, I decided I could wear the skirt again... with some modifications.  When we had cleaned out my Grandma's room, there were slips and WinterSilks still in the original packaging and in sizes too small for my Grandma and some of it ended up at my house.  It probably could have all been tossed out or donated, but pajama queen that I am I mistakenly thought I could wear some of it to bed.  Which I never did.

Which is how I ended up sitting at my desk wearing pettipants under my skirt.  Yes, I said PETTIPANTS.   

There is a small part of me that doesn't wonder if those were bought for me to begin with.  It wouldn't have been unusual for my Grandma to buy something for me, stick it somewhere and forget about it.  This time, however, I think something she mistakenly bought a few sizes too small just ended up being exactly what I needed.

And as much as I hate them, somewhere my Grandma probably feels like she finally won the modesty war and is really proud of me for finally wearing the right undergarments.  The fact that she bought them is probably the icing on the cake.  Nothing anyone can say will convince me that old woman isn't out there somewhere gloating.

I guess there's really only one thing left to say.... Thanks, Grandma. 


  1. Oh my goodness I was giggling the whole time! Wonderfully delightful. . That's how I found this! ;-)

  2. LOL - I chuckled all the way through. My gran used to ask the same question. And the answer was (is) always no.

  3. Ha! I also have been through the prison security system (my ex husband ended up there at one point) and so I know EXACTLY how you were feeling!! Bwhahahaha. So I probably shouldn't be laughing so hard, huh?!

    1. Oh man... it's just... yeah. Sometimes all you can do is laugh.

  4. You're awesome Ash, great blog,lots of giggles. 😉 Your Grandma sounds like a class act.

  5. Found your Blog when lokking guessed it pettipants! Great writing & just an still smiling after LOL. Thank you so much