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Broke-Ass Style: The Secret to Happiness is in Your Pants

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These are my resort-themed Mom capris:

They’re covered in colorful hibiscus-print, and have the names of exotic locales like “Martinique” and “St. Lucia” stamped all over them, in a font that can only can be described as “Tiki-esque.”  They’re high-waisted and saggy-legged and cut at the most unflattering part of my gams (lower-calf).  They’re also damn comfortable, which is why I have dubbed them my “vacation pants.”  I wear my vacation pants because I can’t afford to go on a real vacation.  In Paradise Lost, Milton writes about creating a Heaven out of Hell, so why can’t I create an all-inclusive, beachside, umbrella-cocktailed Sandals resort out of New York City’s steamy-ass Chinatown?  Whenever I’m feeling like I need to relax, I just put on my Mom-Goes-to-the-Caribbean vacay capris and let it all hang out.

Sometimes I only wear my vacation pants for about an hour.  I’ll slip into those flower-emblazoned puppies, paint my nails periwinkle, think about RuPaul, and everything will be right in my world.  Then again, sometimes I get super stressed, and feel like I need more of an extended stay in my Mom-pris.  Last weekend, I wore my vacation pants for three straight days, in the similar way that a profusely sweaty guy named Frank– who lives in his Ma’s basement and turned down a spot in the documentary Guys and Dolls— would wear the same grease spot-covered green sweatpants for days on end.  In our vacation pants, Frank and I can just “do us.”  Frank’s slimy Little Smokies fingers can tremble as he anxiously plays WoW  to distract himself from awaiting Tabitha’s return from the Real Doll doctor in California.  I can do something called “Rainbow Shots,” unsuccessfully attempt to steal a psychic’s pet cat because I feel that she is being neglected, walk 26 blocks home, and be wrongly convinced by my friend Mike that I need to “spend more time on” my boyfriend’s “chocolate chips” (thanks for putting me in a really embarrassing situation, Michael).  The point is, you don’t have to be afraid to be tacky in your vacation pants.  In your vacation pants, you can be the truest incarnation of yourself.

Clearly, everyone should own a pair of vacation pants.  Not only should they be comfortable (sweatpants, Aladdin pants, Mom-pris, Mom jeans, or anything else that a middle-aged suburban lady or MC Hammer would wear are my personal recommendations), they should make you feel confident.  Although my vacation pants make me look and act like an alcoholic divorcee on Mom’s Night Out (well-worn copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, and failed attempt at seducing oldest son’s best friend not included), I feel strangely sexy in them.  That’s the magical power of the vacation pant– no matter how much of a weirdo you might look like, you feel so free that you can’t help but exude a certain air of hot confidence.  So pick a fabric, print and cut that really express who you are.  For inspiration on this front, might I present you with a pic of the pioneer the of vacay pants, Jeff Lebowski:

Lavender-hued, elastic waist, vaguely Guatemalan, stretched out and faded… and effortlessly cool.  Clearly, The Dude values Doing His Thang above all, and that’s what vacations pants are all about.  So get creative with flowy silks, roomy bellbottoms, raver-style baggy neon cargos, exhibitionist-chic fishnet harem pants a la my BFF, Lee (seen below), or fun floral numbers like Queen B post-partum (also seen below).  When simultaneously kickin’ back and displaying your insides to the world, the secret is in your pants (not like, underneath your pants… within!  Within the actual pants!).  Vacation pants are all about relaxation and having fun, so select whatever style screams “LEISURE!” to you.

Unlike most actual vacations or things Beyonce owns, vacation pants shouldn’t be expensive.  I scored mine at a thrift store for $2.99.  The Dude probably found his while stoned and wandering past a church rummage sale.  Frank’s Ma bought his on blue light special at Wal-Mart.  So, when scouting your own vacation pants, head no further than nearest bargain bin– let me assure you, places like the Salvation Army are rife with funky pants in every color, size and taste, and they’re usually dirt cheap because used pants are the underdogs of the clothing world.  Just like Howie from the Backstreet Boys (who really did have the best voice), thrift store pants often get outshone by their flashier counterparts– dresses and shirts.  By making cheap, “wild bottoms” the focus of your outfit, you’re honoring underdogs everywhere, as well as a sizeable cross-section of the gay community.

Like me, you may not be able to afford a real exotic getaway this summer.  But that doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve easy, breezy, sometimes cray-cray summertime freedom without even leaving your janky ol’ neighborhood.  Just don your comfiest, self-expressing-est, statement making-est pair of pants… and let the vacation vibes come to you.  Even the most glamorous of globetrotters gotta stay local, catch up on their Drag Race, and pay attention to their boyfriends’ chocolate chips sometimes.

Photo credits: Rusty Zipper, me, Brava Tuesdays, Shot in the City, Boi Genius

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Carrie Laven - Pretty Penniless

Carrie Laven - Pretty Penniless

Carrie Laven is a natural-born storyteller from California, but she
lives in New York now. She likes dogs, nail art, and Mexican food,
but mostly she likes scoring sweet deals at thrift stores. She tends
to have a flair for the dramatic.