So I think pants are terrible. You can like them, that’s fine, but the last time I met a pair of pants I actually liked, it was 1987 and they had rainbow-colored palm trees printed on them, and an elastic waist.
I swore off pants altogether several years ago now; I keep two old pairs of jeans on hand, just in case I ever suffer some unforeseen Pants Emergency, but I’m pretty sure I could probably get rid of them altogether at this point and survive just fine.
These days I wear dresses exclusively, and given that I live in Boston, I get frequent questions from people who are concerned about the risk of my freezing to death in the winter. The popular winter-wardrobe mythology seems to hold that pants are the warmest garments ever created.
NAY, my friends -- indeed, I was far colder when I wore pants than I am in dresses all through the cold-weather season. The secret? Layering. Here’s what I rely on.
1. Tights. I wear a lot of tights. I prefer the nylon/lycra plus size tights from We Love Colors (don’t get the straight nylon ones -- they suck) for their thickness, awesome colors, and durability. Also their sizes, which are available to fit up to 375 pounds of bod.
My best resource for plus-size textured tights is Avenue, which has some great lace and fishnet varieties good for wearing over colored tights. Just remember, whereever you’re shopping, the key to a happy life in tights is Lycra, y’all. If the tights you’re looking at don’t have Lycra, drop the mic and walk away.
2. Leggings. Yeah, I know there’s a lot of anti-leggings sentiment in the world, but for warmth on a wintry day you can’t beat them, especially if you’re layering them over tights, as I occasionally do. We Love Colors also makes sturdy leggings in their signature rainbow of colors, and they come in both shiny and matte versions up to a 3x, which fits my size-26-wearin’ ass just fine.
Another amazing option are teggings, available from Re/Dress NYC’s online shop. They describe teggings as “What if tights and leggings had a baby?” It’s a pretty accurate description; teggings are nylon and spandex, thicker than tights, but not so thick as leggings, and wildly stretchy and comfortable. One size fits up to a 5X! They’re pretty great, and also good for layering. (I am wearing a pair right now, come to think of it.)
3. Socks. I don’t mean teeny little ankle socks. I mean big beefy yank-em-all-the-way-up-your-leg socks. Also legwarmers. Don't hate.
I have been buying ridiculous numbers of over-the-knee socks and legwarmers from Sock Dreams for yeeeeaaars now, and they virtually never disappoint. It helps if you know your calf measurement, because they list the max width of most of the socks on their site -- and there are a LOT of socks here. They also helpfully have a separate section of socks that fit at least a size 14 pair o' legs, which, well, is barely plus size by a lot of folks’ estimation, but still it’s a good place to start.
For warmth, I’m partial to the Harajuku Super Loose Socks and the Long Cuffable Scrunchables. Sock Dreams also has a wide selection of woolen socks, but I guess I’ve been living in New England for too long, and that’s way more warmth than I need.
So there you go. Put on a dress, throw on a cardigan, wrap your legs up in cool stuff, jam it all into some awesome boots, and you’re far warmer than you’d ever be in a pair of dumb old pants.