These Magical Pants Will Change Your Life!
I am not a big wearer of pants. That’s not to say that I run around naked, but rather that I wear a lot of skirts and dresses. The main reason for this is that a great-fitting pair of pants is harder to find than a good man. Those of you skulking around on Match.com (Yes you, India!) and trolling the craigslist personals (Hi, Mandy!) know what I’m talking about.
10 years ago, I plunked down almost $400 for a single pair of pants by the designer Alvin Valley after an actress turned me on to them. (Hint: She was in "Desperately Seeking Susan.")
Every person in my life thought I was a total lunatic, as I was pretty much eating ramen at the time, having left my scintillating career in high-end retail to randomly pursue being a costume designer. They were technically right, but then they saw my ass in them. Alvin's pants lift it, hug it, smooth it and love it.
I took these 10-year-old pants that I clearly haven't worn in ages (I have the most casual job now -- look at that hanger mark!) to work with the idea that I'd ask one of the costumers to take a picture of my butt and then felt like an idiot doing so. I ended up taking it myself in the fitting room. Which is wayyyy less pathetic, right??
These pants are pure, sweet black magic. I was wearing them during the hockey game at Staples Center when my dude told me he loved me. (So romantic, I know.) We were on TV at that game because of the Alvin Valley pants! It could have also been because I had pink hair at the time. But, I mean, Kate Moss wears Alvin Valley pants! It had to be the pants.
Alvin Valley obviously knows something about cutting for women’s bodies that few designers do. Even my favorite Theory pants don’t fit this well. I think his secret is the wide waistband. He also cuts his fabric on the bias, and it acts as a built-in compression garment that holds everything in place. They are a butt/thigh/gut-flattering cotton-lycra blend that defies description. They lift and tuck, then lift some more.
I love this quote from Alvin: “I wanted women to feel they could take their pants off in front of a date and not have to show their Spanx.” Why isn’t this man running for office? He's got a pretty strong platform right there.
Alvin Valley sadly got out of the business sometime around 2006. The life of an independent fashion designer is a very tough row to hoe. People always suggest to me that I should start my own clothing line. These persons were clearly not around to see my single Home Economics sewing project in high school that was actually, now that I think about it, a pair of pants!
The only issue with them was that one leg was a very wide palazzo pant style, while the other was a very slim leg cigarette pant cut. TRENDSETTER. Do they even teach Home Economics anymore? I don’t blame Alvin for packing it in and heading off into the sunset. Only Karl lives the fantastic Parisian atelier dream.
Luckily I somehow managed to afford to buy a second pair of those black pants in the next size up. That has enabled me to keep wearing them all these years, both on skinny days and on “fat” days.
If you find a clothing item that you truly love, I highly recommend buying a double one size larger. It has kept me from self-harm on many occasions. But maybe I am unusual, like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon, expanding and contracting in size depending on what’s going down in my life.
Finally I’ll get to the point of this story: ALVIN VALLEY IS BACK IN BUSINESS. And the best part? His beautifully designed pants are less expensive than before! He has accomplished this with the help of the good ol' Internet, cutting out the middleman and allowing him to sell directly to customers. This pair is the gold standard, the classic wide legged, wide waistband pant:
Alvin Valley extra-wide waistband pant, $235.00.
You kids know how cheap I usually am. I spurge on certain things, but honestly, my house could burn to the ground and the contents of my wardrobe could be replaced in an afternoon at Target. But trust that I will be saving up for a new pair of Alvin’s pants, as my old ones are threadbare to the max.
Since I was a kid, I am somehow always blowing out the knees and the seat of my pants. My mom always made me wear Toughskins jeans from Sears, with the reinforced knees. (I think this both hampered and spurred me into my chosen costuming career.)
Alvin Valley skinny crop pant, $195.00.
Alvin Valley two-tone trouser, $295.00.
If you can find the cash to fork over for a pair of these trousers, you won’t be disappointed. They are beautifully cut, timeless works of art. If I still had an office job, I’d buy 50 pairs and wear nothing but them. They hold up beautifully. They also somehow repel dirt. (Not that I know this from years of not being able to afford to dryclean said pants.)
Alvin Valley high-waisted skinny pant, $295.00.
Alvin Valley super high banded pant, $295.00.
You can buy Alvin's pants unhemmed to accommodate any inseam. If you have a 36" inseam like Daryl Hannah, this is stellar news. I do think the photos on the site could be 10 percent more flattering to the pants, as these pics don't do their transformative powers justice. His pants are pure sex on a stick.
Welcome back, Alvin Valley.
(I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison)