Dear Readers, here is the Prime Minister of Canada during a recent physically distanced question period:
Please take note, if you will, of our fearless leader’s very noticeable lack of a recent haircut.
You’ve already noticed the lack of recent haircut. Maybe you read an article on his lack of recent haircut. Maybe you saw that video meme of him sweeping his hair back from his face during a press briefing.
Of course Trudeau hasn’t had a haircut; all the barbers and hairdressers are sitting at home waiting out the pandemic, like so many of the rest of us.
Yet I keep hearing from friends about their hair growing out and how badly they need a haircut.
Friends, if the Prime Minister can go on camera in front of millions of people every day and reassure them with hair that is at least two months’ past its trim-by date, you can sit in your house in your pajamas and facetime with your aunt or boss with shaggy hair. Particularly considering both your aunt and your boss and everyone else you know also badly needs a trim.
And hair isn’t half of it, for some folks: body hair, eyebrows, facials, massages, gym time, sports practice: our bodies, in function and appearance, are maybe for the first time radically out of the control of their proprietors.
Of course, for some of us, that’s been more or less true all along. The one thing that is radically different is that we are all going through the non-control-of-our-appearance-ness of this at the same time. Which means it basically doesn’t count. No one can hold your haircut or your eyebrows or your roots or your reduced fitness level against you when our entire society is experiencing exactly the same thing. (Or they can try, but they’ll be dicks.) You have a once in a lifetime pass to let yourself go.
I don’t know. I personally am finding this part of it kind of amazing. Like: “oh hey, grey hair! And I can’t do a single fucking thing about it! That’s fantastic!”
I guess I could buy a box of hair dye, but I DON’T WANT TO.
This does of course reflect some privilege: for some of us, hair (for example) has been used as an active tool of discrimination and exclusion for a very long time (eg. black hair, and all the ways rules around it have been used to exclude and silence black people). And yet, it’s mostly white people I’ve seen complaining about their hair. So consider this directed solely towards those people who, like me, are at worst experiencing mild discomfort around lack of aesthetic services:
We can just collectively declare spring and summer 2020 the year in which it is trendy to look like you’d just been rescued by park rangers after being lost in Banff for a couple of months. It’s cool! It’s totally in style. It’s what everyone is doing, including the Prime Minister, and god knows he of the Vogue cover is not immune to vanity.
Let’s call it #SolidarityChic, and be done with it.
In that spirit, I share with you a few anti-vanity recent sewing projects, in all my shaggy, non-make-up, what-is-the-sun glory.
Masks, because it’s gone from fringe accessory to public participation necessity. I used the Marfy pattern and made it 1000% more complicated for myself by insisting on screen printing, stenciling, and stamping them in such a way that they match up across the centre seamline, for no reason whatsoever except that it sounded like an interesting challenge. This inspired a few cursing fits but I think they turned out pretty well in the end.
I also embarked on a large collection of stretchy pants with pockets.
For the first time in my life, I’ve needed them.
Tailored wool pants are not a great choice when you’re working 8 hours at the kitchen table with a puppy who insists on being on a lap and who sheds–not sparingly, but in a fluffy cloud that follows her like Pigpen’s dust. I have leggings of the “can wear them for an hour for a workout” variety, because their lack of pockets means I have to take off my insulin pump, which I can only do for so long.* I had two nice-ish pairs of non-stretchy jeans that are great for going out shopping or for casual Fridays at the office, but that I don’t generally wear for just hanging out.
And I had exactly one pair of stretchy jeans with pockets comfortable enough to sit at my new kitchen-table-office for hours at a time, but also seven years old and starting to wear through the knees.
So I ordered myself some leggings fabrics from Discovery Fabrics and went through the stash for any stretchy bottom-weight stretch cottons I could make into pants and went to work.
First up: two pairs of Jalie Eleanore jeans.
I have never, ever before in my life owned or wanted pull-on jean-like pants. But these were desperate times. I quickly drafted a simple pocket in the front seam (the one that looks like a pocket, but isn’t) and made one pair from an extremely stretchy blue twill with a snakeskin like embossed pattern on it from Downtown Fabrics, and another in a fantastic huge floral print with less stretch but just enough to make these work (from another Queen W store, but I forget which one).
God, I miss Queen West.
It is Jalie, so of course the sizing is impeccable and everything lines up. I can’t comment on the instructions since only partial ones were included with the pattern (which directs you to their website for the rest). But the partial directions get you through to the faux fly just fine, and if you’ve made pants before, you know what the rest is anyway.