Nancy Roman

Vanishing Waist-land

Last weekend, for the first time in five months, I treated myself to an all-day shopping excursion.

I bought shoes and makeup and jewelry, so I was a happy girl.  But I was also on a mission for some practical stuff.

I have at least thirty sweaters and a dozen white camisoles, (“I’m Sticking With It“) so I’m all set for tops (for a month, anyway).

But I needed pants.  I have my whisker jeans, of course (“Gullible’s Travails“). And one gorgeous pair of dark green velour jeans.  Luckily, (mysteriously really) all my old pants are too big.

It’s cold where I work.  And I just can’t work cold. So I’ve played the only sympathy card I have – old age – which shows you just how desperate I am – and got myself a space heater.

And now my office gets up to about 78 degrees by the end of the day. But I’m still cold in the morning, and very cold if I have to go visit anyone else in the company. Actually, that last bit is pretty rare; everyone wants to visit ME during the winter months.

Anyhow, even with the space heater, I like to dress WARM when it’s cold.

So I went out looking especially for corduroy jeans.

I love cords.  They are soft and warm, and that make that sweet little whistle to accompany your walk.

I found nice cords.  Three pair in fact.  I bought the requisite black and brown.  And purple. (Don’t ask; I’m already sorry.)

But here’s the thing:

As I was putting them away, I noticed something very odd.

Here’s a new pair of jeans:

Here’s my old go-to jeans from four years ago:

What has happened to the zipper?

It seems that my old jeans had about ten inches of zipper.  My new ones have about four inches.

I’ve lost about six inches in four years.

I consider myself amazingly stylish. I don’t think I had the Old-Man-In-Miami look four years ago.  My pants certainly didn’t feel like they were introducing themselves to my rib-cage.

But then again, I don’t feel like Shakira now. I’m no Dancing-With-The-Stars-Bikini-Waxing low rider.

And I don’t think I have Plumber’s Crack when I sit down (although I am reaching behind me right now to make sure – because I know my husband would be gleeful and silent if I’m ass-revealing). But no; I’m okay.

So what is it?  How can I have lost six inches of material between my crotch and my waist and not feel any different? Am I losing my middle?  Is it another side-effect of the passage of time?

I decided I needed to conduct some scientific research.  So I went to the Center For Old Lady Observation:  Wal-Mart.

I strolled around watching all the little white-haired pastel-clad five-footers.

And, YES.  They HAVE lost their waists. Their boobs and their hips are about two inches apart.

No wonder the old gals wear elastic waist pants.

But I hope in ten years when I’m pushing the Wal-Mart cart, the fashion industry will have invented the two inch zipper.

Don’t make me wear elastic waist pants!


  1. funny… I don’t know where that middle place is between hip/stylish and practical. The low rise thing is not for me, nor suited to my body. I am very impressed with your decreasing waistline…wish I could say the same!


  2. Center For Old Lady Observation: Wal-Mart. LOVE IT!! I agree with the above comment: low rise is not for me. And I hope I NEVER have to wear elastic waist pants. YUK.


  3. RVingGirl

    ha ha Funny girl.
    I hate those vanishing zippers too. It actually means the jeans sit lower which is supposed to be stylish but in reality, you have to keep hoisting them up. I just can’t get used to the waist band being BELOW my waist, such as it is!


  4. Thank God someone else noticed this! I have been compensating by wearing longer tops (and increasingly shorter underwear)! Perhaps since clothes are made overseas now, they are made for THEIR short figures. Thanks for the observation too. I have a good 4 inches between my boobs and hips so I am good to go for a year or two! Great post!


  5. So true…and funny. I hate the low-riders. How are we to look stylish nowadays? I don’t want the midriff showing but don’t want to look like Fred Mertz either. Great post!


  6. Noooooo, not elastic-waist pants! But they’re insidious. We have to be constantly on our guard. The other day, I was in a fashionable boutique (NOT Wally-world), and the chic little saleschild offered me “comfort jeans”. ELASTIC-WAIST JEANS!!!! How frickin’ old do I look, anyway?!?

    Granted, they’re all sleek and spandex-y, and there’s no puckered-up elastic at the back. I admit, I tried them on. They looked great, and they were… comfortable. But still. Ain’t never gonna happen. Not on this body. I’ll take a 2-inch zipper if I have to.


    • Now you’ve got me curious… but… not yet.


  7. Doc

    Wal-mart is one of the best places to visit when a woman is feeling less than sexy. Somehow it put’s that word into perspective. Ladies of indeterminate age with less space between boobs and waist than previously enjoyed, fret naught. There are men like me who love women like you! That is to say, women my own age!!


    • Hooray for men who like women their own age!


  8. I’m as mystified as you about the zipper, but not about the purple cords. Purple cords sound awesome!


  9. As a social science researcher, I must tell you that your site for observational research is biased. You should also go to Lane Bryant and Target. You may find zippers in the 5″ range if you’re very observant.

    Excellent post. I laughed out loud at the Wal Mart line, and I see I’m not the only one!


  10. I amazed by your strength to subject yourself to the various arrays of fashion styles one sees at Wal-mart.


  11. Well, I have elastic waist pants. Not for public viewing, though, they are a purely private pleasure. In public I suffer in little zipper jeans and pants. As soon as I get home my shoes come off so my feet are comfy then the suffer slacks hit the floor and on go the elastic waist heaven drawers.


  12. Purple? Very adventurous and this I gotta see. What do you plan to wear for a top?


    • I tried my best to make purple pants sophisticated (but I’m not sure that it’s possible). I wore the purple cords with a pale green sweater and lavender cami.


  13. At 60, I’ve noticed some quite similar things . . . hm. Don’t know where those parts go to. I can’t find them anywhere else. Let me know when you figure out the mystery of the missing parts. 🙂


  14. Oh, dear! I’ve noticed extreme short-waistedness among women over 65 or so.. I thought it had something to do with the boobs migrating ever Southward….. or people generally shrinking. But there’s something else going on, too, you say? Oy! Something else to look forward to!


  15. Sounds like a successful shopping trip. Agree– no elastic waist pants for me either. To yoga I go.


  16. How is it that you always make me laugh? I like to tell others to ‘shoot me’ if they catch me in polyester and with a waist that is elastic. Too funny!


  17. I agree with Marcie — you always make me laugh. When I see you have a new post, I wait until I can savor it because I know it will be funny, observant, and wise.

    This one has helped me with a problem I’ve been too embarrassed to admit aloud (so I will do it here, in front of millions). I bought new pants a month or so ago, and have found at surprising moments, generally involving clients, that my belly was peeking out between my top and my pants. Had I gained weight? Somehow, no. Had I shrunk my top? Again no. Now I have the answer — they shrunk the zipper. I am delighted. And I’m going to go get a donut to celebrate.


  18. Low rise jeans keep me pulling my jeans UP. All day. Don’t like the distraction. Some fit better than others but I feel I’m trying to be someone I’m not. Also am not into old lady elasticized pants pants. UGH. We used to go to FLORIDA for vacations about 25 years ago and the whole community of women there seemed to own shares in elasticized pants. Again UGH. I promised myself NEVER to be caught dead in them. And I won’t.

    Great post.


  19. amen, sister!!! **shakes fist** I’m so down with what you say… 😉


  20. When ever I shop for clothes with my teenage daughter she dishes out advice and I listen. She will tell me, “Mom stay away from the MOM jeans!”


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