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The Case for Backup Pants

July 9, 2012

L-A: I spent the day out and about, exploring the province and then came home and decided to watch one episode of Sports Night, which turned into 10 episodes (and I’m sorry Sports Night fans, I’m not yet feeling the love. I should love it. Everything is there: Aaron Sorkin’s quick and snappy dialogue, Peter Krause, Josh Charles, Joshua Malina. But I’m not feeling it. Is it the ill-timed and inconsistent laugh track? Is it the very 1998ness of it all? It was a bad time for a lot of us, not least of which – Felicity Huffman’s hair). This is all to say: it’s 10:30 on a Sunday and I just remembered to write something. Oops.

But, it’s also 10:30 at night and I literally just purchased the following from J.Crew:

This may not seem remarkable, because let’s face it, even when you call them the Addison chino in British Khaki, they’re still a pair of khakis.

But here’s the thing. These aren’t the first pair of Addison Chinos in British Khaki. No. These are the backup pants. And it was with great debate and guilt and unreasonable anxiety that I purchased them. Backup pants seem like an unnecessary luxury. Like, one isn’t enough, I need to own two pairs of the exact same pants in the exact same colour. Or better yet, all the pairs in all the colours. But I firmly believe I do need to own these backup pants.

My debate went something like this (it actually went on for two days, so I’ll just give you the highlight reel):

L-A: I really love my new khakis. I fear the day they become so worn and frayed I can no longer wear them in polite society.

Inner L-A: What are you? Made of money? You only need the one pair.

L-A: Or I spill coffee on them next week.

Inner L-A: Right. Entirely likely. This is why you can’t have nice things.

L-A: But I want nice things. And I know my pants will die and I will still want them. I will dream of them. Mourn them.

Inner L-A: We’re still talking about pants?

L-A: Yes. But to be fair, they are really nice pants.

Inner L-A: That’s excessive. There are children in the world without pants.

L-A: Yes, but my workplace does require I wear them. And they’d probably prefer I show up to work without coffee stains on my pants.

Inner L-A: Fair. But you can find a new pair another day.

L-A [whining]: But what if I can’t? What if next season khakis only come in skinny cropped styles?

Inner L-A: So you propose we spend $45 on a pair of pants you don’t plan on wearing any time soon.

L-A: Something like that. It will live in the closet with the backup dress.

Inner L-A: I am officially registering my objection.

L-A: There is a PayPal checkout!

Inner L-A: I hate you.

L-A: Can I get them in navy as well?

What? I’m living alone right now with two cats, who else am I supposed to talk to about my online shopping habits?


However, despite the objections of my inner self, I think the Backup Pants are necessary. If I had a dime for every time I found myself wishing for a pair of pants that no longer existed and were no longer for sale, well, I’d probably have a dollar. Instead, I’m left wishing I still had that pair that fit well and were comfortable and looked good with a blazer at a meeting and on a Saturday when I’m out for a drink with friends. Which is why I ignored my inner self and took the leap.


Sure there are cons – like losing/gaining weight and they no longer fit. Or I actually manage not to need them. But there’s also the pros – when I wear out the current pair, I’ll have a brand new, crisp pair in the closet and I won’t be trolling ebay in search of a pair of pants that no longer exist.  Despite the teeny bit of guilt, I think the backup pants are sometimes a good thing. And when I wear the current pair to work tomorrow, I won’t fear losing them forever to a cup of coffee, a nail sticking out, something weird and sticky on a bus seat that I’d rather not know the origin of.


I won’t try to ruin them, but I won’t have the unreasonable anxiety that  I could one day be without my pants – all thanks to Backup Pants…
Ally: I could have saved you at least an hour of anxiety (or however long it took  you to write this post) by reminding you of the time when I spilled my “shot in the dark” (light roast with a shot of expresso! It was that kind of day!) all over my off-white pants.


It was humiliating enough to tweet about it. Where the fuck were my Addison chino in British Khaki then, my friend?

Speaking of Addison chino in British Khaki, can we talk about Justin Trudeau at the Calgary Stampede for a hot second?


Admittedly, something bad has happened to me after reading 50 Shades of Shit. I am now the female voter that would consider voting for Justin Trudeau for Prime Minister because he can Tim McGraw a cowboy hat. How do you Tim McGraw a cowboy hat?


I’m not saying I agree with the chest hair. “You should undo more buttons on your shirt”, said no one ever to any male in the history of the universe. I’m just stating the clear fact that he makes cowboy hats hot. L-A and Official Unpaid Intern Krista just vomited all over their keyboards. For them, I dedicate this cheesy moment in country music history:

On a Monday, no less!

P.S. I’ve been laughing to myself for the last five minutes thinking that hijacking L-A’s posts (which I do often) and turning them into conversations about Tim McGraw and Justin Trudeau, is basically the blog equivalent of the Rick Roll. Or maybe they are nothing alike, but I’m going with it.



15 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2012 8:45 am

    Fret not, I can get on board with cowboy hats and tight dungarees and men of varying degrees of wordlessness and sullenness. In the interest of fairness, you should have posted the pic of PMSH in a leather vest and string tie as a counter to your argument. Google “Stephen Harper leather vest.” Um, Ally, this gives me ideas: political fashion post?

    I appreciate the gesture, but I think I barfed harder from Taylor Swift’s tendrils of adolescent pain than I would have had the country music been delivered in Dolly Parton form. Cheerio, dearios!

    • la permalink*
      July 9, 2012 11:32 pm

      There’s a very good reason romance novels like cowboys. And there’s an even better reason why 99% of politicians should avoid Western Wear. Justin Trudeau defies the logic of political fashion and wears it well. Unlike that leather vest. The very thought of it still gives me nightmares. It scarred my retinas.

  2. Sarah M permalink
    July 9, 2012 9:04 am

    I am all in favour of back-up-khakis. There is a grey jersey skirt from Club Monaco I wish I had bought twice, even years later. When I finally had to throw it out I had a mini-funeral for it. I saw a woman wearing it the other day and nearly mugged her for it.

    • la permalink*
      July 9, 2012 11:33 pm

      I hate when I see someone wearing a piece I’ve lost. I seriously want to offer the person money to give me the clothes off their back. Or pick a fight with them.

  3. Lara permalink
    July 9, 2012 9:28 am

    Purchasing back-up pants= GENIUS! I have this one pair of jeans that I bought at Old Navy (dubbed “The Flirt”, which I think is hilarious). Well, I walked in there on Thursday, and saw that all of “The Flirts” were on clearance. So I bought up the last 2 pair in my size, and am now the proud owner of 3 pairs of those beautys. Double back-ups!!!! Don’t feel guilty, feel awesome! Future you will thank yourself :)

    • la permalink*
      July 9, 2012 11:29 pm

      Now that I’ve got the Backup Pants in the mail, I’m feeling good about the purchase. In fact, I can’t believe I ever doubted the purchase. My Future Self needs to have a chat with my Inner Self about why we need Backup Pants. Because I know I’m always sad when a pair dies and I can’t find a replacement (have recently been trying to find a new pair of GAP jeans – exact pair, but one size down. It seems to be mission: impossible because GAP seems to have changed their jeans in some weird way so they don’t fit. sadface).

  4. July 9, 2012 9:54 am

    I am a big fan of buying back-ups of beloved items of clothing. I do this a lot because it seems if I love a particular fit of pant or shirt the store will almost certainly discontinue it – an example being Gap Essential fit jeans (I’ve now even worn out my back up pair).

    I know everyone has their preferences but I just don’t think cowboy hats look good on anyone – even Justin Trudeau.

    • allygarbs permalink
      July 9, 2012 10:08 am

      That’s fair. Again, I blame 50 Shades of Grey for rendering me stupid.

  5. Meghan permalink
    July 9, 2012 10:13 am

    I feel you; I bought a t-shirt once because my husband lost the first one in the laundry…it was found many months later in his drawer. When it comes to the perfect pants I endorse buying one in every color then you can wear perfect pants everyday :)

    • la permalink*
      July 9, 2012 11:23 pm

      I honestly wanted to buy them in even more colours. The only thing stopping me is my fear of owning white pants. I’m not sure I’m ready for white yet.

      I’ve also lost shirts to husband’s doing laundry. Fortunately, it was a similar scenario and the shirt was later discovered hidden among his shirts.

  6. Rhia permalink
    July 9, 2012 12:38 pm

    I have never regretted buying duplicates of beloved clothing. Only not doing it.

    • la permalink*
      July 9, 2012 11:27 pm

      It’s true. My inner self needs to get a grip and let me buy the backup clothes.

  7. Allene! permalink
    July 9, 2012 1:45 pm

    Justin Trudeau is so dreamy!!!

    Also good call on the backup pants. I have a pair of jeans that I can only get at a store in the States and I’m already feeling anxiety about the day when I have to replace them and won’t find anything comparable here.

    • la permalink*
      July 9, 2012 11:26 pm

      I’m not sure why I questioned my need for Backup Pants. I remember when a favourite pair of jeans started to die. I had a feeling of panic until I got an email from Ally letting me know they were on Beyond the Rack (and once again, didn’t buy more Backup Pants. I don’t learn lessons well).

  8. Maia permalink
    July 26, 2012 9:14 pm

    Is it just me or is Justin Trudeau channelling Prince Eric in a cowboy hat?

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