Jul 22, 2008


SEATTLE – "I am so glad that those pants will be able to experience the landscape of BC this summer!" Liz says. "You are giving them back the life they once knew..."

The pants – trousers to you limeys – are High Northwest-Granola style, khaki with zippers that convert them to shorts. Oh yes. They scream, "I mortared-and-pestled the flour for my eight-grain pancakes. Now I will serve them with foraged jam and shade-grown, free-trade coffee deep in the wilderness, while leaving no trace, natch."

But we're on message: the pants and I are bound for Vancouver Island this summer, where I will cover hikes for Frommer's, while they cover my @ss. With any luck, I may even persuade various companions to mill ethical, artisanal pancake mix for me...

Even more importantly, I love the back-stories that derive from a clothing swap. Garments come alive, as friends – old and new – chatter over wine and cheese and cupcakes. Our hostess Jessica adopts the hot pink sweater I thrifted once, when geeking myself up to fall in love (didn't work). In return, I nab the poppy-print skirt she wore one Valentine's Day. We both beam, fashion phoenixes ascendent from the ashes of romances past.

"I bought that lime-green polka-dot Philly shirt in Thailand," Mia laughs. Other tales unfurl: Italian scarves, Chinese tailoring, NYC designer samples, the post-divorce size-two-of-sadness.

Clothes swaps always sounded ... you know ... all girlie. But I walk away beaming with a cleaner closet and the promise of some open-water swimming in the Sound.

I should have known: It's not like the Sex and the City crowd to trade around Manolos and glad rags...


  1. I had some trousers (pants) like that, they are excellent. I wore them loads until a washing accident melted the zips (zippers), it was a sad day.

  2. We now call these parties "credit crunchies, credit munchies." We swap gladrags and sadrags, pay each other in outdated shirts and rustle up a good meal from the money we (feel) we all saved. It's so "Sex and the coutry (SATC) 2008"

  3. Louche: forewarned is fore-armed. I shall only line-dry so the traveling pants don't suffer a sad fate like yours.

    At least you could take comfort in the pith helmet...

  4. Sascha: SATC, eh? How smutty are those Cotswold cyber-commuting villages anyway?

  5. In their youth, those pants could speak fluent Mandarin and the basic Cantonese and Thai pleasantries. However, their joint passport expired and they (leg by leg) began to cry out when American national parks were all they saw for three whole years. So, I am giving them a new horizon by hitching them to your star, Mlle. Amanda. Be free! Travel to Canada!

  6. Oh, the places we'll go! I'll be good to the traveling pants, Liz, I promise. In addition to BC sojourns, I'll help them sashay in South American jungles and lounge around beaches in the Pacific...

    I may, however, need to be forcibly restrained from bragging "my pants speak Mandarin" at every opportunity.

  7. Thanks again, by the way!

  8. Oh, it was my pleasure, of course! I always hoped they'd grow up with the confidence that they could travel the world. Will you send photos home? (Now I am starting to sound like my mother...)

  9. I can see a whole pants blog evolving here...