wearing my conference pants

I mean that literally, actually.

When I tell you I’m wearing my cranky pants, I don’t have a specific garment in my wardrobe that I wear when I’m being cranky. I can be cranky in any of my pants. I can even be cranky when I’m not wearing pants. (On the other hand, I do find it harder to be cranky in my flannel polar bear pajama pants.)

Today, though, is not a day for polar bear pajamas. Since I’ll be working at the conference, I need to look moderately professional. And while I can get away with wearing my cranky pants, I’m also wearing pants that seem to be my conference uniform. Black pants. (Which, now that I think about it, were also part of my uniform back when I did catering as an undergrad, and when I waited tables.) (Not the same black pants, mind you. This pair is relatively new.)

I submit to you that black pants are the single most common garment worn by women at professional conferences. This weekend, I will be on the lookout to test this hypothesis. I will attempt to take some rough quantitative measures. I predict that the rate of black pants will be greater than that of other categories of leg-and-rear-covering garment among females attending this conference.

What about you? Can you support my hypothesis? If you are a woman, and you attend professional conferences, do you wear (at least with greater frequency than your other categories of garment) black pants?

11 thoughts on “wearing my conference pants

  1. Hi Alejna —

    Out of curiosity: do you wear skirts or dresses? I used to but haven’t in years… trousers and shorts are my wardrobe staples these days. Far more comfortable — and I love that they have pockets that I can put stuff in. :)

  2. I alternate between black pants and grey pants if I want to dress up. Skirts are for rare special occasions.

    Generally, though, I wear jeans to work. One of the biggest selling points of working in a software development lab is that we can dress casually, and I’m a casual sort of dresser at heart.

  3. I only attend professional conferences in Portland, Oregon, where everyone wears jeans with fleece tops. The jeans are usually shades of blue. The black pants I own are either cords or fleece — I have three black fleece pants, in fact — one of which I’m wearing now.

    Do men wear at the professional conferences you attend also wear black pants? My husband goes to trade shows, not conferences. He wears brown.

  4. None of my black pants fit me anymore, so I guess my answer is “no”. If I am not presenting, I wear jeans, whereas if I have to present my work I do make some attempt to dress a bit less casually–this sometimes means a long skirt. However, since I am from California, what I consider dressy is actually pretty casual by, say, Bostonian standards, and I’m not sure I own anything that would be classified as “professional” at all, at least not in the category of lower-body-wear.
    If I had any nice black pants that fit, I probably would wear them to conferences. (But I’d be likely to wear a tunic/dress over them.)
    In fact, this is making me think I should go shopping for black pants.
    I’m looking forward to hearing the results of your conference pants study!

  5. i don’t think i own any black pants. one pair of black jeans, yes, but that doesn’t really count does it? all i wear, ever, is jeans. blue jeans. everywhere.

  6. i think the only black pants i own are made of leather, and i did wear those to conferences on occasion – particularly during the dreary months in geneva.

    no, wait. i also have a pair of black jeans. but i’m no romeo.

    mostly, though, when i was presenting, i wore suits. dark blue pinstripe, dark maroon, and i think i’ve got a dove gray one. i should check my closet – i haven’t put on a suit in awhile. which isn’t a bad thing.

  7. I’m all about the black pants. not that I have any conferences to go to, but they’re perfect for church, for teaching, for an evening at a restaurant. just last night we had cocktails (!!) and dinner with 2 older couples from church, and I settled on a pair of black pants and a dressy sweater, which ended up being the perfect attire.

    also, this post has made me yearn for some more pants posts. it’s been a long time.

    pretty soon, I’ll need some snow pants. sigh.

  8. So I’m playing catch-up here, but I can say that I spoke in front of the graduate student class today (100+) and very deliberately wore black pants.

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