Saturday, August 18, 2012


Wow, it's hard for me to think that in 48 short hours, I'll be getting ready to arrive back in the States. This has been a strange vacation and I'm very happy to be going home, although sad to be leaving Greece, which has become an adopted homeland. Today I celebrated our last weekend in Greece by shopping. Because? I'm classy that way.

More on that another time, because my first Greek shopping excursion was a couple of weeks ago, before we left for Sparta. We went to downtown Athens to our favorite neighborhoods (Monastiraki, Plaka) for some sedate walking and hanging out. I insisted on stopping in front of every store in the Monastiraki flea market that looked as if it might sell the colorful, flowy pants that every single Athenian girl seemed to be wearing this summer and last; my Holy Grail: harem pants.

After some aimless wandering, I pulled my husband into a hippie store, called, appropriately, The Hippie Shop. It sold everything from brightly colored blankets and prints to pants to ... vaguely South Asian-inspired decorations? In short, it was the kind of goofy, faux-Eastern store that would have not been out of place forty-something years ago. My kind of place. All the women who worked there looked ethereal and had nose rings (she wrote, jealously).

The pants that I was interested in were one-size: not elastic, but rather huge in the waist in order to be folded/tied according to one's preferences (see here for instructions). I would've loved an elasticized waist (and elasticized ankles, for the complete look) because of laziness, but I love the two pairs of pants I picked up.

The first pair is a more staid, "have people over while feeling comfy and casual" look:

Head cut off because I apparently don't know how to pose for photos anymore

Fun, right? These pants are pure cotton and love and so, so comfy. I actually wore them last night for the exact kind of scenario I described: my husband's best friend came over for dinner and hanging out and I just chilled with my comfy pants and a nursing top. No prob!

The second pair is a lot more fun, in a "I can only wear these around the house" type of way:

Woo! It's made of patches of what (is made to?) look like sari cloth. God knows how authentic they are, but they make for a lovely technicolor dreampant when I look down: I wore them all day today around the house and I lurved them. 

[On a side note, how amazing is that basic grey tank? I bought it today at H&M and am indignant at myself for not having owned it earlier...]

I don't think these are 'harem pants' in the technical sense, in that the ankle isn't tapered/elasticized, but they're exactly what I was looking for, so I'm stoked. 

In the meantime, does anyone else have a problem with the term 'harem pants'? I know it's a pretty accepted term in shopping for this kind of garment, but...should it be? Maybe it's my degree in area studies; maybe it's the perennial reading of Said on Orientalism, but... I think the usage of the word 'harem' adds an overly Orientalized (in the Said sense)/eroticized aspect to what is a simple piece of fabric. Anyone else have any thoughts? Am I overthinking this? 


  1. I love the pants...but in my mind, a harem pant always has an elasticized ankle. We may have to come up with a different name for these.

  2. I totally need to go to my own hippie store (not appropriately called such) and get another long flowy skirt. I have never been much for the comfy/flowy garments, but lately the world has been pushing me. I bought one and need another asap.

  3. Ahhhhh Plaka and the Monastiraki flea!

    I like your comfy pants so much, whatever they're called! Angie at You Look Fab uses the (to me) hilarious term "soft bottoms" for flowy unstructured pants and skirts. Soft market pants? Perfect with the simple grey tank.

    I share your trepidation about the term "harem pants."

  4. Thanks, Terri! You're right: they're not 'harem pants' the way they're usually advertised. The store sold them as "Thai fishermen's pants," although they're from Nepal. Fishermen's pants seems to be the universal code for these.

    Cassykins, flowy are the BEST! I miss my old flowy skirts and want to buy some more.

    Kelly!!! Soft bottoms! Yes! Exactly what these are. And, okay, I'm glad you share my issues. Because then I was thinking, "Am I perpetuating the Orientalist aspect of these pants by insisting that harem = erotic?! Is it my own Western, Orientalist eyes that are making this equation?" Then I decided, no, it wasn't. The term is problematic. :)