Let's start at the beginning, though. My policy with clothing is to make each piece last as long as possible. I keep them clean. I keep them in good repair for the most part. And I don't purposefully do anything to needlessly damage them.
I am a bigger man. For the quite a while, my size of pants was about the last on the rack at most stores. The variety wasn't always great, but I could usually find a pair or two that I liked (for fairly cheap, I might add). Then one day, my size disappeared. I didn't change sizes. They just stopped being carried. Everywhere.
I was forced to go looking for pants at those stores that are named in just such a way to try to convince you that you're definitely in the right place, but not as to insult you so much that you'd never come back. Now I found my self at the bottom of the rack. Again with limited variety, but good choices. Well, for a while I was able to find decent pairs, including two of the most comfortable that I've owned in a long time. Now my size has been fading away again. The last time I went, I found zero pairs that worked for me.
This was a serious problem for me because I was down to only three pairs of passible pants (black, white, and grey). The inner thigh and the seam in the middle are the two weak points for any pair of pants that I own. About a month ago, one failed catastrophically and the other two were about to go as well (white, small hole in the thigh, and grey, seam coming apart). The black pair happened to fail while I was at work with a huge hole in the thigh and I didn't notice until I got home, much to my extreme embarrassment. I then noticed the wear on the other two after that. The white pair had a small hole in the thigh and the grey had the middle seam fraying.
I was out of pants with nowhere stocked in my size. There's nothing quite like that feeling of dread that comes from not having appropriate clothing. Of working in an office environment. Of taking public transit every morning and evening. Luckily, I did have a pair of blue pants that I had bought years ago that I never wear because they are too heavy for the weather at most times of the year and chafe like... insert comparison here.
I have avoided buying clothes online because there is no way to know if anything will actually fit, what the quality of the materials were, or if I'd like the feel of them. I had no choice now. I dropped $100 on three pairs of pants and waited the excruciatingly long time for them to be shipped, alternating between the blue pair and the grey pair (which was a little easier to hide the damage). They finally arrived today. All three fit, but are one size smaller than I'm used to. It seems the online variety is about as limited as it had been in the stores to a certain extent.
Ultimately, though, the episode is over. I can be confident about my pants. And I hope to God that this episode does not repeat itself any time soon. Or ever.
It does make me think, though, about those that really just have no option at all. A hole in the thigh or a split or frayed seam may not matter all that much as long as it covers most of them and/or keeps them warm. The embarrassment of knowing that they are always potentially exposed in some way and that there's nothing that can be done. Maybe add a patch or two. Duct tape. Only draws attention to the damage, though. Doesn't change their worth as a human being, but it sure makes it hard to feel human at all.