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Hey man, nice pants
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Hey man, nice pants

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Jim Harbaugh (copy)

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh enjoys his $8 Walmart pants.

I think I spent nearly an hour at a local department store trying on pants. I worked up a sweat, with all that changing and hauling in various sizes of jeans. There are so many different kinds of jeans. Skinny, slim, relaxed, boot cut, slim relaxed, skinny boot cut, non-relaxed. OK maybe I made a few of those up. Or did I? 

Sometimes during my free time I think about pants. Why does one pair of jeans in a 34-inch waist feel like it's choking the appendix out of me while another 34 waist falls down even with a belt? I have some 36 waist pants that feel a lot tighter than a 34 I own. Sometimes what I really think I need is a 35 waist, but those don't exist. One of the reasons for the pants discrepancies is I recently learned about vanity sizing, where the actual measurement of jeans is larger than the size printed on the label. And it various by manufacturer.

I found what I thought were a nice-fitting pair of 36-inch pants just before Christmas. But I was able to remove them without undoing the button, zipper or belt. I asked a friend if that was normal. 

"Yea, probably not," she said. 

Once last summer while enjoying lunch in the patio of a downtown Indianapolis restaurant a gentleman walked by about my size and I found his pants admirable. 

"Hey man, where'd you get those pants," I asked. He kept walking. 

Maybe I'll just wear cargo sweats. A combination of cargo pants and sweats. Sweatpants with pockets on the side between the waist and knees. I saw a dude wearing them on campus at Valparaiso University the other day. Leisurely walking around without a care in the world. Clearly enjoying his cargo sweats.

A lot of the kids today are wearing something now called jogger pants, or "joggers." You've probably seen them. Every department store has a section devoted to them. They look comfortable. But I don't think you can wear them unless you're under 22. 

Maybe in a few years they'll be scorned by youth. "Hey look at that guy," they'll say at a party. "He's wearing jogger pants." 

We used to say that about Cavaracci Man. Cavaracci pants were high-waisted with folds and loops. An 80s thing. But a decade later we'd see the same guy at parties strutting around in them. It's just Cavaracci man. 

Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh doesn't worry about pants. About a year ago it was news that the million-dollar coach prefers $8 khaki pants from Walmart. 

"If I wear them every day then you don't have to spend time thinking about what to wear," he told HBO's "Real Sports."

I'll continue to think about pants. 


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Lake County reporter

Rob covers urban affairs and other matters in Crown Point, St. John, Winfield and beyond. Previously he covered Valparaiso, Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. He's also written for various magazines and pens a culture blog for The Times.

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