To dye for

A year or so ago, I found a pair of men’s Calvin Klein corduroy pants at TJ Maxx. They were exactly Jason’s size and the tag read ‘$14.99’ so I snapped them up.

I took them home where Jason tried them on. They fit very well. It was a good purchase, or so I thought.

But he’s worn them exactly one time since that day.

During a recent closet clear-out, I hoisted the pants into the air – ‘exhibit a’ for the invisible jury. ‘What about these,’ I asked. Since he never wore them, I assumed they no longer fit. But he tried them on again, and they fit just fine. So what was the problem?

‘It’s the color,’ he confessed.

I may have neglected to mention these corduroy pants are on the pale side of the color spectrum. Certainly not white, but much too light to be considered ‘khaki’. Apparently Mr. Johnson felt self-conscious about wearing ‘white’ pants in the middle of winter and worried he’d be the recipient of snickers and stares from colleagues and students alike. 

‘Well, why don’t we try dyeing them,’ I suggested, figuring it would be a cheap way to try and save a pair of perfectly good pants from the Goodwill pile. 

Many weeks, possibly months, later I found myself at Michael’s in the fabric paint etc. aisle. I saw the boxes of RIT Dye and leaned forward to choose a color. As I’d mulled over possible color choices in my head, I’d settled on ‘charcoal’. A benign choice…very little could go wrong. 

But of course RIT either doesn’t make a ‘charcoal’ dye or Michael’s doesn’t carry it. So I went with ‘navy’ since I figured the ‘pearl gray’ they did offer would still be fairly pale. And then it would just look like Jason was wearing dirty white pants in the middle of winter.

The process was easy enough – I loaded the pants into my washer (in this instance a top-loading washer would have been much better) and, after a while, poured the dye mixture into the soap dispenser. An hour and a bit later….the pants were blue.


I’d followed the instructions and bought two packets of dye (for using dark dye on very light colored items). In the basement, the pants looked fine, if a little denim-y blue. When I got to the bathroom to hang up the wet pants, I took another look. In the different light, they appeared more purple than blue. Not quite Barney purple…but definitely a blue-ish puce.

This morning I took another look at the pants. ‘You’re not going to wear these either, are you?’ I asked the picky pant-wearer. ‘Well, I didn’t realize I had to wear them first thing this morning,’ he stalled.

Then he played his trump card. ‘Would you walk down the street with me if I wore these pants?’

It’s back to the dyeing board. Maybe a nice ‘orange’.

6 thoughts on “To dye for

  1. Oh my word, he did try them on tonight – as he was getting dressed to go to a lecture. Paired with a black polo shirt, they looked particularly purple. I couldn’t in good conscience let him go out of the house like that..even if he was going solo. Though I did suggest they would match the yellow and purple life jacket favored by his son.

  2. When Jason & I were first dating, he had a pair of dress pants that, being polite, I’ll call “eggplant” colored. He wore them a lot. Our Turkish friend Kazim had taken him shopping for interview/work clothes and suggested these lovely “eggplant” colored pants. (Ok, lets be real. They were purple.) I think we were together for 6 months or a year when those pants mysteriously “disappeared.” Hmmm…where could they have gone….My question is who MAKES pants like that for men? Seriously?!


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s