In Praise Of Zip-Off Pants

In Praise Of Zip-Off Pants

Zip-off pants were something I loved as a child. The ability to change pants from shorts in a flash was revolutionary for a Transformers-loving kid like me. They were comfortable in my 3rd-grade classroom. But when recess rolled, I pulled at the zippers to make them more breathable and was ready for kickball. I felt like freakin’ Optimus Prime.

As I entered puberty, I noticed something. The magical brand of functionality that I loved as an elementary schooler was gone. My classmates pointed out that those zip-off pants were no longer cool, much to my dismay.

It’s a shame to admit that I was once influenced by the social pressures of narrow-minded, short-skinned peers. Zip-off pants were something I temporarily relegated to the bottom drawer of my dresser as a teenager. To be fair, I wasn’t sure if I should conceal them in my pant drawer or my shorter drawer.

I was able to survive the challenge and graduated from high school. I moved to Colorado for college. There, fast weather changes, and an adventurous outdoor community that is non-judgmental, rekindled my passion for zip-off 2-in-1 pants. Hiking that starts in the sun can easily turn into a hike in hail or snow. Being prepared for the unexpected was more important than being perceived as cool. The funny thing is that perception can change. My perception of zip-off pants changed as I went on cool adventures in Colorado with cool people. I was more comfortable wearing zip-off trousers and less worried about other people’s opinions about my pants.

You’re likely to see zip-off trousers on outdoor adventures or in the sights of travelers to faraway destinations. But, I think it’s being able to wear zip-offs in everyday life .– that society has trained us to believe impossible. Let me not-so humbly share some of the more outlandish things I have done since discovering the style and functionality of zip-off trousers.

In my zip-off pants, I have:

* Meeting with politicians and religious leaders in El Salvador

* Interview with Guatemalan coffee farmers

* went clubbing in Nicaragua with beautiful women

* Participate in Ramadan celebrations, in Morocco

* Served at a Michelin Star Restaurant in Spain

Zip-off pants can be a space-saver when you live in a backpack for a few months or spend a weekend in nature. Do you need two? Beyond the gram-counting argument, zip-off pants are also stylish.

Zip-off pant makers can’t hide the fact that the zipper runs around the knee. 

It’s something I am proud of. The knee-high crease indicates that I will drop my pants at any moment. It’s a conversation starter–and then some. There is a sense of danger, preparedness and versatility. Armani does not make zip-off pants. I find it a shame because James Bond could stop infinitely more international criminal syndicates if there were a little more airflow in his calves.

Designer brands don’t make zipper-off pants. And while they do look great, I doubt that zip-offs will soon be a staple on the runway for mainstream fashion. Zip-off pants will remain for the brave, forward-thinking, bold, and unabashed citizens who believe utilitarianism is sexier than anything.

Even though I haven’t played kickball at recess for a while, I still feel like freakin’ Optimus Prime whenever I wear my zip-off trousers.

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