We all know what “basic” is by virtue of its aggravating tendency to gradually encompass more and more of our vices and indulgences. First, Uggs were no longer just ugly (and comfortable!) — they became basic. Starbucks, the most convenient, predictable (predictably meh, which is better than surprisingly horrible) cup of coffee became basic. Victoria’s Secret is basic, though it wasn’t basic when I bought my first pair — perhaps the first pair — of mustard, elastic bottomed “Love Pink” sweatpants in fourth grade and everyone laughed at me for wearing something from an underwear store in the blinding, elementary school daylight. Jean skirts are basic, so are leggings, and eff me because, if worn properly, both of those things are great, and so is Sex and the City, Taylor Swift, Tiffany charm bracelets, and more of Taylor Swift.
Now, in order to avoid being basic, or simply to avoid having a select few basic tendencies, I cannot watch Carrie Bradshaw making curly hair look cool nor can I listen to “Speak Now” on repeat. Fine, it may have helped in my recent separation from the latter that Tay pulled her discography from Spotify. Regardless, I digress.
So, if I have ditched the Love Pink attire, stopped drinking coffee because it mixes poorly with my most Jewish qualities (anxiety and sensitive stomach), and only wear leggings in the house, am I no longer basic at all?
And if I, or we — if you’re with me on this — are not basic, then what are we?
I think I’ve forgotten. Before the term “basic” was coined to mean things other than, well, basic, the basic life still must have existed, albeit nameless like a risky, unidentified sushi roll. Still, there must be more basic people now that there’s an identity with which they can clearly express themselves; like how there suddenly exists more perverted 13-year-olds once they get laptops and discover porn. It works the same way.
Considering that theory, then, many of us were not basic in the years between 2003 and 2008. We just were. We were normal. But if everyone was basic, then no one was, and so please lord tell me, WHAT WERE WE?
Yes, I’m sickened too by how easy it is to philosophize about this.
Anyway, I saw this motivational quote Instagram post earlier today that claims the opposite of “basic” to be “epic.” It didn’t exactly state that, but it mostly did, and it got me thinking about this whole thing.
Because when it comes down to it, I’m afraid not many people would call me epic.
So am I basic?
Maybe I’m a lot of other great things, but epic is a big word. I aspire to be epic. Yet, I’m not quite sure if that is the opposite of basic-ness. I mean, in my personal opinion, a pumpkin spice latte WITH whip will always be very epic.
What do you think the opposite of basic is? Or maybe there aren’t even opposites. Maybe basic is on a spectrum, like the rainbow or like sexuality is, and we’re all just kind of teetering back and forth between two misspelled names on a coffee cup.
If any given Buzzfeed writer were to GIF a recipe for the ultimate hashtag-basic bitch, the most voluminous ingredient would be yoga pants. After all, they are what literally holds the basic bitch together. They suck all the junk into your trunk. Can I get an ‘amen,’ sista friends?
In order to understand yoga pants, we must track their evolution, discuss their function, and contemplate their implication.
Evolution of the yoga pant
It all started with this:
And then that turned into this:
But for me, it was really only the first generation (tye-dye) and this:
…because my mom thought it was inappropriate to walk around with pants that said “So Low” on the butt.
Then out of the blue, leggings became a thing as if a girl wearing So Lows pulled them right out of her tightly covered and accentuated ass. So leggings happened for a while, and now, there’s something else. There’s Lululemon leggings, which are really the new yoga pants. They’re still referred to in the media as ‘yoga pants,’ which is a ripoff because I spent my childhood convinced that yoga pants had to be bell-bottomed.
Function of the yoga pant
I used to have this thing where I didn’t wear jeans. While I was down to wear my flared Hard Tails ’til the cows came home, I was not down to wear the flared denim my mother bought for me because it “better suited my figure.” Okay, we get it. I had a Kim Kardashian, which is great if you’re 26 but not is you’re 10.
Destitute of the skinny jean, I resorted to leggings. They looked absolutely terrible on me, and weren’t flattering in the least, but they were comfortable and didn’t leave indents in the skin below my belly button and around my hips. They were much better suited to sit criss-cross-applesauce in. These are the important things.
It used to be that the yoga pant was about comfort. Let’s be real — it was never really about yoga. But now, it is about style.
The implication of the yoga pant, perhaps the most important part
You see, the yoga pants we wear now aren’t really yoga pants. They’re magic pants.
Of course, assuming that everyone’s Lululemon leggings are the standard yoga pant is astoundingly ignorant. Lululemon is an expensive luxury brand. In fact, I only own three things from Lululemon, and all of them have been purchased with my own babysitting money. And they were all ridiculously overpriced, too. But that’s besides the point. The point is that people are buying pants meant for exercise and wearing them not for exercise. I’m not quite referring to wearing your Nike Free’s out and about — that’s another discussion of trend for another day. I’m solely talking about exchanging your jeans for exercise leggings because, as it turns out, the leggings kinda look good.
This can be attributed to two factors: material and style. The material of the pants undoubtedly sucks you in. They don’t stretch out like your cotton leggings might, and they’re extra tight because they’re meant to feel like skin while you’re jogging, walking your dog, or doing your daily workout of 15 crunches. You know, something like that. But the style –the style is what’s revolutionary. Exercise pants have a higher waist than every other kind of legwear does. Yet they aren’t ‘high-waisted,’ or marketed as anything other than ‘exercise pants.’ They consistently come at a perfect height and sit 2/3 of the way between where low-rise pants go and where your belly button is. This is the perfect place to be sucked in!!! Raise your hand if you’ve been wondering why every pair of pants doesn’t come with that waist height. Also raise your hand if you now understand why your mother was always so insistent on buying you the ‘hipsters’ style of underwear as a child. Just me? Okay then.
Yoga pants, which are really exercise leggings, are perfect to wear with a crop top, they are perfect with boots, they are perfect with everything, they are great for sitting criss-cross-applesauce, and they somehow make you look like you ARE wearing pants even though you kind of aren’t.
Perhaps yoga pants are making basic cool. Yoga pants could be putting the basic back in basic: forming an essential foundation or starting point; fundamental. Yeah… yeah. Now that sounds more like it. Screw the Starbucks cups and 2004 Uggs. Basic ain’t always so bad after all.
“Measure your life in pumpkin spice.” That’s how those Rent lyrics go, right?
Over the last few weeks, I’ve consumed: pumpkin spice malt balls, Pumpkin Spice Latte (yes, it’s a proper noun), pumpkin latte (there is a difference), pumpkin croissant, pumpkin croisbun, pumpkin cheesecake milkshake, pumpkin fro-yo, pumpkin pie Clif bar, pumpkin tortilla chips, pumpkin spice yogurt, ‘perfect pumpkin’ Rise breakfast bar, pumpkin muffin, pumpkin cream cheese muffin, pumpkin coffee cake, pumpkin beer, and really what I’ve come down to is that the more you look at the word ‘pumpkin’ the weirder it starts to look. Pump-kin. Pump. Kin.
I have a big Q, though: WTF is pumpkin spice?
On my pumpkin crusade, a friend told me I should eat a raw pumpkin, too.
Hey, basic bitches, that might not be such a bad idea.
And another Q: What is it about pumpkin that portrays images of ‘basic,’ and what roles do we take up when, early October, we order the PSL instead of the half-caff? Are we really coming down from places of higher complexity and more auxiliary? Am I trapped in tight So-Lows from 2008 that in reality haven’t fit me since 2004?
Why has the love of a round, orange winter squash led you to force me to get my Uggs out of the giveaway pile just because I want to order my latte soy, and with whip?
Also, will you judge me if I order the PSL and peace out as opposed to holding up the line for sugar and cream because I’ve gotta stop to ‘gram it?
Pumpkin spice has become so vanilla, but we freak out over it because of things like low supply=high demand and fall is ephemeral, and life is ephemeral, so we must document it and share it and make sure everyone knows WE LOVE PUMPKIN SPICE and we’re ALIVE and living in THE SPECTACULAR NOW. I’m guessing that movie wasn’t actually about pumpkin spice–I tried to watch it once with a boy, which was a doomed plan from the start as boys are too jittery for romanticized high school relationships–but hey, if the title works, steal it to prove a point about the flavors of fall. Okay, actually, don’t steal titles. That’s terrible advice.
In real life, people get shit for ordering vanilla. It’s an insult to be called ‘vanilla.’ Everyone likes vanilla, but no one wants vanilla. And cue the inevitable pang of guilt when your friend, in line behind you at the chic, overpriced downtown ice cream parlor inquires a crude, “Vanilla? You’re getting vanilla?”
Is there a “Pumpkin spice? You’re getting pumpkin spice?” There’s not. There are only completely arbitrary reasons as to why it’s suddenly frowned upon to love fall, such as, well, the fact that suddenly everyone loves fall. Fall is a season, not a Beatle, everyone can love the same season, get over it.
How would I describe pumpkin spice? (Don’t forget, I’m basic and narcissistic–see second paragraph for proof–so I’m just going to assume you want to know.) It’s like a sweet gingerbread, but not sugar-y. It’s like creamy pumpkin pie. Can you describe the flavor of pumpkin spice with the flavor of pumpkin pie? Is that kosher? Is pumpkin kosher?
WTF is PS? IDK. But ILY, PS. ILY.