A How-To Guide to Fashionable Pantslessness in Honor of Elaine Stritch

White House music series concert in Washington

It used to be that I laid me down to sleep, I prayed the Lord my soul to astrally project and place in the sacred, fur-wrapped vessel of Elaine Stritch. And yet, morning after morning, I remained firmly ensconced in a twentysomething-year-old body that hadn’t been in the same room as Tina Fey. (So it’s pretty obvious that Nietzsche was right and God is dead.) Early this morning Elaine Stritch passed away at her home in Birmingham, Michigan. She was 89.

Stritch, a show-biz legend who you may know as the growling voice behind Company’s “The Ladies Who Lunch” or Jack Donaghy’s mother on 30 Rock, was a comfort to us too-smart girls who love having a good time but can’t quiet the salty sarcasm that barks in our belly. She was proof that you could go through life swilling, standing legs apart, belting to the rafters. She was a roll of thunder in a pair of tights. It is only fitting that one of Stritch’s last public appearances involved dropping the F-Bomb on live TV while sporting a whole swath of chocolate-hued furs and keeping her infamous gams propped up in Today show host Kathie Lee’s lap. (What do you think that lap feels like? I’m going with two half-filled bags of Franzia White Zinfandel tied to a shipping pallet.) Everybody rise.

Stritch’s storied career gave us much to aspire to but we have to admit that we most look forward to eschewing pants. The Broadway icon was unfettered in all aspects of her life, including her wardrobe: she had a strong affinity for going pantsless, swapping out traditional bottoms for dark tights or, well, nothing at all. Whether on a red carpet, a daytime talk show, or the public streets of New York, Stritch kept her enviable legs as free as her spirit. In honor of the marvelously carefree actress, we’ve compiled a gallery of some of fashion’s most successful pant-free moments. Pour yourself a vodka stinger and drink in all this attitude.


Of course we must start with the queen herself. Watch as Stritch commands the stage, pants or no, in this clip from her one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty. The key here is length — to keep this from going into “Giving a Presentation in Front of My Whole Class in My Underwear” nightmare territory, make sure your shirt is long enough to graze the tops of your thighs at least.

Of course Solange killed this look. Solange can kill anything — including you in a moving elevator.

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You can always cheat the look, like Lena Dunham does here, with barely-there shorts in a matching hue.

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If you’re not feeling bold enough to face a breeze on your bum, trade out Stritch’s oversized button-down for a form-fitting leotard. Here’s Jennifer Lawrence testing out the look on the cover of Interview Germany

leo
And you had to know that Lady Gaga would make an appearance, right? Here we chose a look from early on in Gaga’s career. If you’re taking on the bottomless challenge, try remaining relatively covered up elsewhere. It will help make clear that your derrière daring is purposeful.

MTV TRL Presents The Jonas Brothers, T.I., Lady GaGa and Boys Like Girls
If you’re courageous/punk enough, wear a patterned or textured tight to really emphasize how bare you are down there.

"PUNK: Chaos To Couture" Costume Institute Gala
Just make sure you put on some kind of bottom to cover your own, okay, guys?

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