We’ve all seen it. The empty shelf at Guiry’s, the many receipts for art supplies that fill seniors’ wallets, and the excited talk of different colored bandanas and handprints. “Painter pants” are a fashion staple of football games and school-spirit days for senior girls all around Chap. The colorful tradition of senior spirit pants is a norm around many high schools across the country. These pants make football games and spirit week something to look forward to all year. Nicole Wilkes ‘20 has been waiting to wear her painter pants since she was an underclassmen. “It’s so cool to be able to wear them to games this year. It's something that as an underclassmen you can’t wait to wear, so the fact that I’m wearing them this year is crazy!”
Senior pants can vary on how long they take to create. On the Crier’s twitter, 7% of senior girls spent less than an hour on their pants, showing that not everyone spends too much time on their pair. A combined 42% spent anywhere from one to four hours on their pants. Finally, the majority of Senior girls spent more than five hours on their pants: 51%! This is evidence that while painter pants don’t have to take a long time to do, a lot of seniors choose to spend precious time making sure they look just right.
Craft stores around Parker supply seniors with the supplies necessary to customize and design their pants. Craft stores, like Michaels and Hobby Lobby, sell anything from glitter and sequins to bandanas and iron on patches. Fabric glue is also a must have to create paint splatters, handprints, and other traditional designs. Among the many things one can put on their painter pants, some useful tools seniors used to ensure pants look great are rulers, letter stencils, painter’s tape, and fabric glue. Not everyone uses these tools. Isabella Peraza ‘20 decided to skip the stencils and make the designs herself. “I looked at the stencils and thought, ‘I can do this solo.’ I did it on my own. I tried to do it perfectly with a paintbrush and it turned out great,” Peraza explains.
Painter pants are designed in many ways. Some popular trends this year were tying ribbons or bandanas on the tool loops or on the front pockets of the pants and geometric color blocks on the pants as well. “A trend that I liked were some of the detailed geometric patterns, they look so good!” Wilkes says. Throughout the years however there have been traditional patterns on these pants too: painter pants typically have handprints in red and blue colors for Chaparral, the last name of the owner of the pants, and their graduating year as well. “On the front of my pants I put 2020 and on the back I put my last name. On the front I did some patterns and I used some gold too because of senior year colors,” Peraza recalls.
Overall, Senior pants can be decorated with a huge array of colors, patterns, and designs. New trends, like geometric patterns and polka dots, pop up every year for Seniors getting ready to leave Chap. These designs can take anywhere from one to five hours to make, but is worth it to many seniors who will have a tangible memento to remember their final year of high school.
Story and photo by Katie Heffernan