Dress Code

No sooner did Diane get in the door, than…

“What’s this about me not being welcome at your job anymore?!”

Diane was just hanging her coat in the front closet, not expecting to be accosted by angry clothing after a long day at work.

“Hello to you too,” Diane said, turning to see which item was so upset. She saw the black leggings, noting that they seemed a bit fidgety, like they were unable to be still.

“Sorry about that, Di,” the leggings said, a bit apologetically. “It’s just that some of us were playing cards earlier, and one of your work outfits said that I’m not welcome at your job anymore.”

“Hmm,” Diane said, flipping through her mail. “I don’t remember anything about anything being unwelcome, but then they don’t know about you all.”

“Well, OK, she didn’t say ‘unwelcome,‘ ” Legs said, backpedaling, “but she did say something about stretch pants not being allowed.”

“OK, fill me in,” Diane said, moving toward the living room. “Who, or what, are you referring to as ‘she’?”

“Your pinstriped pants,” the leggings said. “During the card game she said something about changes to the dress code at your job.”

“You were playing cards?” Diane said. “Please tell me you didn’t let strangers into my house.”

“No, Di-ane,” came the reply, in a frustrated tone. “We didn’t bring any strangers in… this time. It was just us clothes.”

Diane imagined a bunch of tightly-filled curvaceous outfits sitting around on her living room floor, with cards hovering in front of them. She had learned that, for some reason, they liked to fill themselves out a bit more tightly than she did, and she wanted to picture the scene. “Which clothes played?” she said.

Diane!” Legs said. “That doesn’t matter! I wanna know why I can’t come to your job anymore. I like it there. You have some cute coworkers, and that Gilbert guy is really funny.”

“Maybe it doesn’t matter to you, but right now I need something to erase work from my mind. You tell me what outfits were in the game, and I’ll tell you what I’ll do about the dress code.”

The leggings sighed. “Instead of setting the scene for you, why don’t we just repeat it? Then you call fill us all in.”

“OK, sounds good,” Diane said, “but only after I eat.” She took a long whiff of a slight garlicky smell coming from the kitchen. “What are you whipping up in there?” She called out.

“One of your favorites,” a voice replied. “A couple more minutes and it’ll be ready. You wanna eat in the living room or at the table?”

“Living room,” Diane replied. She turned when she heard a rustling sound behind her. A forgotten shopping bag from the day before began to stir, and a pair of black leather gloves rose from it. Diane noticed that, even though she hadn’t moved the bag since she’d set it down the night before, the price tag was missing. Apparently they’d been busy.

The gloves floated over to the TV remote, which was resting on the coffee table. As they picked it up, an unfamiliar soft feminine voice with a hint of a Mediterranean accent spoke up.

“Sorry, but I don’t know what you like to watch,” the voice said.

Diane looked over at the clock. 6:30. “TMZ,” she said. “Let’s see what trouble these idiot celebrities have gotten themselves into this time.” Then, after a pause, “I like your accent, by the way. I can’t place it, though.”

The voice chucked softly. “It’s Greek,” it said. “From Corinth.”

Corinthian leather!” Diane and the black leggings said at the same time, both laughing. Diane was a bit transfixed at the movements of the shaking thighs of her leggings as they laughed at the shared joke. But just then her dinner was being brought to her.

A pair of heavy knit tights walked into the room, a plate of angel-hair pasta with sausage and basil pesto cream sauce floating above them. Behind the plate hovered silverware, a pitcher of lemonade, a glass half-filled with ice, and a napkin.

“Here, let me get you a tray,” Legs said, moving over to the folded snack trays Diane kept in the living room. The tray floated over to where Diane sat, under the control of the leggings which walked next to them, setting up the tray in front of her. As her dinner placed itself on the tray, the pitcher floated closer and deftly poured lemonade into the glass, floating over to rest on the dining room table once the glass was filled.

“Haven’t seen you in awhile,” Diane said to the tights.

“Yeah, I know,” came the reply. “Such a warm winter, you haven’t really had much chance to wear me. But I’m glad I don’t have to wait for you to wear me to get out of the closet once in awhile. I thought I would surprise you by cooking one of your favorites for dinner.”

“Well, thanks, I appreciate it,” Diane replied. She’d long since gotten over her apprehension about eating food prepared by cooks who have no need to eat. Somehow, when they cooked it usually came out just right. There were some mishaps in the early days — pots of burnt or soupy rice came to mind.

As Diane dug into her meal, the tights took a seat on the other couch, next to the leggings. It wasn’t like this particular pair of black leggings to be quiet for long around Diane, but, as verbal as they could be, she sometimes had to remind herself that the clothes also had their own way of communicating that she wasn’t privy to.

“Dinner was great,” Diane said, watching as the dinner plate and utensils floated away, this time above the comfortable loafers she had kicked off instead of the empty tights that had prepared dinner.

“Thanks,” the tights said. “Glad you liked it. Ready for dessert?”

“Hmm, maybe later,” Diane said. “That dinner was kinda rich. Gotta give it time to settle first.”

“OK,” the knits said, turning towards the kitchen. “I should go help with the cleanup.”

Diane watched the knit backside as it walked toward the kitchen, wondering again why the clothes were always so coy about their tendency to inflate themselves more fully when empty than when she wears them.

“Staring at your own butt again, Diane?” a voice said. She turned, a bit startled and a tiny bit embarrassed, to find the other clothes from the afternoon card game entering the room. It was Red who had asked the question, strutting into the room still wearing the translucent white socks.

“Wasn’t my butt I was staring at,” she replied.

“Sure
it is,” Red said. “Your knit tights, an *ahem* enhanced version of your figure, ergo your butt.”

“Well, OK, if you put it that way, yeah, I was staring at my butt again,” Diane said with a giggle. “Just looks different when I’m not wearing the clothes. And I haven’t worn those tights all winter, so…”

“Just admit you like staring at your figure filling out your empty clothes, Diane,” the black leggings said, a smirk evident in their voice. “I mean, we all know already anyway.”

“Mm-hmm,” Diane said, looking around for something to help her change the subject. “Where are the others from the card game?”

“Right here,” said a voice from the staircase. Diane turned to see her pinstriped pants and white tube-top enter the room, followed by the black jeans and white button-down shirt.

“Did you guys–” Red started, before White interrupted.

“We switched tops,” White said. “Kinda had a feeling, after Legs’ outburst, that we’d wind up recreating the card game from earlier. Jean wanted the shirt, so…”

“So let’s play some cards,” Jean said. The shirt sleeves moved towards the shirt’s center button, undoing it and reaching one sleeve inside. A moment later the empty sleeve emerged from the shirt, a deck of cards floating a few inches away from the end of the sleeve.

That drew a raised eyebrow from Diane, imagining the deck of cards floating somewhere inside the shirt, since she knew neither the shirt nor the jeans had any inside pockets for stashing anything.

The outfits basically chose the same spots, in the same order, as when they had played earlier. But Diane, sitting on the couch, found her view blocked by the coffee table. The clothes, of course, didn’t need as much room for their game as visible — or solid — wearers would.

By that point the items in the kitchen were finished cleaning up, and were returning to the living room. The off-white tights led the way, with a folding chair floating a few inches ahead of them.

“Diane, I brought you a chair,” the tights said. “Or do you want us to move the table?”

“I was gonna sit on the table, actually,” Diane said. “I guess the extra chair would be the easiest thing.”

The tights approached, followed by the loafers that had cleared Diane’s dishes from her dinner tray. The floating chair opened itself out, settling on the rug between Red and White.

“You gonna play, Di, or are you just watching?” her shoes asked. “I think I wanna play a few hands.”

“I think I”m just gonna watch this time,” Diane said.

“OK,” the tights said. “I was gonna go upstairs and relax, but if you’re just gonna watch, then I’ll stick around. Shoes’ll need a partner.”

“She can’t partner with one of us?” Legs said. “Red usually only plays one or two hands and then bows out. Shoes could take over then, if you wanna chill out.”

“I can play until we decide to end it,” Red said, a bit defiant. Red did tend to call it a night earlier than the other card-playing items, finding itself not quite as competitive as the others, but tonight it was ready to hang out until…whenever.

Diane looked around at the layout of this particular game, noting of course that, being empty items of clothing, each player was closer to the action than they would have been had solid, visible wearers been involved. Red and Legs, in particular, lay so close to the playing area that, had there been invisible women wearing them, they could easily have been kissing one another. And either woman’s torso — or both — would have covered the playing area. Instead, there was maybe three feet of space between Red’s waistline and Legs’, since both were lying on the floor with their butts facing up, and their cards floating maybe three inches above the floor. White and Jean, both wearing tops, had their waistbands located a bit further away from the playing area.

“You know, we never did ask you, Di,” White started, its tube top turning in her direction, “but did you want us to actually play again, or did you just want another opportunity to gawk? I mean, before you tell us more about this dress code situation.”

Diane let out a nervous chuckle. She did want to watch her own animated and curvaceous clothing for awhile, but she also knew how much Legs, in particular, liked to play Spades. She also wanted to put Legs at ease about the “changes” taking place at her job. She had already figured out a way round some of the apparent restrictions, and figured that she’d let Legs and the others relax themselves with a few hands before sharing her ideas.

“You can go ahead and play,” Diane said. “I can talk to y’all later.”

The game went on, with the tights sitting on the coffee table next to Diane’s chair, while her loafers walked around the game, inspecting each player’s hand, giving hints on what cards would be good to play.

“You can’t do that, you know,” the tights finally told the shoes.

“Thank you,” the black jeans snapped. “I was just about  to ask her if she was supposed to be playing or just watching.”

“I’m just trying to help,” the shoes said plaintively.

“You can help me by not looking at my hand,” Jean said.

“Why don’t you come back over to me?” Diane said.

“I’ll take care of it, Di,” the tights said. The loafers made their way over to the coffee table, where the thick off-white tights placed their right foot into the right shoe. The tights then hooked the front of the left shoe on the toes of their left foot, dangling the shoe as they crossed their left leg over their right. Diane immediately took notice of the bobbing left leg, and how the shoe never appeared to be in danger of falling off though apparently only a toe held it in place.

She watched the bobbing leg and shoe, momentarily forgetting about the game, and reached over and dragged a fingertip against the sole of the bobbing foot, eliciting a giggle from the tights.

“Oh my goodness – you’re ticklish?!” Diane said.

Yeh-heh-heh-hes!” the tights replied, twitching enough to displace the dangling shoe. The tights placed the foot Diane had tickled flat against the floor, only for Diane to lightly grab the ankle with one hand and lift it while reaching for its sole with the other.

“What did you expect?” asked a voice behind her, with a chuckle. “If we’re alive then naturally some of us would be ticklish.”

Naturally? Diane thought, turning to see a shimmery, flowery outfit approaching. As it drew closer she saw it was her long-sleeved pullover top and visually-matching wrap skirt. Most people assumed it was a dress, since both pieces were basically decorated in a flowery pattern over a black base, and it was designed to give that appearance. The skirt extended just past her knees — just the thing for covering leggings, should she have a need to…

“I expected to press you into service sometime tonight,” Diane said to the flowery outfit, letting go of the tights, which sighed in relief.

“Really?” Red said. “Why?”

“To show those leggings how I can get around the new rule about stretch pants,” Diane replied. Turning to Legs, she said, “Come here for a minute, would you?”

Legs’ cards floated downward into the leggings, as they bent their knees and then moved just like an invisible woman rising to her feet. Then, turning to the newcomer outfit, Diane intended to ask it to float up and over the leggings. But apparently the outfit had that idea independently of Diane, because without being bidden by Diane it rose into the air as Legs approached, hovering downward until the skirt surrounded the leggings.

“Hey, I like this!” Legs exclaimed.

“I bet you do,” the flowery outfit replied, moving its sleeves towards the skirt’s behind, giving the appearance of invisible hands squeezing the skirt, and the leggings under it. “And this way no-body has to know.”

“Oh, they’ll know,” Diane countered, “but at least this way they’re not staring at a shiny black spandex butt.” A few voices murmured, more than one saying something like “shiny flowery butt,” leading Diane to laugh outright.

“Well, there’s nothing I can do about them leering at a shiny flowery butt,” she said with a chuckle, “but the rule is ‘no stretch pants.’ If I cover the stretch pants, everything should be OK.”

“How about me?” the knit leggings sitting beside her asked.

“Oh, I have plenty of ways to cover you,” Diane said, “but we won’t have to worry about covering you until it gets cold outside. Until then…” she trailed off, reaching over to squeeze an empty knit thigh. She them moved her hand to the inner thighs, again lightly rubbing with her fingertips.

As the tights began to moan and coo in response to Diane’s ministrations, White spoke up. “I say we call this
game — a-gain — and start a new one with Diane. How’s that sound?”

A dozen or more voices hooted or giggled their approval, as the assorted clothing items began moving towards the stairs. For Diane’s part, she didn’t have to move at all, except to allow for the tights floating upward from the table to land across her lap. Diane then floated from her chair in the midst of the other items, not really sure which one (or ones) was carrying her.

White was particularly proud of itself, having prevented Diane yet again from insisting on an answer to how her clothing and other belongings suddenly became able to speak and move about on their own. White had hoped no one would bring up how the dress code addressed stretch pants and denim but not tight dress pants. White was tired of having to defend things it had no say in, even when Legs (or something else) insisted on arguing over it anyway. White hadn’t expected the shirt to separate and speak up on its own, but the point was made; hopefully it wouldn’t come up again. But if it did, White had a few tricks up…well, up its legs…

Diane floated on, surrounded by her clothes and other things, totally unaware of the slightly damp dishtowel that floated in from the kitchen, lightly wiping the coffee table where the tights had been sitting. Nor did she know about the chair she’d been sitting in folding apparently of its own accord and returning to the kitchen, just behind the floating dishtowel…

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