Now that leggings are snugly back in fashion it is difficult to recall how they had once been banished as sartorial shorthand for ‘fat chav’. In fact prior to 2005 it would have been difficult to obtain a pair outside of mid-west America or certain east European states. Nowadays, of course they are everywhere, and although I have always maintained a ‘not for me’ stance on the things, the other week I weakened in the face of fashion hegemony and bought some.
The fact is that worn well, leggings can look good, worn badly and they can be scratch-your-eyes-out-in-horror awful. Basically they work best when treated as a replacement for tights. Paired with a top of sufficient, age-appropriate length and a pair of boots they can even be sort of flattering.
This is how the lure of leggings dragged me in. See I like tights, that is, I the like short skirts which a set of thick black tights enables me to wear, but recently I have come to suspect that no matter how puritan the denier, there is still something mutton about a thirty something mother wearing a mini unless she is sporting a pair of leggings underneath.
I don’t know why this should be. It seems too a subtle difference to me to be relevant, but I have been told I am ‘daring’ to wear a short skirt and opaque tights by someone in a far more bum-skimming number worn over leggings.
There seems to be an air of propriety regarding leggings that really shouldn’t apply to something so skin-tight and revealing. Even my mother-in-law wears them, which I’ll admit delayed me buying a pair for a couple of years.
Eventually I had to find out what everyone else was going on about, so having ducked the rage in the eighties and held out so far this time around, I bought my first pair of leggings.
They are rubbish.
I just don’t see what role they fill which isn’t better served by either a pair of thick tights or skinny jeans.
For one thing they keep falling down. In tights I avoid the situation, I’m afraid I must describe as ‘sagging crotch’ by wearing an extra pair of knickers over the top. As an added bonus, I get to feel like a superhero. Can’t do this with leggings though, and no belt, so I spent the whole day ungracefully hitching the damn things up.
Before you suggest they were too big, I got small and I ‘aint that small. When wearing a skirt, tights win.
The selling point of leggings is that I can forgo a skirt entirely and just wear a long top which I would otherwise have to team with skinny jeans, but if they don’t stay up without regular renegotiation, then I don’t see the point.
No I just don’t get it. What do leggings have to offer the world now that they no longer serve as a cultural signpost to the middle-class about whose children they don’t want to arrange play dates with?