Are You Wearing Leggings the Right or Wrong Way?

In other words, when fashion and comfort collide!

Leggings. Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the ocean for the past two or three years you’re well aware of leggings as a trend, and the timeless debate of “are they pants or not?”. Needless to say, it’s not my place or anyone else’s to tell you how to wear your clothes. If you like them beneath dresses, that’s cool, if you prefer them on their own with a T-shirt or baggy sweater, that’s cool too! The point is, your comfortable and you’re stylish, and with those key points down, nothing else matters! I’m coming to you today from the midst of the debate, hoping to sway both sides to a differing point of view by talking about–yep, you guessed it–the versatility of leggings!

The Long History of Leggings and How They Came to Be

Leggings are typically ankle-length, and some are stirrupped or encase the feet. Some are shorter. Leggings are worn to keep a person’s legs warm, as protection from chafing during an activity such as exercise, or as a decorative or fashion garment. Leggings are worn by both men and women during exercise but usually only by women at other times. In contemporary usage, leggings refers to tight, form-fitting trousers that extend from the waist to the ankles. In the United States, they are sometimes referred to as tights. However, the two words are not synonymous as the word tights refers to opaque pantyhose.

Leggings were originally called hose, and were first found in the Renaissance era.  They were worn by bothfcf119a723180e79866e78a0c8b1f93d men and women, and were actually one-legged, using different colors and prints for each leg.  They were used to show status: most were made from wool, while others were made from silk for the noblemen/noblewomen. Men also wore trunkhose, which were the puffy garments that were worn from their waist to their knees. From the blog Encouraged Life, I found even more insightful information on the history of leggings: Leggings hit their height in the 1980s during the time of cheesy pop, exercise videos, and crazy fashion.  I not only did some research on how leggings were worn, but talked to my mom about this trend in the 80s.  She said leggings in 80s were nothing like they are today. She said they were really thick, and were always paired with a skirt, dress, or oversized top that covered the rear end. She said they wore leggings “as pants” when they were doing exercise videos. Throughout my research, I found the same information. I thought I would share this photo of the 80s queen, Madonna, performing at a concert. The 90s started the era of wearing leggings as pants, which were generally  patterned or part of an outfit. I thought I would share a picture from the fashionable diva group, The Spice Girls (great blast from the past, right?).  Leggings were still worn a lot for exercise as well. Leggings have made a huge comeback recently, and are a trend of today.  Many pair up sweatshirts and tops with leggings and wear them as pants.  They range anywhere from black to patterned and colorful. 

In a nutshell, leggings have come a long way from their humble beginnings as just undergarments of the wealthy and the fashionable in the Victoria era. Women of all shapes, sizes and social-economic backgrounds wear the versatile garment, whether they consider them pants or not.

Types of Leggings – Yes, There Are Different Types You Legging Nazis

Leggings come in may different styles, patterns, colors, fabrics and lengths. From ankle length leggings (depicted above), to leggings with stirrups, capri or “calf length” and even footed leggings, they truly take the cake for how you can wear them. I believe the biggest factor in the pants debate is the common misconception that regular, nylon, semi see through tights and leggings are one in the same. Tights commonly have feet, but have variations that don’t them. They’re meant to be worn beneath dresses as hosiery, not on their own as leggings typically are. True leggings that are meant for on their own wear are  typically made from cotton, wool, and thicker blends. The best leggings, in my opinion, are made from cotton and are fleece lined, making them extra heavy, durable, and perfect for wearing during trendy-100-nylon-sheer-rib-tights-blk-216057the winter months. Rule of thumb: if you can see through them or make out skin tone through the fabric, then they’re obviously meant to be worn beneath something. It’s common sense. If they’re 90% Nylon…pass on them unless you specifically want to wear them underneath your favorite dress.

Pro tip: Black, footless tights make a bold statement underneath sweater dresses and oversized tops, especially when worn with chunky belts, chunky heels and sexy stilettos of the same color.

Leggings, Cute Trend or Fashion Faux Pas? 

As with every post, the choice is ultimately up to you, but in my opinion, I genuinely believe leggings are the way to go if you want to dabble in high fashion and still be comfortable. Denim and other fabrics are nice, wearing skirts are easy and breezy, but nothing beats the simplicity of leggings or how stylish one feels when you step out the door in them. Shop72.com has a wide range of leggings in both regular and plus sizes. From crazy, wacky patterns to solid colors, and even the infamous footless tights, we have it all. And, the best part about our leggings is that they’re inexpensive! I recently saw a pair of black, cotton leggings on Polyvore.com from some obscure French fashion label that were on SALE for four hundred dollars. This was a SALE item! That’s completely and utterly ridiculous! But, I guess if you have money to blow, four hundred dollars is most definitely the way to go. What else would you spend it on? Charity? Hooplah.

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