Leggings? Go for it, but wear them right
2020 was the year of sweatpants. Comfortable as it was, we’re moving on to the next round. And leggings are about to dethrone sweats. If someone had told me a year ago that I’d be welcoming this comeback, I would have told them they’re crazy. I’ve had my issues with this controversial style of pants for a long time. I finally know why.
Flashback to 1982. Jane Fonda successfully encourages couch potatoes to take up exercise with her aerobics videos. Was it because of her tight leggings? That’s another discussion for another time. The fact of the matter is that this gymnastics wave made leggings popular. In a very short period of time, they became the go-to pants for sports. Because they not only offer a great fit, but also allow for freedom of movement during your workout.
Soon enough, leggings found their way from the gym and onto the street. And finally – paired with a jacket – leggings took over the office. They became a must-have everyday basic until they were labelled a fashion sin in the 90s. Repeated attempts at bringing them back failed. Leggings couldn't shake their bad reputation... until COVID happened and taught us that fashion can be comfortable.
The longer mandatory home office goes on, the more I dread the moment when I’ll have to squeeze into a pair of jeans again. It’s been ages. I love the comfort leggings give me. They fit me like a glove. I just don't want to give up this comfort anymore. As long as temperatures force me into long pants, I’m sticking to leggings. But selling them right is essential.
Not all leggings are made equal
It’s easy to go very wrong with leggings. This also explains why many dismiss them as a fashion sin. It’s important to integrate the leggings discreetly into your outfit so they don’t end up looking tasteless. They shouldn’t dominate the look. That's why I generally advise against patterns. If you want some spice, go for plain colours. I’m a fan of blacks, olives, burgundies and greys. In addition, make sure to go for a solid fabric. You really don’t want your skin to peek through. Shaping leggings are a safe bet, as they tend to be fully opaque. Choosing the right top is also important. A long shirt, sweater or jacket is a must. Whatever you go for, it should cover your butt. That’s why blouses, knit sweaters, hoodies, t-shirts, blazers and coats are ideal.
The matt look
If anyone knows anything about fashion, it’s actress Audrey Hepburn. She’s celebrated as a fashion icon to this day. The British woman’s trademark style was black leggings with ballerinas. Instead of ballerinas, I prefer to go for sneakers. They work well with a long, oversized hoodie and leather jacket. Since the hoodie is already long enough, you can go for a shorter jacket. If it’s still too cold for that, or if you simply want to bring in some colour, pair your leggings with a winter coat or lined blazer in your colour of choice.
The shiny look
Actress Olivia Newton-John proved in the 1978 flick «Grease» that shiny leggings can work. I recommend going for a pair that visually resemble leather. It looks more premium than a glossy, high-shine finish. I also refrain from wearing Olivia-style stilettos and form-fitting tops. Instead, I style the «it piece» with combat boots and an oversized band shirt from the men’s department. As soon as circumstances allow, I’ll dress up my leggings with ankle boots or mid-height heels. But the partial lockdown might drag on. If it does, convenience will win – I'll trade in my heels for flat loafers or espadrilles. I suppose comfort does come first.
What do you think of leggings? Let me know in the comments!