I never thought leggings would be around this long. In the early 2000s when they made their way back on the scene fashion critics were on both sides of the love-hate spectrum. Glamour’s black bar wielding Do’s and Don’ts chimed with various reasons why they shouldn’t be worn. And various fashion polls showed ambivalence at all ages.
But that was before Hammer pants and classic Reeboks were okay (aka people still despised 80’s and 90’s fashion). But like some other 80’s styles (wayfarers, skinny jeans) the leggings made a strong comeback—and now they’re trying to take over.
Now there are leggings, jeggings (leggings that look like jeans), I’ve even heard treggings (still no idea) and the styles keep expanding. They’re not just for ballerinas anymore—and Danskin isn’t the only place to get a quality pair. Almost any store that sells women’s clothing will have a section for fashion leggings in various styles. Recently added sequined leggings, floral leggings, and metallic leggings have really upped the game—leggings can go as far as New Year’s Eve celebrations, birthday parties, and of course night’s out with the girls.
But these days they’re not just for the ladies either. Marni’s fall 2007 men’s runway showed leggings in audacious colors. But thus far they haven’t taken off the way women’s leggings have. South African based designer Heni is perhaps hoping to change that. During Joburg Fashion Week in Johannesburg South Africa this past January the designer’s Autumn/Winter collection boasted both bold colored harem pants and leggings for men (muggings). While some of the men in the audience thought that they told a little bit too much information, I also heard squeals of excitement after the show. Many thought that the harem pants and the leggings especially really pushed the envelope in men’s fashion. But it’s unsure whether the style will take off in the states, whether it will be embraced in the male heterosexual community either.
“I don’t see it too often. I think it works only if you’re very small. Otherwise it looks like painted on jeans,” said Derek McCann, sales clerk at Self Edge, a store in the Mission District that specializes in men’s jeans. “You have to have the right kind of look to pull it off—like Japanese high fashion.”
But McCann isn’t anti-leggings, and thinks that if any guy is bold enough to slip into a pair, then he should. I had my doubts about whether leggings would last when women were only wearing them under denim skirts and short shorts. But now that they’re seeping into men’s fashion I have to rethink my stance. Fashion Director of Marie Claire, and Project Runway judge Nina Garcia told Time Out New York that she was sick of leggings—she scolded the girls in the faux leather leggings for lacking originality. I don’t think any guys will get the same fashion lashing—not even from Nina Garcia.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t indulge in a pair or two, or three, or more—from plain gray to silver sequin—but hey they’re comfortable and on a rainy day it’s the best thing to tuck into a pair of galoshes. Whether I would get my guy a pair, I’m not sure. Whether I would give a guy kudos for pulling them off just right—totally.