What a palaver… about pants. Or pantaloons, as they were called in the 1790’s… when they were worn by men. Yep. Pantaloons were “close fitting tights or leggings,” usually made from knitted fabric, and were worn by men (source.) But let’s just call them leggings, okay?
I love leggings. I have done for years. And like the very sensible and chic Ms. Walsh, whom I mentioned above, I see no reason to stop wearing them because I’m “a woman of a certain age.” As Alyson’s article tells us, if leggings are made from quality fabric, aren’t too tight, and are worn with layers or with longer, loose fitting tops, they make a chic and classy fashion statement. Of course, if the leggings are too thin, or too tight, and worn with, say, high heels and a pop top… they communicate a (ahem) very different message.
These two pairs of black leggings by Donna Karan and Helmut Lang look comfortable and totally chic, to me.
So let’s take a closer look, sort of deconstruct the pants, shall we?
These leggings are by Theory. They’re made like pants, with a waistband and faux pockets and a button, but they just pull on. They’re also made of a fairly heavy material with a high waist, thus ensuring that they don’t show every bump and lump and that I can keep them up. Still, I wouldn’t be wearing them with this tee shirt if I didn’t have the scarf artfully draped to hide my burgeoning middle age middle.
I added a bright scarf that I bought in Ireland a few years ago and my old (and recently rehabilitated) camel pea jacket. I love this outfit, mostly because I love camel and black. For a lunch downtown, I think this outfit is comfortable, casual, and polished.
This is an outfit that I’ll wear when the weather warms up: my Theory leggings, this navy and white, striped silk blouse, also by Theory, and my Stuart Weitzman loafers.
Like the turtleneck, this blouse works well with leggings because it is longer in the back, and falls away from the body, but isn’t too full. I’m top heavy, and the length and shape of this blouse help disguise that.
In the spring (if it ever gets here) I’ll throw my Paige jean jacket on over the blouse. I’m liking this outfit. I feel casual, pulled together, and classy.
Of course, leggings can look sleazy, scuzzy, cheap, and, as Allyson says in her article, “slatternly.” But they can also look chic, classy and polished. And totally appropriate in most women’s wardrobes, even someone over fifty, like me. Funny that they should have become so “strangely contentious,” as Alyson’s article also says, in the past few weeks. I kind of chortled when I read that this young wife and mother in Oregon felt she had to make a “vow” about her determination to NOT wear leggings. I’m trying not to sound mean or sarcastic here. But isn’t “vow” kind of a strong word to use when talking about… ah … leggings?
Now as my husband rightly pointed out to me, I have some pretty strong opinions, myself, about what women should wear, how they should wear it, and when they should and shouldn’t wear it…. whatever “it” might be. Especially about what women my age should wear. It’s just that I won’t be making any “vows” about my choices. That’s a recipe for disaster. I’m thinking of my “No Way José” post last spring about drawstring pants; and my later retraction, Never Say Never, after I found, loved, and bought a pair, and then wore them everywhere… all summer.
Oh…. and I seriously doubt that Canada AM (let alone Good Morning America) will come calling when I write about my personal fashion choices on my blog.
Oh… and one more thing… and then I’m totally done on the subject. Don’t forget to check the rear-view image before you leave the house in your leggings, eh?
There I’m done.