The versatility of leggings
Leggings have been worn throughout history by both men and women for a variety of purposes ranging from providing warmth to the legs, as work-out wear, for the purpose of dancing, and last but not least, for the purpose of fashion. Made from a variety of materials but mainly consisting of a Lycra, nylon, spandex or polyester blend, leggings have a wide range of styles, prints and patterns. They are sometimes preferred under formal skirts, while many young women like wearing them with long t-shirts. They can be divided into two categories, namely “sheer” and “opaque”.
Sheer leggings are also known as pantyhose and are preferred by those who wish to cover their legs while wearing skirts. They come in a variety of skin-toned hues and are not suitable to wear by themselves owing to their semi-transparent nature. Also in this category are fishnet stockings and other styles of sheer and semi-sheer leggings, which come in a variety of shades, usually skin toned or black, and sometimes have lace detailing on them for added aesthetic beauty.
Opaque leggings are preferred for those who wish to wear them in place of jeans. In the early 90’s, opaque leggings actually outsold jeans, as the trend of wearing them with ballerina shoes became fashionable. Not only women, but men were also quick to adapt to the much lighter feel of breathable fabric as opposed to denim, which was thicker in comparison.
By 2005 however, leggings made a splash into the world of high fashion, with a whole host of patterns and styles to choose from. Those who preferred the glamorous chic look had the choice of bold, loud patterns, while those who liked to add some shine in their ensemble had a choice of gold, silver and silvery grey hues to choose from. Lovers of the 60’s psychedelic era possibly had the best choice as fluorescent, polka dot and zebra printed leggings became the rage.
Outdoing the also-popular trend of skinny jeans with their considerably lighter material, printed leggings were also introduced at a popular men’s Fashion Week in 2007. Juxtaposing the term “men” and “leggings” gave them the unique name “meggings”, and they are still considered to be high fashion apparel.
2008 saw the rise in popularity of a specific type of legging called lame’, or, “leather look” leggings. The former provided a shiny or “wet look” while the latter catered to those who wished to emulate the leather pants look of their favorite rockstars, namely Sheryl Crow and rocker Nikki Sixx, whose leather pants looks were creating waves at the time.
Latest in the line of legging choices are Jeggings, a juxtaposition of “jeans” with “leggings”, another blow to original denim jeans. Made from slightly thicker material but with the same qualities as one would expect from an average pair of leggings, jeggings have helped those who are unsure of their ability to fit into standard denim jeans sizes to also sport the “jeans” look.
The stretching ability of leggings makes them very comfortable to wear, and also allows people of all sizes and body types to wear them. It is important to pair complementary blouses, skirts and tops with the right kind of legging. Adding a few different pairs of leggings in different styles to your wardrobe will give you a variety of designs to choose from, and wear for different occasions.