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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Column: Leggings

While boys may only have denim, corduroy and khaki to choose from, girls have a wide variety of materials to clad their gams with. One of the female’s recent favorites has been the legging.

The legging has indeed come a long way. Back when it first appeared on the fashion scene in the fourteenth century, the two pant halves weren’t even connected, functioning rather like two crotch height socks. Renaissance men and women sported breathable leggings in hose material while mountain men wandered around Europe in leather ones, as seen in James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales.

The two crotch socks connected in the 1960s when a tighter, lighter version of the Capri arrived and was thus dubbed, “the legging.” Patricia Field swooped in during the late seventies and claimed that she was the person responsible for creating the modern legging for women. Well, Patricia, no one really cares.

The eighties endorsed the legging with zeal, giving it the starring role in the color block, gym wear, side ponytail look and allotting it generous air time on a variety of aerobics and home workout videos. The grunge of the nineties held an uninterested disregard for the legging, allowing it to hibernate long enough for a metamorphosis.

And reemerge the legging did, showing its new face in the earlier years of the 2000s. This new legging was solid black, mostly opaque, and cropped a few inches below the knee. Unlike in the eighties, these leggings were not meant to be paired with a thong leotard. Instead, they were more popular with tweens, who often wore them under micro mini jean skirts in a vague attempt to show a more appropriate amount of skin.

As 2009 merged into 2010, the legging shape shifted again. The legs grew long enough to reach one’s ankles and the material became slightly thicker. The new legging was essentially a thick pair of tights with the feet bits cut off. Girls are treating this item differently as well. Instead of hiding their hineys with denim minis, girls are sporting their leggings as a stand-alone replacement for pants. Although not all females support this trend, many a girl can be spotted happily trotting by the CoHo in black leggings, Uggs and a hoodie.

Having an underdeveloped opinion myself, I decided to question some of my friends on the legging controversy. My friend, Jessica Len, expressed her appreciation of the legging’s versitality, but warned: “Always make sure your shirt, dress or blouse covers your butt! Using leggings in place of jeans when your top is short doesn’t work.”

My old roommate, Kelly Knauf, enjoys wearing her leggings with Uggs and says they’re the new jeans. (“You can wear them with anything!”)

These are the opinions I expected from the girl’s side. What I was more interested in was how guys were reacting to this new trend.

After questioning several of my male friends, I came to notice a general opinion: Leggings as pants are a good thing, if you can pull them off. Nathan notes, “When leggings are used correctly, they are nearly always attractive.” My friend Brian says, “They can be sexy on girls, but then again, some girls should buy a mirror.” Brent consents to this idea, adding, “as long as people wear something over them it’s all good, but otherwise I strongly dislike having such gruesome intimacy with strangers’ asses.” And finally, Kyle admits his appreciation for the stand-alone legging, saying, “I compare spotting a beautiful woman in leggings to all the lights turning green when you are on the road. You know, the simple but pleasant things in life.”

Now, most girls out there are probably saying, “Hold up, what about jeggings?” And now most guys are thinking, “What the dickens are those?”

Jeggings, a combination of jeans and leggings, are leggings made to look like jeans, thus supposedly solving all of the issues aforementioned with plain black leggings. This new breed varies in look. Some are simply leggings printed with a denim texture pattern and false side seam, while others go as far as having attached back pockets and zipper flies.

In my opinion, the word jegging is just about as ridiculous as the item itself. I don’t want to have to zip and button my leggings like pants; the point of leggings is that they are not pants. I don’t feel the need to wear leggings flimsily disguised as jeans. I’m not fooling anyone, and I’d rather just wear real jeans or regular leggings instead.

So, readers, pick your sides, and remember that if you want to work the leggings-as-pants look, you better have some super-toned glutes.

BRITTANY NELSON is tired of lycra and spandex, when will it be shorts weather again? reach her with your j/legging woes at blnelson@ucdavis.edu. XXX

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