Friday, May 12, 2006

Please God…Don’t let stirrup pants be next!

Hrm. I understand that in certain “fashion” circles, leggings are making a comeback. People wearing leggings these days include New Yorkers (I read The Sartorialist), celebrities, and very possibly thirteen-year old girls (more on how I know that in another post).

But today on my way to work, I saw it: A woman, walking down the sidewalk, in broad daylight, wearing leggings.

For the love of god, do you know what this means, people?

The leggings have trickled down.

It’s one thing for celebrities to wear leggings. They can blame their stylists when it’s all said and done. And it’s one thing for non-famous people in New York (or, say, London or Paris) to wear leggings, because fashion and irony work in those places, oftentimes together. And thirteen-year-olds…well, you remember thirteen, don’t you?

But in Atlanta?

We have no sense of irony. We have hip hop. Hip hop is not ironic. It only looks ironic to the untrained eye. Hip hop takes itself very, very seriously. We don’t really have our own sense of fashion, either, unless you count t-shirts with the Confederate flag emblazoned across the chest (to match the one painted on the door of your truck, which matches your bumper sticker, which matches your tattoo, and on and on ad nauseum).

This woman appeared to be on the way from the Marta station to her job. Yes, she could just be visiting from any of the aforementioned places, but I would hope that anyone doing so would realize that this look’s not going to translate. No. What’s going to happen now is this: Some other woman driving past will have seen Legging Lady (as she will heretofore be known) and will feel a great pang of nostalgia for her youth. And then she will think to herself, “I go to yoga/Pilates/step-aerobics three times a week. Why couldn’t I buy myself a pair of leggings? Remember how cute they looked under miniskirts? I could buy one of those too!”

From the comfort of an unnecessarily large SUV fully equipped with not one but two DVD players (one so she can watch "Regis and Kelly," the other for the kids) and very possibly a small refrigerator, this will seem like a great idea. After she drops off the kids, she will take herself to the mall, where she will buy leggings, a miniskirt, and a giant pretzel.

I graduated from high school in 1987. I shopped at Contempo Casuals, I worked at Limited Express (as it was called back then), I owned many, many pairs of leggings. My uniform in college? Black flats, black leggings, cut off jean shorts, white t-shirt, Grandpa’s giant maroon Lacoste golf sweater. I wore leggings under everything: shorts, skirts, dresses. And don’t get me wrong, it was fun while it lasted. But thank God, things change. We move on to things like tights. And then we grow up and realize that, away from the beach, golf course, or gym—or the bedroom—we don’t really need to wear anything that shows that much leg! Even if it seems okay because leggings are black. (Please, please, if they have to exist outside the dance or yoga world at all, let them be black!)

But we know how this works. Things start to happen. The leggings get a little longer. They aren’t cropped anymore. The material gets thicker, a little better perhaps to wear on its own. And then, one day, as if out of nowhere, a lone pair appears with a little loop for you to hook over your foot before you place it in your shoe…and so you do. Hopefully you’re a celebrity, and you will walk out of the dressing room and your stylist will tell you to GO BACK IN THERE RIGHT NOW AND TAKE THOSE OFF (unless it’s Rachel Zoe, in which case there’s no hope). But if she doesn’t, be careful. Don’t let photographers take your picture! Don’t leave any major city! (States-side this means New York, Los Angeles, possibly Chicago and San Francisco…maybe Dallas) Because if you do, she will see you. That woman wearing the leggings and the miniskirt, driving around in the unnecessarily large SUV, munching on her damn pretzel. And she will take a trip to the mall.

And the stirrup pant is back, people, just like that.

It’s called evolution, and fashion is not immune.