• Helen Martin

Leggings Worn as Pants?

By Helen Martin

Joining a national debate on the subject, noting the mother bemoaning the leggings-as-pants epidemic at Notre Dame, the conversation should be about style and image. Image is how we present ourselves in public. Quoting directly from my book, High Fashion, High Adventure, which may seem a little brutal, but dear readers, you will absolutely understand how I feel about this new phenomenon:

“I will only say the following words once: ‘leggings,’ the new curse of inappropriate dressing. Do not listen to the sales associate telling you – ‘you can wear them with so many different tops.’ THEY ARE TIGHTS. If they look like tights, feel like tights, if they hug every inch of your hips, tummy, bottom and legs, then THEY ARE TIGHTS.”

I used to wear tights to my exercise classes, now I choose to wear yoga pants – roomy and comfortable – that is just a personal preference, mind you. Tights have a purpose; they are not ‘all purpose’!

I cringe when a surf through my television stations looking for a good movie, a travel documentary or a comedy special, hands me programs hawking those ridiculous garments; leggings as pants, convincing thousands of people out there that this is how to dress. And bringing on supposedly notable fashion designers to put a stamp of approval on the things.

Reassuring the unsuspecting viewers, marketers insist that one does not have to take the time to choose from Spring/Summer or Fall collections – just buy leggings and tops – wear them to a luncheon, out to dinner, to the office. I commented on this horror when a colleague walked into the office, wearing the same. “Oh, nice tights,” I said. Her response: "they’re not tights, they’re leggings." Oh my Gosh! Someone did a number on her.

Oh, did I mention people are wearing them to church, sitting in front of me so I can check out their derrieres – please – have some sense of decorum. Manners matter.

Speaking of manners, the word Deportment comes to mind: Deportment – a person’s behavior or manners. In a world a long, long time ago, when you carried your report card all the way home for mom and dad to see and comment upon; besides grades (handwritten in ink) for arithmetic, reading, writing, etc, we were graded on Deportment. I was an A-B student, occasionally the dreaded C would appear, but the first line my mother checked, to see if her child was behaving and respectful, was the subject: Deportment. She expected an A every time; that’s just the way children were raised. I asked a couple of people recently about that word, and received blank stares. A pity, really.

Let me hit the nitty-gritty here – not EVERY size or shape, can possibly wear these things. Notice please, I did not mention age because age has nothing to do with style. Let’s talk about jeans for a second. What and how you wear your jeans has nothing to do with age. I don’t think about dressing for my age that process would become a big bore. I have seen seventy- and eighty-year-old women looking fabulous in jeans. Why? Because they fit well. Jeans are the greatest invention ever! We all love the look of a great pair of jeans. I will talk about how you shop and choose the right jeans next time we meet. Jeans, not leggings. Jeans!

As a professional I wear pants not tights ~~

@2019 by Helen Martin. Proudly created by Wisdom House Books.