LEGGINGS – THE OFFICIAL WFH UNIFORM
We’re going to close our eyes, look deep into your True Fashionista socially-distanced life, and see LEGGINGS. You’re wearing them right now, aren’t you? Yeah, we thought so. Since working from home became the norm, living and working in comfortable clothing have become synonymous, and the fashion-conscious multitudes agree: leggings are at the top of the list of clothing necessities.
“In times of uncertainty, people look for items or experiences that can bring a little joy or comfort, and fashion has often had a role to play in this,” Emily Gordon-Smith, Director of Consumer Product at trends intelligence business Stylus told The Independent. “Categories including lounge, active and wellbeing-wear generally are experiencing a real surge in popularity right now, offering comfort, but also increasingly style. This demand will only rise as consumers settle into working remotely and redress their work-life balance longer term potentially, opting for outfits that will see them through the day where the boundaries of different roles are increasingly blurred.”
Fashion stylist Rebecca Lockwood agrees, pointing to the versatility of leggings as a major draw. One can easily go from workout to Zoom meeting waist-up looks in the same pair of leggings. “The right leggings can not only be figure-flattering for all body shapes but also incredibly comfortable and practical. Throw on, easy wear and easy wash,” she says. Seems like a no-brainer at the present moment, but leggings have actually been around a long time, with a divided opinion to match.
Leggings date back to the 14th century when soldiers wore them as leg coverings. They got their fashion thumbs up in the 1950’s when Audrey Hepburn donned skintight capris for her starring role in 1954’s Sabrina. Leggings at that point were a major departure from the baggy styles of the time. Then in 1958 chemist Joseph Shivers invented spandex, and it was, like, all over. The first True Fashionista Lycra leggings appeared in 1959 and the fashion industry just ate them up, with designers such as Mary Quant and Emilio Pucci pairing them with increasingly popular Sixties shift dresses. The 1970’s found leggings matched up with slogan tees thanks to Blondie’s Debbie Harry, and when the fitness craze exploded in the 1980’s leggings became a staple, paired with slouchy legwarmers and elastic headbands. (Are you wincing, too? Just checking.)
In more recent years, leggings were seeing multifunctionality well before our involuntary holing up at home days, worn by the likes of Kendall Jenner and Kate Moss to morning yoga, afternoon shopping trips and business brunches. As almost every brand embraces them in order to diversify into athleisure, retailers have successfully been able to blur the lines between workouts and everyday wardrobes, indicates Sarah Young for The Independent.
In 2019, however, leggings got a whoopin’ from a self-proclaimed “Catholic mother of four sons” who was horrified to see girls wearing them to Mass at the University of Notre Dame. In her letter to the editor published in the school’s student newspaper entitled “The Legging Problem”, Maryann White pleaded for female Notre Dame students and women of the world in general to please, please, wear looser pants. Although her sons were perfect gentlemen and didn’t acknowledge the view apparently right in front of them, Mrs. White begged, “Could you think of the mothers of sons the next time you go shopping and consider choosing jeans instead?” The backlash, predictably, was considerable. The Notre Dame student group Irish 4 Reproductive Health, reports The Cut, even organized a Leggings Pride Day. Not surprisingly, Mrs. White’s letter didn’t slow leggings at all in their rise to WFH world domination.
Lululemon has seen a shift in demand for its workout gear over these last few months of fun. Company CEO Calvin McDonald told CNBC that the strong online numbers they’d seen for 2019 continued momentum into 2020 thanks to athleisure sales. “All the business’s categories are doing well, but there’s definitely been a shift to comfortable clothing as well as at-home accessories – from our yoga mats to our blocks and a variety of items that are helping support people to find new ways to sweat,” McDonald shared.
The Independent reports that online searches for yoga leggings have increased by 18 percent since the beginning of April, with True Fashionista lines like Sweaty Betty, Beyond Yoga and Spanx joining Lululemon as some of the more popular.
Leggings have battled the elements, and the haters, and emerged victorious every time. Check out the selection at True Fashionistas, both online and in-store, and increase your collection. They’re not going away anytime soon.