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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Bringin Leggings Back

Published: November 3, 2006
Section: Arts, Etc.

Theyre back! 1980s workout gear has recently become high fashion, as celebrities, models, and Brandeis students have brought leggings back.

Im a big fan, claimied Rachel Dainer-Best 09. Theyre versatile and more exciting than regular pants.

Many believe their versatility and practicality make them so appealing. According to Allison Talan 10, You can definitely wear leggings on a lot of different occasions. She continued, You can even wear them jogging [or anywhere]. As long as you dont abuse your privileges, so to speak, youre good.

Where did leggings come from, though? They actually originated from a variety of protective wear worn by men and women throughout the centuries. European men during the Renaissance wore a type of leggings called hose and the riding costumes of both Scottish Highlanders and American Indians included a form of early leggings. Women in the mid-19th century also wore pantalettes, a feminized form of the mens undergarment.

They resurfaced with the 1980s aerobics craze, leading to a trend of wearing workout gear as streetwear. During that decade, leggings sales explodedat their peak, they even outsold jeans in many parts of the United States.

Last year, the booming Eighties Revival trend got a boost after leggings appeared on such high-fashion runways as Stella McCartney and Triton. By this year, hipsters paired the newly-stylish workout gear with tunics and oversized sweaters and the look made its way to Americas malls this year. This fall, it has been obvious that the leggings trend has made it to Brandeis.

Molly Jane Rosen 08 reflected on the trends history. Now that Limited Too sells them, its all there goes the neighborhood, she said. I guess thats the cycle of fashion: your cool friends in major U.S. cities [have them], then Urban Outfitters, then Limited Too [too].

A quick look on both the Urban Outfitters and Limited Too websites reveal that not only are leggings available, but they have gained their own sections on the online catalogue, alongside wardrobe basics like Blouses and Shoes.

The 2005 resurgence of leggings includes a variety of lengths, colors and styles. Urban Outfitters sells a pink-and-black checkered pair and several textured pairs. American Apparel, in addition to offering a rainbow of colors, recently introduced three new styles in metallic lame.

Leggings today are most often paired with skirts, long sweaters or tunic-like blouses. They have been spotted on trend-setting celebrities like Mary-Kate Olsen, Mischa Barton and Lindsay Lohan.

But the question is do guys dig the leggings? Bojan Rajkovic 10 wasnt so keen on the latest trend. If Im taking you out to dinner, you should probably put on some real pants, he said.

Matt Lawrence 10 echoed these sentiments. I dont really like leggings. They make girls look sort of unapproachable and overly fashionable, he said.

Also, can leggings survive the winter? Theyre warmer than tights, Rosen said. And I would like to go on the record as being pro-legwarmers-over-leggings, too, because in the winter, leggings alone arent going to cut it.

All trends expire sometime, but how long can the leggings fad last? In the unpredictable world of fashion, only time will tell.