Sartorial Observer: Moving your leggings fashion-forward

Leggings are by no means a new trend. They were first introduced in the ’60s, and the ’80s solidified their place in fashion history. Leggings have without a doubt made their way to the College and could even be dubbed the unofficial uniform of many girls on campus. In recent years, the leggings look has been somewhat controversial. There are many Tumblr pages dedicated to the bashing of the legging trend. I, for one, believe leggings are an essential piece in any college students’ wardrobe. I think Alex Ting ’15 says it best: “I guess spandex are not officially pants, but there’s no need to hate – leggings are casual swag.” When done the right way, leggings can be substituted for pants.

Shell Tu ’14 and Ting are two students with exceptional style. I look forward to seeing each ladies outfit every school day. Both Tu and Ting always embrace color, fit and structure. From head to toe, their everyday looks burst with effortless detail – every texture, color, pattern, earring, necklace and ring complements the other. Their outfits tell stories, and the confidence with which they wear their outfits makes you believe whatever role they chose to play in their clothing – whether it be the prep school girl or the tomboy.

During my search to find students at the College who are wearing leggings in a fashion forward way, I was not surprised to come across both Tu and Ting rocking their respective pair of leggings. Tu describes her normal attire when pulling off a pair of traditional black leggings. “I do layers on top a lot, and my standard layering is a short knitwear over a long collared shirt,” she said. “There are many color combinations you can play with.” Think about completing this look with a simple black ballerina flat or black boots.

“I think an easy way to make a chill, spandex-filled outfit ‘fashionable’ is to vary the length of your top,” Ting suggested. “If you wear a cropped shirt, you rock the high-waisted pants look. A long shirt is the hot tunic-dress look.”

Ting recommends hitting up American Apparel for your basic pair of leggings. She even shared a secret: If you find an American Apparel Warehouse, you can find leggings for a cheap price!

It’s also possible to expand beyond black leggings. American Apparel sells leggings in many different colors, from red to turquoise to neon yellow. I would start with more neutral colored leggings, like navy or brown, and then move on to brighter and bolder colors. You can experiment with neons like yellow, pink, blue or green; you can try a leopard or floral print; and if you’re feeling especially daring, try out the new trendy leather leggings.

Another legging trend is the jegging, which are leggings that are typically a blend of spandexand denim. Jeggings are a comfortable alternative to the skinny jean – they provide the same look with more stretchy comfort.

As the winter months arrive, we don’t have to stop wearing leggings. Instead, we can opt to follow Tu’s lead. “Under Armour leggings are best for winter,” she explained. “They are not a fashion brand, but they are perfect leggings for the winter season. I like the matte texture. They are worth investing in. I already have four pairs.”

Now that we have an idea on how to perfect our legging looks, let’s move on to the definite legging ‘don’t’s:

1) Don’t wear the wrong undergarments under your leggings. Panty lines can often be visible when wearing leggings, so make sure to wear smoother underwear. You should also be careful to wear color appropriate undergarments; you don’t want to be showing off your neon underwear through your pastel leggings.

2) Don’t wear see-through leggings. There is a difference between leggings and pantyhose; tights are typically somewhat see-through, and you don’t want to be showing off too much.

I can’t wait to see you around campus in your newly-stylized leggings!