Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why Leggings Are Worn As Pants

They have been told to wear a skirt, or a long shirt, or a pair of shorts, over their leggings. So, why do women avoid that? Read the remainder of this blog entry for the differences between leggings, footless hosiery, and a bit of leggings history.

It started off in the 80s, but it came back in a totally different way. Back then, I think that they were actually were pants. When I see Peg Bundy on Married With Children, I see a pair of stretchy pants that did not reveal each butt cheek.

Even though I never studied the trend deeply, I believe that my assessment is very accurate because of how early this fashion was adopted in the Metro Vancouver Regional District, which is where I live, and how late it was adopted by trend setters in the US and other parts of Canada.

Legwear Comparison

To understand how we went from there to here, let us start off by comparing leggings, and footless hosiery.


They are similar in that, a typical pair, of each of these, goes from the waist to the calves or ankles, and they usually are made of nylon and spandex.

Unique Leggings Features

Leggings sometimes have seams on the outer legs, and sometimes a seam goes up and down the middle of the back and front. It definitely has 1 seam that goes up an inner leg, and continues down the other inner leg.

Leggings with only the inner seam are made by creating a big hosiery tube, and then cutting out inner upside down "U" shapes, on opposite sides of the tube. The opposite sides are then sewn together along the cut edges. At last, you have your 1-seamed leggings.

It is possible to make a pair of seamless leggings, but there is probably no demand for them.

Leggings are usually completely opaque, unless the woman's thigh is quite large, and/or the woman has her legs bent.

Another important feature of leggings is that they do not have visibly reinforced areas around the hips and waist.

Unique Footless Hosiery Features

Footless hosiery could be opaque or sheer, but are not usually as opaque as leggings.

They typically do not have a seams on the legs, unless they are deliberately added for styling.

The mid-range to high-range styles tend to have a cotton gusset.

The mid-range to high-range styles tend to have reinforcement around the pantie portion.

The History Of A Trend

While the physical features give hints on how the products are to be worn, none of this really explains how leggings transitioned in some communities from undergarments to pants replacements.

Yoga Pants & Leggings As Pants

Women started wearing yoga pants outside of the yoga studio. It made sense, because people already wore baggy sweat pants in public. Wearing yoga pants, as a replacement for baggy pants, in public as casual wear was a step towards more-revealing clothing. A few bold people got the idea of wearing leggings with nothing else covering their bums. After all, people wearing yoga pants do not cover their bums, so why not? Leggings are really only a step away from yoga pants.

Another minor factor that might have pushed the trend is the fact that both yoga pants and leggings are often made of nylon and spandex. People may have made a connection there, and opted for leggings as a more affordable and comfortable replacement for yoga pants, even if leggings are not as opaque and thick.

The leggings styles that women opted for were compatible for this fashion, because those had no gussets, and modesty was not a determining factor.

Footless Hosiery & Leggings With Coverings

As the time, women wore footless hosiery under skirts, so it made sense to embrace leggings as a form of hosiery. Therefore, it made sense to wear them under skirts, especially since they were meant to be covered around the hips and waist. It was really the perfect time for leggings under skirts and shorts.

2 Leggings Trends Together

And that is how we arrived at where we are today: 2 trends that were both descended from nylon and spandex, but 1 came from yoga pants, and the other came from footless hosiery under skirts. Yoga pants helped to save both trends, because it helped women to feel bolder about their bottoms, which encouraged them to wear leggings. Leggings are versatile enough to be worn with both trends.

Like I said, that is just my opinion for the Metro Vancouver Regional District. Whether we should allow leggings to be worn as pants are a totally different subject.

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