I am a lady of class. I have standards. Standards are vital to the very structure of civilized society. That’s why when I first saw a hard-bodied millennial wearing leggings, circa 2008, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I had a responsibility—a duty—to take a stance against this fashion transgression.
If this became a trend (and it wouldn’t) I would never, NEVER get onboard. As a respectable modern woman—a woman who’d travelled the world, nabbed a handsome and cultured man, birthed children and served mid-range wine at dinner parties—there could be no justifiable cause, no lawful defense for a woman of my stature to sport these paper-thin, elastic abominations.
November, 2011: I am at work in my downtown office. A delivery woman enters pushing a dolly carrying our newly purchased paper shredder. In her haste to deliver the cargo, she pushes past us and a piece of cardboard snags a gaping hole in my pantyhose. Embarrassed, I make an emergency trip to the pharmacy on my lunch break where I discover that they are sold out of charcoal mediums.
To my considerable disgust, I see that my trusty pharmacy is now vending packs of store-brand leggings. The clock is ticking. I need to be back at the office by 1 for a meeting with a lofty client. I purchase a black pair, telling myself that in this emergency they will suffice in maintaining dignity until the end of the day.
Afterward, the leggings went immediately to the backest of the back of my closet. There they stayed, until one ordinary day the following September when I could wait no longer to wear the new fall tunic I’d purchased.
This being my inaugural tunic, I was a little confused. Was it a dress? Was it a shirt? I tried it on with pantyhose, and the verdict from my two-stripe peek-a-boo ass was decidedly a no. I swapped my tights for jeans and did a few thoughtful twirls in front of the mirror. Okay. But jeans at the office? I decided against it (standards and all that). At that moment, from the deepest, darkest corner of my psyche, a tiny voice struggled through: “The leggings. Wear it with the leggings.” it said.
On my mother’s grave, I will never understand where that voice came from nor why, on that fateful day, I decided to listen to it, but I can tell you that after that, the world was never the same.
Leggings began to make monthly then weekly appearances in my clothing repertoire. I noticed other well-groomed, seemingly sane people – even celebrities – wearing them! I bought another pair, and then another. I secretly relished the comfort, the ease, the versatility, and how they showed off my growing inventory of spanky boots.
But I still had my doubts.
Tuesday last. My alarm didn’t go off. It was picture day at school, I hadn’t packed the lunches, and I needed to be at a meeting at 8—an emergent situation by all accounts. And in my haste to get us out the door, without realizing it…I may have worn my pajama bottoms to work. Worst of all, this detail completely escaped my notice until I saw the essentials sleepwear tag when I went for a pee around 11.
No big deal, I consoled myself. No one had even noticed. Really, there was no discernible difference between these particular bottoms and the leggings I wore most other days at work. Still, the civilized woman inside was screaming…Nowhere in the history of mankind has it been acceptable for sleepwear and professional wear to overlap. THIS IS NOT OKAY. Surely, some vigilante pillar of sophistication is imminently going to arrest me for crimes of fashion? But no.
October, 2017: It’s Saturday. We’re having a lazy day! Leggings are a no-brainer. I go to grab a pair from my stash and, to my dismay, realize they are all in the laundry. I spy a rogue pair of jeans at the bottom of my drawer and decide they will have to do. I eye them suspiciously and begin wiggling them on. Were jeans always this awkward? I did up the button. Why were they so tight? Clothes were not meant to be painful. I took a few steps around the room. So restrictive. Like if I wanted to bust into lotus pose right now, I couldn’t even.
Without giving it a second thought, I swapped them for my grubbiest college sweat pants, grabbed all the leggings I could carry, and threw it in the machine. Express Wash.
It was an emergency.