Thursday, March 30, 2017

Fashion Sense and Nonsense: Leggings and Jeans

I have never been a fashion maven or interested in the latest fashion trends, but recent news articles about leggings and jeans captured my attention. In the leggings story, two teenage girls were barred from boarding a United Airlines flight because of their attire. Leggings are not banned for everyone, the airlines assured distressed customers, only individuals representing the company. Apparently the girls were dependents of United employees.

The second article impacts me personally, stating men and women over the age of 53 should not wear jeans. It is not a hard and fast rule, a guideline, but reinforces the fact that people over a certain age should not wear particular items of clothing.

Back in the good ole days my grandmother wore a housecoat or dress, clunky black shoes and stockings. I cannot recall her ever wearing pants, although that does not mean she never did. But I think her clothes screamed, “old! I am old!”

I do not want my clothes advertising that message, but on the other hand I do not want folks whispering about my appearance, “silly old lady trying to look young. Ugh!”

The leggings issue brings to mind numerous times I observed rather overweight individuals ensconced in leggings and a top not covering, or barely covering, their backside. Often the top is a tight-fitting halter. It is not a pretty sight, and I wonder if the person looks in the mirror, scanning their figure front and back before leaving the house. Does the person care how she looks? My guess is either the individual would rather be fashionable than frumpy, or skewed vision alters brain cells and the woman believes her appearance fine. Maybe even fetching.

The girls refused entry on the plane may have looked adorable, as slim young things often do in leggings, but whether or not they looked hot or not, the airline viewed their apparel as unsuitable.

Confession time: I own a pair of leggings, but wear them with a long, loose-fitting top reaching at least mid-thigh, attire comfortable and hopefully not distasteful-looking. I cannot, however, see myself wearing leggings every day.

United Airlines assured everyone in numerous communications that regular passengers can wear leggings onboard. A popular current style, whatever fashion statement the wearer believes they are making, leggings are comfy, especially for sitting in tight spaces for any length of time. The tights are definitely more comfortable than figure-hugging, clingy, fitted jeans, the other fashion choice of the young and slim. I, on the other hand, an untrendy fuddy duddy, have no problem donning jeans that fit easily around my core.
The fashionistas spoke, and I should not wear jeans. But I do not have to listen. I cannot – yet – retire mine. The article mentions the fact that on average it takes five days of shopping to find a good fitting pair of jeans, and the frustration sometimes results in tears.

I can relate.

On the other hand, the harried shopper probably will not need to buy another pair of jeans for three to five years.

What a relief.

I can postpone the jeans to-wear-or-not-to-wear question until I need a new pair, a couple of years away. Meanwhile I will wear my jeans proudly, my head held high, knowing I am making a fashion statement the designer Yves Saint Laurent gave the stamp of approval:

I wish I had invented blue jeans.
They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity –
 all I hope for in my clothes.
-       YSL

The next compelling fashion question of the times: can women of a certain age wear leggings?

I researched this significant issue and the answer is YES – as long as the accompanying top drapes somewhere well south of one’s butt.

Another sigh of relief. I do not have to toss my leggings out – yet. And, just like jeans, leggings are not for women only, as the following quote attests -

Final words on the subject, expressing my feelings perfectly, from one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, Franz Kafka -