Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Battle Of The Fugly: Sweatpants v Leggings

Celebrities really have a lot to answer for. Not only do they take up an embarrassing amount of my time via the medium of E! or Perez, they're also responsible for crimes.

You heard me. Celebrities can be criminals.

They commit crimes against fashion. (I don't care about their actual 'legal' crimes - that's a whole other subject about how unfair the judicial system really is which requires a lot more thought and philosophising than I can cope with today. Maybe next week.) And the worst thing about these crimes? You'd think they were victimless but, Dear Reader, they are not. There can be no other explanation for the proliferation of sweatpants and leggings stretching and straining against the thighs and asses of the nation.

(For the purposes of this argument we'll leave out the Vicky Pollard influences - these girls know no better and it's not right to mock them for that.)

Sweatpants and leggings belong to an environment that is conducive to exercise - the gym for example. In these contexts, it is perfectly acceptable to wear such items. After all, that is what they were originally designed for. Letting them out on the street for activities such as shopping (I'm allergic to exercise, not allergic to shopping ergo - sorry ladies - shopping is not exercise) and, horrors, Going Out. But which is worse? Sweatpants? Leggings? Let's find out.

Sweatpants first. Sigh. Where to begin? Personally I lay the blame at the feet of Jennifer Lopez. Back in the day when she was hanging out with Puff Daddy/P Diddy/ Diddy/ Whatever-Delete-As-Appropriate and being all "J-Lo" on us, she pioneered the rise of the velour tracksuit, namely those made by Juicy Couture.

Velour, people. That's a freaking upholstery material. And there ain't nothing couture about a tracksuit made from bubblegum pink upholstery material. NOTHING!

It started off as a minor thing - random pap pics of celebs leaving the gym or yoga, places where you would reasonably expect them to wear such items. But then, like the plague or cheap ass margarine, it spread.

Hollywood became a casualty of Casuality.

Sweatpants are limited to being "off duty" despite the fact that it is perfectly feasible to be "off duty" and retain a sense of style and refinement. Therein lies the problem - there is nothing refined about sweatpants. Anything that you can wear to lounge around the house, watching 6 straight hours of True Movies, eating a family size bag of popcorn to yourself* is never, ever going to be refined.

Add to this the proliferation of Uggs as footwear of choice and it becomes quite clear that limited though sweatpants are, they are capable of merging with other members of the Fug community to create their own gang, sent to terrorise those still in possession of their sanity.

So are leggings any better? Lindsay Lohan seems to think so - the fantastic Go Fug Yourself girls have bravely taken it upon themselves to monitor LiLo's leggings odyssey. On the mean and grimy streets of Britain we've had La Moss and Sienna Miller championing their cause. Cue nation follows.

Leggings have been hailed as the catch all alternative to tights. Hang on a minute, since when did we need an alternative to tights?! I get that last summer was a literal wash out and it was colder than it should have been but feet still need covering and last time I checked it was the 2000's not the 1980's. Tights would do that job. Leg AND feet covering. All in one. Revolutionary!

The main issue with leggings is that girls have decided that they can get away with wearing long length tees as dresses. This would almost be permissible if they invested money in good quality super opaque leggings not the £1 a pair Primark ones. Which are 60 denier if you're lucky. That's kinda see-through when stretched across an ample behind.

If leggings are to be sold then they shouldn't come in "One Size" or anything over a Size 8. Harsh I know but "One Size" does not fit all. It is a fallacy and a myth that should be stopped once and for all. And honestly, anyone over a size 8 is too damn curvy to be messing around with showing the world their ass and hips in cheap elasticated material. None the less, I've seen a lot of girls wearing not nearly enough material to warrant the label "dress" and thinking that wearing leggings somehow makes it ok.

Let me make this clear - Leggings Are Not A Suitable Alternative To Actual Trousers. They Are Tights With The Feet Cut Off. (But then footless tights are a complete misnomer, they are leggings. Won't someone think of the semantics?!)

But surely, I hear you cry, leggings under miniskirts are ok? Extra coverage is good right?

In most cases, yes. Unfortunately, leggings cut the leg to a stumpy mess. No matter how shapely your calf, the sudden stop of fabric at any point of it immediately renders you stumpy and dumpy. You obviously need me to tell you this is Not A Good Look. Why wear something that makes you look shorter and wider than you are? Is not the point of clothing to enhance what nature gave us rather than agreeing with the shortcomings and emphasising those?

Leggings are also exposed to more variety. Nicolas Ghasquiére - in all other ways a genius - showed himself to have a streak of evil coursing through his fashion veins as he paraded, nay flaunted, gold metallic leggings down the Balenciaga runway. $100,000 leggings.

You'd think the madness would stop there. No. American Apparel and Topshop leapt right in there, flashing the lamé like we were back in the last days of disco. Thankfully, I've not seen anyone bite on this one. But then I've not hung out in Hoxton for a while.

So in a maelstrom of fug, what is the lesser of two evils? Leggings or sweatpants? Leggings may well be more versatile but they are more capable of causing blindness via inappropriate usage. Sweatpants are at least identifiable as trouser like and provide the necessary coverage. I conclude then that the winner is sweatpants.

Please be advised though that you should strive to achieve an "off duty" look that doesn't centre around sweatpants. They are for exercise purposes only.

* The only reason I know this is because I had to conduct such an experiment in the name of research for this post. Not that I regularly watch 6 hours of True Movies. No.