Entertainment Style From ’80s icon to 2020’s must-have: Kirstie Clements unpacks the legging

From ’80s icon to 2020’s must-have: Kirstie Clements unpacks the legging

Alexandra Lapp is seen wearing Saint Laurent stretch knit stirrup leggings in black, black So Kate pumps from Christian Louboutin, Saint Laurent Monogram Clutch in black all from Breuninger on June 09, 2020 in Dusseldorf, Germany
In 2020, leggings are no longer just for the yoga set, or '80s costume parties. Photo: Getty
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I was packing for a stay in the mountains this week and deliberating over what to wear from the waist down. After four months of track pants, the idea of squeezing into jeans or, horror of horrors, something with a waistband was extremely unappealing. I reluctantly zipped myself into my favourite loose jeans, now tight, immediately confirming that switching to an all-carb diet and eating two breakfasts does have consequences.

My travel companion turned up. She is one of my most chic and fashionable friends, and she was wearing … leggings. I haven’t had a pair of leggings since the ’80s. I have exercise-type Lululemon-style ones, but not fashion leggings. I was aghast!

Oh, I live in them,” said my friend airily. “I wear them to business meetings, to dinners, to all occasions.”

She was wearing hers with an oversized camel cashmere roll neck sweater and men’s black brogues. I settled into the passenger seat, opened a bag of chips and asked her to share how-to-wear-legging tips, as my jeans were already digging into my stomach rolls and we hadn’t even reached the sausage roll bakehouse in Leura yet. And here they are.

They must be black. We decided that on the drive, so it’s gospel now, people. Her legging of choice is from Cotton On, although she did buy some slightly more expensive ones online with the slit at the ankle.

They most certainly cannot be floral or patterned. God, no.

That is for Karens who wear them with flip flops and yell at people that it is their constitutional right not to wear a face mask.

A passerby wears blue and red floral print leggings, purple sneakers shoes, on July 04, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)
Floral leggings are for Karens. Photo: Getty

They cannot be in that weird tan/beige colour which when seen from a distance, looks like the person is not wearing any pants at all. Wear a colour that looks like cookie dough, you will look like cookie dough.

They should be of made of a cotton blend, not shiny, but one that is stretchy enough for you to move with ease, but firm enough to hold your tummy in and which will make you feel really happy.

Unless you are an Instagram wellness influencer with an abnormally small ribcage, leggings will generally look more polished worn with a longer line top.

Evangelie Smyrniotaki is seen wearing black beret, blue blazer, black pants and Emili Sindlev wearing checkered jacket, tights outside Chanel during Paris Fashion Week - Womenswear Fall/Winter 2020/2021 : Day Nine on March 03, 2020 in Paris, France
Black leggings can pair well with a blazer. Photo: Getty

My friend wears her leggings with a roomy, hip-length blazer, a long-line cotton shirt or a lightweight coat to go to work meetings, then changes into a big comfy sweater when she gets home.

Belting a coat worn over leggings is another quick way to add style in seconds, while remaining comfortable.

Strategic concealment is key, and proportion is everything.

You probably do not want the focus to be on your crotch, aka camel toe, or your bottom, so choose pieces that sit at hip length or longer.

Choose a fashionable flat shoe, like a loafer, a velvet slipper or a designer sneaker, which takes the look out of the gym and into the office.

And the bakehouse.