commentary,  style


Happy weekend, lovely people of the internet! I’d like to touch on something I read about recently regarding the ever-divisive item of clothing: leggings. A mother of four sons expressed outrage at the fashion industry for popularising leggings, thereby allowing women to “expose their nether regions.”

↑ Image above: I was travelling several years ago in Seoul, South Korea. I absolutely adored those skinny fit legging jeans, but I no longer fit into this shape. I will discuss flattering looser-fitting alternatives below.

According to Apple dictionary, leggings (noun) are:

Tight-fitting stretch trousers, typically worn by women or girls.

Being a student of design and a keen observer of fashion for about 10 years now, I would also define leggings as:

1) Bottoms that tend to have no back pockets.

2) Made of noticeably thinner stretch fabric than other types of bottoms such as jeans or tailored trousers. (Although there is a fine line between leggings and denim leggings, which are basically a hybrid between denim and leggings).

I myself am part of the generation that popularised spandex leggings as part of an everyday wardrobe. I used to wear them with long tank tops that covered my bottom. But I’ve come to realise that leggings only flatter figures that are long and slim. With time and age, my figure has gone from pretty skinny to fairly healthy, and I’m very glad to have outgrown these unforgiving and slightly scandalous garments.

Here are three kinds of trousers that are not leggings, which have become wardrobe staples of mine:

1. Tailored trousers

2. Relaxed trousers

3. Straight-leg jeans

I believe the popularity of tailored trousers in the past 50 years was made possible by the advent of polyester. Polyester is an affordable, lightweight and no-stretch synthetic material. They are ideal in trousers because they are long-wearing and retain their shape well. However, the downside of polyester is that it is derived from petroleum, a finite, less sustainable resource. Viscose (also known as man made silk) is a comparable alternative.

100% polyester tailored trousers. (A textile designer’s take: polyester garments are woven with polyester yarns. These ones like many other garments are made from the simple plain weave structure.)

I suppose one of the reasons why leggings are favoured by female shoppers is because of how comfortable they are in the warmer months. However, other equally comfortable but much more respectable looking trousers have come into the affordable end of the fashion market. Look no further than casual, relaxed trousers made from a wide variety of natural and synthetic materials in many different fabric weights: from cotton, linen, viscose to polyester. They are different from tailored trousers in that they fit looser, and have sporty features such as a drawstring or elastic waistband.

These 100% viscose printed ones were my favourite from last summer. (A textile designer’s take: these trousers were likely made from a fabric that was first woven from plain or bleached white yarns. Then, the pattern is likely digitally printed afterwards. Lastly, the fabric is cut and sewn into a garment.)

Remember those days in junior high school when almost every pair of jeans offered in retail was low-rise? Yeah, I’m so glad those days are long gone because those cuts do not flatter us shorter, pear-shaped ladies. I love how forgiving the straight leg style is in the knee and calf area.

99% cotton, 1% elastane washed black jeans. (A textile designer’s take: Denim is usually made from indigo or other coloured yarns – in this case black. These yarns are woven to make a denim fabric, which are subsequently cut and sewn into jeans.)

I hope my readers found my little insights interesting and informative. As always, thanks for dropping by, and I’d appreciate it if you would like and subscribe for more.

I'd love to hear your thoughts

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