The High Cost of Comfort: Designer Leggings

It’s Monday, and I’m nursing a hangover of the worst kind: A destination wedding hangover. The festivities were glorious; the drive to and from Vermont was not. My body’s still vibrating. I look and feel about as alive as a mutilated squirrel.

I can’t think of a better time for a rant.

Shopbop: This one’s for you.

Let’s begin with the question, Why do women wear leggings? Because job loss, reduced hours and telecommuting have made traditional office attire increasingly irrelevant. That means you can work or not work whilst wearing whatever the eff you want. Leggings are the answer for multiple reasons: They’re more comfortable than jeans, cuter than sweatpants, and enable us to feel dressed without actually having to get dressed. Also, their price points generally don’t threaten our ability to afford food and shelter.

Leave it to Fashion to fuck that last part up.

I don’t know if this is factually true, but my hunch is that what Fashion produces has to be in sync with what women are wearing. Otherwise, it looks as if the industry has zero control over how we spend our money – that’s when the advertising plugs get pulled.

Unfortunately, when high-end designers jumped on the legging train, they neglected to consider the relationship between the popularity of leggings and the current economic climate. Brace yourselves for the result.



A reader alerted me to the Robert Rodriguez Mesh Leggings after learning of their $198 pricetag. Were one million spiders required to weave them? Had they too graced the legs of a socialite? No and no; apparently, two-hundred dollars is the going rate for designer-sanctioned mesh these days. If you think that’s offensive, look directly to the right. The Mara Hoffman Printed Leggings aren’t a versatile legwear option so much as an exercise in expert-level doodling. You want to wear an oil painting on your ass, that’s your prerogative – just don’t spend $286 doing it.

Moving on to LaROK‘s I Am a Rock Star Leggings. I don’t care how good your Bowie impression is – spending $348 on sequined leggings just isn’t a Rock Star move, poser. Let’s call these I Am a Jack Hole Leggings for the time being.



If synthetic leggings cost this much, what of their leather and suede brethren? We’re about to enter the world of sartorial lunacy. Get excited. Kiki de Montparnasse is a line illustrative of one of Fashion’s greatest truths: If you charge enough for something, people will overlook how trashy it is. Take the $850 Nuit Leather Leggings, for example. Leather and sheer mesh are like peanut butter and mayonnaise; naughty and delicious on their own, but all kinds of gross when combined. You want to slut it out, do it at a sex shop in the West Village where $850 buys you the store’s entire inventory.

Vogue’s fave newbies have clearly tired of designing for the peons via GAP, if these leggings are any indication.



Vena Cava‘s Leather Leggings with Knit Panel are priced at $909; Alexander Wang‘s Stretch Suede Combo Leggings cost a whopping $1,175. The numbers are nauseating on their own, but it’s the cut of the pants that really makes me want to spew.

I figured the ill-fitting bottoms in their respective GAP collections meant cheap khaki was tough to craft. Alas, the astronomically overpriced legwear pictured isn’t all that flattering on the twig of a model – my guess is it wouldn’t fly on a women whose bones don’t jut out of her hips. VC knows dresses and Wang knows tees. But when it comes to the crotch, hip and tush area, they don’t know shit about shit.

I consider all of the above a personal affront to me and my love for the universal comfort, versatility and affordability of leggings. So let’s all keep our eyes peeled for designer legwear at Buffalo Exchange, where it’ll inevitably show up, new with tags, in a few months time. Then we can stick it to Shopbop and the brands it drools over by bragging about how little we paid. It won’t be an overly mature response, but it’ll be deserved.

Also super fun.

Comments

  1. rae says

    “But when it comes to the crotch, hip and tush area, they don’t know shit about shit.”

    Too true too often. WTF does a design school degree buy you these days?

  2. says

    I seriously just spent a few minutes trying to firgure out if the third last pair had a mesh panel or a suede panel, and I only finalized my decision after reading that it was in fact mesh.

  3. Essie says

    The leather and mesh had me howling!!! There is a “Hustler” store in my city and they sell those things for $35.00!! Still too much but better than $850!!! (I’m just noting this for those who want these trashy things.)

    Great Monday rant . . . and I totally agree!!

  4. julia says

    FYI – I tried on an identical pair of sequined leggings at Forever 21 this weekend and opted not to buy cause they cost $15 – maybe i should rethink that price point.

  5. Jenny says

    Please. You don’t have to buy these. Some will and some won’t. As a customer we get to make those choices. Someone must be buying or they wouldn’t have them.

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