New York Fashion Week has arrived, sending a flurry of fashion editors, bloggers, models and the generally fashion-obsessed scurrying to Lincoln Center to see what will be big for Spring 2011. But, more interestingly, they will be wearing what’s big for Fall 2010: pants.
That’s right, pants.
By now, we are all familiar with leggings and jeggings (jean leggings) and any other leggings-tights-other material hybrid that has been big on the streets. Though these spandex wonders cover the lower half, they are not pants. Pants should, hopefully, not reveal every curve, underwear line and whether or not the wearer has shaved her legs. Camel toe is a distinct possibility. Sure, leggings are comfortable. But it seems that the discomfort of everyone staring at your spandex-ed bottom and inner thighs (whether covered or not by a long top) outweighs the comfort of being able to twist your legs into a pretzel when you sit down. At least, it does to me.
This is where pants come in. Fall fashion magazines and ads for various designers and stores (save, of course, D&G and their knit onesies) are highlighting pants. But not just any pants – higher-waisted, bum-skimming, wide-legged pants that make the wearer look tall and gazelle-like. Though the fashion mags cite the return of the ’70s, in my mind it’s the second coming of Katharine Hepburn, actress extraordinaire and one of my personal style icons. (Just watch The Philadelphia Story, and tell me you don’t want everything she wears. I definitely do.)
But don’t worry, devotees of bootcut and skinny jeans (I am a big fan of the latter). All sorts of pants are big. It’s just that the focus is on a wider leg. What I think is even more important than the return of pants is the attitude that goes along with wearing them. Again, see Katharine Hepburn. There is a confidence, an insouciance, a tomboyish quirk that gives pants-wearers an extra jaunt to their step. Pants can be worn with a sense of humor. Leggings are worn with the constant worry that something is showing which shouldn’t be. And who wants to be tugging at their clothes all day?
Clothes should be worn with ease and wit. Nothing mars the effect of a smashing outfit than a fidgeting girl constantly tweaking her collar or adjusting a hemline. (Trust me, I’ve been there.) Pants should, hopefully, eliminate some of this discomfort. If you need help, look to Ms. Hepburn. And join me in welcoming back pants.