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Trend spotting: Legging it all out - PHOTOS

blog by Alyssa Hood  • 

I would like to give whoever invented leggings a big spandex-y hug and thank them for creating these miracle pants.

Not only are they a fashion staple, evolving seamlessly over the decades to somehow squeeze themselves in with trends both from 1984 and 2014, but they are also a girl’s green light to wear pajamas out of the house.

Now listen closely: just because you have this go-ahead, by no means do you have permission to rock them with a tank or a crop top.

These sleek pants that leave little to the imagination can take a turn out of class-ville pretty quickly, so be sure to tread carefully. They actually require more thought than one would expect when putting together an outfit, and it’s important to track down the perfect pair.

Let’s talk about this legging evolution. Somewhere around 2006 you had the staple black cotton American Apparel leggings that you probably washed so much they turned a faded gray.

Around 2008 the jegging was in full force and, when you decided it was safe, you experimented in either leggings dyed a denim color or yes, admit it—the pajama jean.

Then slowly over the years as the skinny jean made an undeniable comeback, designers everywhere increased the spandex-to-denim ratio. This created the perfect three-way stretch in jeans that you didn’t know could exist, ultimately making their purchase irresistible.

Now speed up to present time. These days it’s pretty difficult to decipher between a legging and regular pair of pants—the new mantra of designers goes a little something like this: the tighter the better.

Along with the totally tight trend, a leather comeback has made its way into our lives—leather leggings have become more common parading down the street than they are at a Kiss concert.

Stores everywhere are now busting at the seams with fun new options. In addition to leather, they are being constructed with different materials and wild patterns—making them one of the most expressive forms of clothing available.

Pick your poison: studded ankles or seams, different colored paneling, suede fabrics, animal or Navajo prints.

You want it? There is a legging that has it.

So with comfy pants always on my mind, I jogged into Modern Nostalgia, 1382 Hertel Ave., Buffalo. Yes, jogged.

In 9-degree weather, and with whipping winds threatening to give every surface of my skin frostbite, I have quickly learned walking isn’t an option in this freezer they call Buffalo.

As I opened the door and my flushed face rejoiced from the warmth, I was determined to find a cozy outfit that would make me feel like a warm fireplace.

I ran my fingers over each piece of clothing hanging on the exposed brick walls, searching for a specific softness that would grab my attention.

These army-green leggings ($94 at Modern Nostalgia) found my fingertips with a type of fabric in pants I have never experienced before.

I picked up a few other fun items, but couldn’t get my mind off these mystery pants that felt softer than petting the ears of a 6-week-old puppy.

Their dark camouflage colors pointed to a fun night out with friends while also promoting the perfect stealth Irish exit.

With the all-American designer Ralph Lauren being a forever favorite of mine, the second I see equestrian-inspired apparel, I am reeled right in like a gambler at the derby.

These leggings have an obvious “I’m going horseback riding” vibe so I pulled them on and closed my eyes as I galloped along Ralph’s ranch in Telluride, Colo..

Hey, there is no reason the imagination of your clothing can’t transport you to far away places. It’s the beauty of fashion.

Given that the texture of these pants felt like Charlotte had woven them from the silk of her very own web, I knew that the designer of these pants, Benjamin Jay, had to have a personal dedication to textiles.

Modern Nostalgia owner Bri Klejdys-Long informed me that Benjamin Jay is somewhat new to the fashion scene and, in contrary to most designers, resides in the colorful city of Miami, Fla.

I learned that he is a strong supporter of spotlighting high-end manufacturing in the U.S.

A hard feat, especially when almost everything in the U.S is outsourced to Europe or China to be developed, it was near breathtaking to me that pants so beautiful were made right here in the land of purple mountain majesties. America, F*** yeah!

Any black coat will do with these pants, so I pulled my favorite leather motorcycle jacket out of my closet.

If you need something warmer, go for it. This outfit is about the pants this time.

To top off the ensemble, I fed my scarf obsession with this Paula Bianco scarf ($84 at Modern Nostalgia).

Made of just acrylic and wool, its pure-butter feel proved cashmere finally had real competition.

When I asked about how Klejdys-Long does the buying for her store, she giggled and said, “If it’s not soft and comfy, I don’t want it.”

This scarf definitely verified her statement.

Lastly, inspired by Beyoncé’s gold necklaces in her new video—“XO,” I grabbed these flashy neck ornaments that were strung across Modern Nostalgia’s rustic jewelry table.

Because quite honestly I don’t know when I’m not inspired Beyoncé, and this song is the perfect soundtrack for how I feel in these pants.

Now go love some leggings—lights out.

Editor’s note: Take a look at Modern Nostalgia’s photo-centric Tumblr page, which is updated frequently).

(All photos are courtesy of Buffalo.com photographer Don Nieman).

TAGGED: alyssa hood, don nieman, fashion, leggings, modern nostalgia, photos

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  1. Darlene Hirsch February 08, 2014 @ 12:03pm

    The legging is a definite staple for any gals wardrobe..a classic to wear is many ways.  Great spotlight on Buffalo ‘s fashion stores.
    ..keep it coming Alyssa!

    Darlene Hirsch's avatar