I realize we’re a culture that likes a little vulgarity. We’ve embraced MTV; sex-crazed, blood-sucking vampires; Snookie; and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But we’re also a culture that pushes back when our collective sense of propriety has been crossed. We like warning labels on obscenely graphic or explicit songs and TV shows, we just said “no” to American Pie 2, and public nudity is still illegal (sort of). We have a cultural gag reflex that alerts us when a trend has ventured too far into ickland. Apparently, that reflex is on the fritz, because we’ve deemed the only article of clothing capable of transforming otherwise attractive women into walking displays of Saran-wrapped Jell-O as fall’s hottest fashion trend: jeggings.
For those of you who are blissfully unaware, jeggings are the illicit and inevitable love child of jeans and leggings. The ick factor of a pair of jeggings is determined by two things: the spandex-to-denim ratio and the wash of fabric. The trend as of late has been less denim and more spandex, rendering the current incarnation of jeggings nothing more than glorified, elongated biker shorts, equipped with painted-on pockets, elastic waistbands, and, if you’re lucky, a little faux bling. This, however, is where the comparisons stop. For there was never a time when it was acceptable to wear biker shorts casually; they had their function and place—on a bike. The only time and place jeggings might be appropriate is when you’re dressing up as a deli for Halloween and you need to disguise your legs as sausages. In which case, mission accomplished.
Another misguided departure on the part of jeggings is their foray into acid wash, which makes the comparison with splotchy sausage links all the more cogent. The only previous instance of acid-washed spandex burned into my memory is courtesy of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, a movie about hookers. Need I say more?
I’m glad women across America seem to have embraced their bodies with reckless abandon. And I’ll admit it, I’m a vegetarian with a strong distaste for Jell-O, so maybe I’m missing the appeal. But I don’t think I am. There’s a classier way to celebrate your curves, ladies. The prophet Beyoncé declared in 2001 that America was not ready for “this jelly.” Her wise words still ring true. We are not ready. It’s time to put your pants back on, America. In the meantime, we all need to start saying this out loud: “Jeggings? WTF?!”
WTF is a series dedicated to the trends that haunt our city streets and leave us with nothing else to say but, “What the f#$%!?” While individuality is appreciated when it comes to personal style, WTF-committers may suffer from a lack of judgment with regard to taking risks. If you see a trend that leaves you saying, “WTF?” please send a message care of the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org.