Saturday, December 5, 2015

Leg Warmers Are Happening. Maybe.

One of the things I picked up while shopping with my mom was a set or three of leg warmers. I was born in '83, so I missed most of the 80's fashion (but for the t-shirt clips, scrunchies, and a bit of neon that trickled its way down to elementary school), but I saw the Olivia Newton-John "Physical" video on Pop-Up Video later on, so I feel like I'm still an expert on the workout wear. And according to the sock section of my local Ross, leg warmers are TOTALLY back in fashion.

I originally bought some because I thought they'd be cozy with my new rainboots (hands down my greatest purchase of 2015; it's rained one million days since mid-November and my Hunter Tours are so insanely comfortable I've worn them 10+ hours on days full of erranding and cooking and I still didn't want to take them off when I go to bed) and could make them look less rainboot-y when I wear them to work (because I totally wear them to work, you never know when rain might rise up to my 19th floor office and the parking garage really does get puddle-y).

So I had some cozy little sweaters for my calves that I thought would poke out of a boot over my jeans and that would be that. But then I turned to the google and asked "how do you wear legwarmers?" and there was a woman wearing them with heels and I thought it was adorable. So this past Wednesday, after two more days of google and pinterest, I decided I could do it. I would do it. I would be trendy. I got dressed and promptly chickened out and changed my clothes only to give myself a shake and remember this is not high school and 99% of the people in my office could care less what I'm wearing and I'm a goddamn grown woman and can wear calf-sweaters and heels on a cold day if I think it's cute and goddammit I do.

Then I said that like 15 more times, got redressed, and ran off to work 20 minutes late because I'm insecure and can't hang a pinterest printout from my neck to prove to other people that this is okay.

So I did it. But what do we think? I received 1 flash dance reference that at first I didn't get, one questioning look, and mostly complete nonresponsiveness because seriously no one cares what I'm wearing. And also my legs are under my desk the vast majority of the day.

But then I went to barre that night and felt I could completely embrace the legwarmer situation. Olivia Newton-John is an unimpeachable source and she told me I could. I was also wearing crazy patterned pants, so if anything, the ivory warmers toned down the whole look.

And now I've written a couple hundred words on leg warmers, but seriously, where do we stand? I have 3 pairs and a whole $15 total dollars invested in this trend, including a cozy brown pair I feel like I could wear over skinny jeans with my low flat chelsea boots that I otherwise haven't worn because it's now weird to see my ankles in boots and I don't know what to do with them.

If nothing else, they can join me at the barre every week in the winter. I feel confident wearing them there and I'm making my students sweat and shake too much to dare think otherwise.


  1. I'm a child of the 70s, and still love all things 80s (especially Swatch watches). Never been a big fan of leg warmers, maybe it's because my calves are a little on the robust side -- don't need more bulk there! Live the l warmers and heels look but suggest less contrast next time. How about black on black, for example? And let's bring back big, permed hair!
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    1. Hello Cindy, welcome! I have super small calves- like I can usually shove a whole arm between my leg and all my tall boots, which is very annoying, so I actually kind of like the idea of adding more bulk there. I did try less contrast- one of my (many) outfit changes on Wednesday morning was to a neutral marled sweater dress with brown tights, brown heels, and brown leg warmers and I discovered contrast (or maybe a leg warmer with some mixed yarn?) is necessary because from a distance you couldn't tell I had leg warmers on at all and instead calves just looked weirdly (and non-uniformly) wide and lumpy. That was when I took everything off and went for a sweater dress, tights, and boots, but then my calves missed their little sweaters and I decided to stop being ridiculous and just wear what I wanted. It was an exercise in personal growth. If it helps, the whole outfit included an emerald green cowl-neck sweater dress with a slightly flared skirt and a long-strand gold necklace with white pearls, clear crystals, and black faceted stones.

      But regardless of where we come out, I'm very pro-leg warmer discussion. Today I have on a multi-colored pair with black, cream, and gold over my black barre leggings, and I'm thinking maybe that would be the best answer with the black tights and heels? They did make my poor exposed feet significantly warmer, so I may keep a pair hidden under my desk just for that. And if nothing else, it's been fun to look at my whole wardrobe with a new eye again!

  2. Hmm... it's a tough call. I'm on the fence dressed up, but I think the barre look is on point.

  3. All my barre instructors wear legwarmers in the winter. Looks very cute! Not crazy about legwarmers outside barre.

  4. I think your work version has too much contrast and too little slouch, but I generally think leg warmers are a good idea.

  5. I like them for barre, and maybe a date night, but I'm not loving them with tights for work. I do love boot socks though!

  6. I remember the 80's, so take that into consideration... i.e. I'm OLD. But I have a fashion loving daughter, so I see stuff. I like your leg warmers, but I also think there is too much contrast with your work outfit and I think they would look better with booties with a chunkier heel. Another eighties fashion my daughter is hyper focused on is the return of gaucho pants, so look forward to that!

  7. I love them for barre! I'm not sold on them for work though.

  8. Barre looks fine. I would definitely not wear them for work or any other non-athletic wear situation though; they look odd, especially since you live in a (relative) warm place. FWIW, I live in an actual cold climate and no one is wearing those.

  9. I didn't know until reading this post just how many opinions about leg warmers I have!

    With skinny jeans and ankle boots - LOVE in all variations of styles and colors!
    With heels, I think it looks best with skinny jeans, no tights/socks so you can see a little skin between the top of the shoe and the bottom of the leg warmer.
    With dresses/skirts, I like them with ankle boots. Tights if you slouch them down a little or have the chunky short ones, bare legs if you have the thinner ones and pull them up.

  10. I love the opinions. And I love how polite everyone is in their "ehh, no". It's like we're all shopping together and you're trying to gently talk me out of something I clearly stepped out of the dressing room loving before we go get giant pretzels. (Or, let's be accurate, double doozies from Great American Cookie Co.). You can all go shopping with me anytime.

    (And I still secretly love the work look, I can't help it. Maybe it's the buttons? Maybe it's because most of my office is in sweatpants or elastic waist jeans? Someone needs to be having fun with their clothes, though I respect the overwhelming consensus of the commentariat and will stick with boots in the future ;).

  11. I have a question about kids' photo books, it seems like a great idea. How do you organize it? Does each page have a month, etc? How much text/narration does each page have? I have been reading about you doing these books and am encouraged to try them myself but just need a little guidance how to do it best. Thanks!

  12. Ha! Oh LL I love that you wrote a post on legwarmers:)

    This law school classmate of yours adores legwarmers. I still have a pair of light pink legwarmers that I got with a "Get in Shape Girl" workout set as a kid. I was around Claire's age and wore those things everywhere. They are too small for me now but I cannot bear to throw them away.

    Anyway...I only wear legwarmers to dance these days, both in class and socially. Or if I am running errands before or after either of those activities. I personally would not wear legwarmers to work (I'm in house and our dress code is casual) but my heart will sing if you do! Fwiw, I think you made it work in that photo, my body is too short and stumpy to make it look as graceful:)


  13. Girl, you can wear leg warmers to work. In fact, IMO you should wear them more wildly, because why the heck would you tone down leg warmers?

    You need to OWN them, like hell yes, I'm wearing leg warmers, and my calves are warm AND I am cute. Wear them brightly! The trippier the style, more fun you can have.

    Add to that, I love arm warmers. They're a fun way to create a splash of color if you're wearing dark colors or throw in some pattern against a solid background. And you get to show off your barrey fine upper arm muscles and not feel cold.

    Lastly, I started taking barre class thankyouverymuch. The twenty-nothing year old girls in the class wear their leg warmers all the way up over their knees. It looks adorable. Despite having 20 years on them, I'm going to try wearing them like that too, under tights and with a short corduroy skirt. TO WORK! Cray cray.