I don’t notice it that much in my everyday life, but in December I traveled just enough to very clearly feel how much mental space is cleared by having an established travel outfit. I prepared my little black pile the night before without a thought or doubt: the most comfortable knickers, the sports bra, the long socks, the undershirt, the long-sleeved shirt, the leggings and the long cardigan.
It is not a set for very warm weather but it is perfect for all other seasons, Latvia in general and the arbitrary heating of non-spaces – stations, airports, buses, trains and airplanes – as the layers allow to adjust to the temperature. And it’s body-friendly, no belts, zippers, buttons, hooks, or other civilized restrictions. It’s all black and I feel like a ninja as no one suspects how incredibly comfortable I am. I even think it calms me psychologically by being simple, relaxed and yet still giving the elusive feeling of being put together… invincible, in a way. And the long cardigan has pockets! It is the perfect set, really.
Leggings are the most controversial part of the set but at the same time the key to achieve that total comfort.
Depending on your age and interest in leggings in the last 15 years (!), you will remember with more or less acuity the cultural fight before the final arrival of athleisure for all occasions and the moment when the expectation to wear a long top over leggings disappeared. For me the peak of resistance to leggings as pants was the manifesto of tightsarenotpants.com, and it is even more astonishing that someone still maintains that website.
Calling it a closed issue is my perception of the zeitgeist, yet the internet says that the debate was still alive at least until the beginning of the pandemic (see examples from 2016, 2017, 2019 and more 2019). Since then, we already know, everything is loungewear.
Although the cultural conversations about the undue sexualization of the female body is very important, as that is what the leggings-are-not-pants dispute is about, I do not live my use of them as an anti-patriarchal rebellion … or as a lascivious posturing to show the shape of my ass to all passersby.
For me – and I suspect that is true for a lot of people – wearing leggings is not a political act, but the search for comfort… which, yes, is still a political act for women but not in the same way. And the image that represents this feeling for me is a cartoon that I saw years ago on tumblr, apparently from this user, and now I have managed to find it on Pinterest. My search also returned another cartoon on the same topic here. But his one is the original my mind keeps returning to:
Because that’s how I move through the world in my leggings, too comfortable to pay attention to what anyone might think about my body and its packaging.
Only once has someone told me something about such an outfit and it was such a weird and counterintuitive experience that I still don’t understand it. It was in Denmark in 2015, in Louisiana seeing a Kusama exhibition. In other words, in a progressive and tolerant country full of courteous and introverted people, and in a modern art museum celebrating an artist who has done much weirder things than showing the shape of her butt and thighs. But throughout my visit, two unrelated people approached me to ask if I had lost my skirt and if I was aware of how I was dressed.
This is what I was wearing:
Are these two strangers to blame for my turn to black leggings? A bit. Is it only their lesson that it is more relaxing and socially acceptable to dress up as a ninja than as a Kusama fantasy? No, obviously.
So, here’s to an incredibly comfortable 2022 with just the right balance between extravagant and camouflage. Above all, here’s to respecting the sartorial choices of other people and having ours respected in return.
Taller de visión del armario perfecto con collage | 19 de enero 18:00 – 19:30 en Centre Cívic Trinitat Vella, Foradada 36, Barcelona.
Intercambio de ropa | 22 de enero 18:00 – 19:30 en Centre Cívic Trinitat Vella, Foradada 36, Barcelona.
Intercambio de ropa de bebés 0-3 | 5 de febrero 11:00 – 14:00 en Ateneu Roig, Torrent d’En Vidalet 32, Barcelona.
E-commerce tal como lo conocemos es absurdo: Superurgente, rápido, devolución: el impacto de las rutas cuando compras por Internet + ‘Hacer pagar a Amazon’, por qué sus trabajadores hacen huelga internacional en el Black Friday.
¿Estamos dispuestas a asumir que las nubes y los datos también contaminan y mucho? La alta huella ambiental de ver vídeos en plataformas como Netflix.
The creepiest part of renting-not-buying consumption, and to what extent that scary future is already here: In 2030, You Won’t Own Any Gadgets.
Throughout 2021 I have been grateful for and happily radicalized by Virginia Sole-Smith’s newsletter, but I find the idea of “the perfect jeans” very weird and divorced from the material reality… there is interesting women-wearing-pants history there, though: That Time I Bought 50 Pairs of Jeans. For Science.
Take this as a sign to play more, please: How Play-Doh Helped Save Me From My Despair in Grad School.
And that’s it for this week! I hope that you enjoyed reading and would be very happy to hear from you, regarding leggings or anything else… in the comments below, via Facebook or Instagram, or via e-mail at luize.ratniece [a] gmail .com
Guardarrr is a bilingual newsletter dedicated to sustainability and mindfulness in fashion. It is written by Luīze Ratniece, a sociologist and textile activist based in Barcelona. Guardarrr is both a tool for reflection and a crowdfunding channel for the wardrobe tracking app that Luīze is building. If you read this newsletter and value it, please consider going to the paid version to fund this project for a monthly equivalent of a coffee + pastry. Each subscription warms my heart immensely and helps going on, thank you so much for being here with me!