THE ICONS

THE LEGGINGS

Writer, presenter and brand consultant Pippa Vosper can’t resist a good pair of leggings, and who can blame her really. The high-stretch staple has taken on a whole new life this year and Pippa is fully championing this once underestimated piece.

Wedding pictures
Blue cashmere sweater

As someone who spends up to three hours on my bike each day (two school runs and an office commute), I live in leggings. Simple for the school run, technical for workouts and knitted Alaia for meetings… even before a pandemic took over our lives, leggings had become my signature look. Then during lockdown, a million identical legs began parading across social media — turning the humble legging into a serious style statement. I even found myself advising friends on which style, cut and fabric to consider when buying them. Just call me the Oracle of Lycra Legwear…

Recent events have made me re-evaluate my wardrobe staple. Now that I’m no longer changing for an evening event or dinner with friends, updating and investing in leggings that make me feel ‘dressed’ has been the main focus of my clothing spend for much of the past year.

Once a semblance of normal life is finally allowed to resume, this vast uptake in leggings-collecting means we’ll all have to find alternative ways to wear the numerous pairs now housed in our closets. We could take inspiration from the Sixties and pair them with mini dresses, à la Pierre Cardin and Mary Quant. Or emulate Olivia Newton-John’s infamous reinvention in the closing scenes of Grease. Hers is a look I consider to be the ultimate legging ensemble: a high-shine, high-waisted pair teamed with an off-the-shoulder top. Personally, I’ve been taking a more Flashdance direction, buying up any stirrup styles that I spy when scrolling through collections late at night. During the last few months, I’ve become addicted to these night owl shopping sprees, my only way of securing a fashion fix. And the anticipation of the knock at the front door, with the accompanying thrill of being handed that bag full of exquisitely-wrapped purchases? Even more so…

Blue cashmere sweater

Zoom workout classes mean you can’t hide in the back of a studio, embarrassed at the bobbled leggings that you intended to update months ago. You’re now there on the shared screen for all to see (and dare I say, judge) the kit you’re in. For my virtual morning classes, I’ve been going full 1980’s Jane Fonda in ensembles of varying bold shades, as a way of differentiating my ‘work-from-home’ look from my ‘workout’ looks.

Interestingly, trying to keep up with my usual exercise regime and all the accompanying Lycra-investment has given me a whole new spin, as it were, on my former life as a spin-class instructor. Alongside my ‘fashion’ life, I taught classes for four years before giving up my regular sessions whilst pregnant with my daughter. But now, with enough leggings in my closet to last a lifetime, I’ve got new impetus to get back in the saddle…

A style icon in many senses, Kate Moss is the first person I think of when creating a look around a legging. She’s all-knowing when it comes to the art of dressing up simple Lycra and the example we can all look to come 2021. Remember her pixie boots and pirate shirt, teamed with her trusted black pair? Or her signature sleek leggings and blazer combo? One of my personal favorites was her famous Glastonbury look of PVC leggings and knee-high leather boots — that’s the one I’ll be emulating come spring.

As we head out of uncertainty and back to a more normal existence, it’s time to rethink your legwear looks. Invest in a new pair of boots, an oversized knit or blazer… and finally, bring your treasured jewelry out of retirement. Layered onto a simple base layer of black leggings, you’ll seldom go wrong.