Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More leggings-as-pants

According to long-awaited Atlantic lady-blogger Megan McArdle, I believe that my generation was the first to think up sex, drugs, rock'n'roll and, most upsettingly, leggings. Since I neither believe this nor said this, I feel I should respond.

Hipsters did not collectively split the atom. They are not innovative or original in some profound way that requires us all to stare awestruck at their amazingness. They, perhaps more than other youth (or youth-ish) subcultures, borrow extensively from the past, rejecting contemporary trappings such as North Face fleeces in favor of the shredded blazers of the 1940s, the legwarmers of the 1980s, and so on. Yet there is indeed an aesthetic/attitude one can ascribe specifically to those who can rightly be called hipsters, specifically in 2007 or thereabout. One can thus reasonably expect that this collectivity, like the mods and hippies before them, will reappear every few decades as a 'retro' look, but will in the short term lose way to some other look. I don't know what in my post suggested that I am too young to understand that fashion is always recycled, or that I believe my generation invented chain-smoking and appreciation of obscure bands. If she is wrong and my generation did in fact invent leggings-as-pants, I do of course apologize as a representative.


Anonymous said...

There were leggings as early as the 3rd century B.C., among, I kid you not, Syrian Jews.

See: "Fresco from the synagogue of Dura Europos," in Boucher's "20,000 Years of Fashion".

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

Wouldn't this have required lycra-spandex? I thought only the Ashkenazi Jews were that clever in those days.