We are living in a time of massive change. Technology has changed how we live, interact and see ourselves, our communities and the world around us. We are attempting to abandon tradition and in doing so have devised nomenclature around it; for example, what one may call correction another will call “shaming;” what one may call constructive criticism another will call “hating.” Anything even remotely resembling a conservative perspective is deemed the antithesis of freedom in all its forms and even offensive. In this time of great tumult being conservative has taken on a purely political definition, so that now the term ‘conservative’ translates to hard-heartedness, selfishness, close-mindedness, being opportunistic and compulsive lying to one’s self and others.
But until this past decade or so being conservative was the norm; people just didn’t call it that. Hindsight is 20/20. People called it getting dressed. Getting dressed took into consideration what is polite, proper and self-respecting. Conservative was just how people lived, at least compared to today. There were no people other than plumbers walking around with their behinds hanging out, seemingly to literally tell the whole world what it can do with its rules. Leggings were covered with a tunic or long t-shirt; nobody wanted their rear end all caressed in skintight fabric, every bump and divot of cellulite and the part between one’s cheeks visible to anybody walking by….because civility was the norm. We once cared about how we carried ourselves and understood how it not only reflected something about us and how we expect to be treated but how it impacted everyone else. Even though our society has never been perfect, we at least recognized the basic elements of civility. Respectability mattered.
I remember in my early twenties thongs were the trend. There was a whole song about it! Thongs were meant to be seen. The back strings of the thong were as much an accessory as a necklace or purse. It related that you were sexy and maybe a little bit “loose” (there’s a song about that too.) It was also a bit vulgar for that very reason. My mother would chastise me about how “nasty” it looked and I brushed it off like she just didn’t “get it.” Now I’m pretty sure I sound like my mother! I guess it happens to all of us?
The attitude of “It’s my body, I can do what I want” (there’s an old song that sounds like that too) supersedes all of the boundaries that were once the norm. But the question is, why is that what we want? Why do we not want to consider how doing what we “want” affects somebody else? Why do we not consider why what we want is to be exposed? What do we get out of it?
This is a picture of a woman in a warehouse preparing to pick up packages to deliver to households in the area. Why would a person dress like this to enter a stranger’s property? Why would this be thought of as an appropriate way to dress for such a job? Aside from the sheer lack of practicality, this manner of dress could be seen as inappropriate if not downright rude. But why did this person think dressing like this was a good idea when she could potentially encounter a homeowner – a husband, a pervert, or even a child? The outfit doesn’t even appear to be comfortable but what it definitely is is revealing. Now why would someone want to reveal themselves to a stranger on their property this way? Asking for a friend.
It seems that this is supposed to represent a woman’s comfort with her body, “no matter what people think.” Ironically it is actually all about what other people think! If my theory is valid, it is more indicative of a person trying to prove their self-acceptance to themselves. It doesn’t occur to me as genuine contentment because when it’s genuine there’s no need to try so hard. I reiterate it’s disrespectful to everyone around. Covering up doesn’t equal shame and showing every nook and cranny doesn’t equal confidence. The latter equals poor judgment if nothing else. When did exhibiting confidence in one’s physical form come to mean purposely revealing something so unattractive as excessive body fat and cellulite and the contours of private parts?
Again I have to ask, if a person wants to be noticed why do they want to be noticed in this way?
Now there is a way to wear leggings stylishly. That usually involves a high quality fabric and some sort of pattern. And there are times when wearing leggings and unitards are appropriate and sexy. Examples? The club. Carnival. The beach. A date with your boyfriend (probably not a good idea for a first date.) Drinks with the girl squad. After all, 90’s-inspired biker shorts are back.
Dressing more conservatively doesn’t mean being covered from head to toe or looking uptight and boring. Ultimately the key is having the good taste and sense to know how to wear revealing clothing like leggings and biker shorts and when they are just not meant for us. Spandex can be fairly unforgiving and we all have a little (or a lot) something that needs some camouflage. Showing off our flaws in the name of body confidence makes no sense.
Honestly, I’ve grown an appreciation for leggings and unitards in recent years. I certainly have more body confidence now than when I was younger. As you get older you get less self-conscious after gaining perspective on what’s important in life, have some accomplishments under your belt and begin to appreciate yourself more. I am far less self-critical than I used to be. (I’ve even grown so much in knowing my worth that I had the courage to leave a narcissist whom I was in love with because of his attempts to shatter my confidence.) It takes just as much effort to dress appropriately for the circumstances and our body type, and that will never go out of style.