10 Reasons to Stop Caring and Embrace Spandex

Came across this great blog post by Mercer Smith-Looper: 10 Reasons to Stop Caring and Embrace Spandex.

She is a young woman who talks about how great spandex is–and not just for women & girls either–and how we should just overcome our insecurities and wear it. She goes on to write that spandex is not limited to pants & leggings but to tops and other articles as well. I think her open-mindedness is great and her 10 tips are actually helpful and inspiring. So with all due respect to her I’m going to republish her commentary here, but you should still visit the link above to see some of her photos and the comments left on her post.

Hi. My name is Mercer, and I am a spandex addict. And, while some people may have an undiscerning palate when it comes to shiny things, my particular penchant leans towards Black Milk.

I know what you’re thinking “Gross. You are one of those girls. LEGGINGS AREN’T PANTS, LADY.” Well, this probably isn’t the post for you then.

Two years ago prior to Wistia, I worked slinging coffee at a local coffee shop. There was a girl that worked there with me, who I was always kind of intimidated/awe-inspired by, that wore spandex and dresses from H&M everyday. She gave no effs whatsoever, and I was totally insecure and totally jealous. So, what did I do? I started dressing like her.

 

It started calmly: bits of spandex from Delia*s, plain colors from H&M, until one day I saw a print on Black Milk that I needed to have and couldn’t live without: the full range of hex codes for inline stylings and CSS presented in Pantone style. They were the first of my babies, and will be mentioned later on.

But, really, no one cares why I love spandex or started wearing it. You guys all just care why you should love spandex. So, here are my reasons that you should love spandex, whether you are a male, female, feline, or Time Lord:

1. If you have gotten the gall up to wear a pair of skin-tight spandex outside as a substitute for pants, you deserve some kind of award. It shows that you have officially given up caring about what people think about you, and put yourself and your comfort first. Rock on.

2. On the note of comfort: wearing all spandex is great. I do it most (read: all) days. It feels like I am walking around in some kind of body sock or pajamas—and when you can make those look great it should be a win/win in anybody’s book.

3. Spandex wearers, particularly those of the Black Milk variety (called Sharkies) are an awesome community—they are sporadic, enthusiastic, artistic, creative, and fun, for the most part. They also probably like hula hooping or some other kind of niche hobby—you can learn a lot from them.

4. There are so many fun prints that serve as conversation starters. My full Black Milk collection is featured in a gif below. I wore my Hex/Pantone leggings to UserConf a few weeks ago. A guy coming up the escalator behind me said that he loved my pantone-lones, and now I follow him on Twitter. He is hilarious and awesome, and we probably never would have met if I hadn’t been wearing rainbow pants.

 

5. It’s easy. You can stretch in them and move around. You need not fear that your bum is going to be coming out over the top of your jeans, or that your underwear will show when the wind blows up your skirt. Leggings are great because they are dependable and stretchy and will not rip in any kind of crazy, spur-of-the-moment motion you decide to make.

6. Spandex is a unisex garment. While I am sure there are men out there who would argue otherwise, there is a large community of gentlemen who are advocates and lovers of Black Milk and spandex-kind. Rock on, brothers.

7. You get tons of compliments and feel totally rad about yourself and the world. This sounds really vain, but I mentioned above that I (like every other human on the planet) have suffered from some insecurities. It is hard to not feel awesome about yourself when everyone is loving what you are wearing.

8. Pants are not the only items made out of spandex. Shorts, skirts, dresses, body suits and tank tops! Oh MY! Once you have gotten comfortable wearing spandex pants in public, you will probably want to try the other stuff too. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

9. They are a statement piece, and you can wear basically anything else with them and still look fab. I do not know how to dress myself, so most of the time I just wear a baggy t-shirt and some BM pants. I like to think I look semi-presentable on most days.

10. If you do not yet own any spandex, there is no better reason to buy a pair other than that. You are a shiny golden God, and spandex will just help you to get past the point of wondering if you really are that awesome. Join the ranks, and realize that you probably look like a total hot little boss every day no matter WHAT you wear. ONE OF US. ONE OF US.

Do you have a favorite pair of spandex, or item that you love wearing with them? Are you curious about the best place to buy spandex, or whether there is such a thing as good spandex (hint: there is)? Are you worried about how you’ll look in spandex, or don’t know how to pair it? Leave your questions in the comments—let’s get this party started!

 

I love her attitude! I highlighted a few of the points I especially took inspiration from. She is someone I would totally feel comfortable wearing my disco pants around. She totally strikes me as someone who would not look at me weird with a face that says “what the hell are you wearing?” Hmm, I wonder if she herself wears disco pants. 

I have the opportunity to wear my disco pants tonight and I was a little unsure about doing so until I came across this blog. Her post makes me feel like wearing them everyday! So definitely will be donning some shiny spandex tonight! Just have to decide on the colour.

 

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Photos on the Web II

This is the second post dedicated to great photos found on the web of people wearing disco pants. These photos will be of guys wearing disco pants. Consequently, this will be a very short post as guys wearing disco pants and uploading photos of themselves wearing such is a rare phenomenon in these modern times. I will include photos here of guys wearing them back in the 70’s and 80’s as well. Otherwise this would be an extremely short post.

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From a YouTube video of a guy showing outfits he wears his AA disco pants with

 

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Some rocker

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Leif Garrett in his favorite disco pants

 

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Another American Apparel disco pants wearer

 

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Two more AA disco pants wearers

 

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I think that’s REO Speedwagon

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Shaun Cassidy in his disco pants

 

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Another rocker in disco pants

 

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A band in disco pants. Not sure if all those are disco pants but the black ones look like they are

 

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Another AA disco pants wearer

 

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Black Oak Arkansas singer in disco pants

 

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Some local band featuring each member in different color disco pants!

 

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Another rock band with one guy in disco pants

 

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Appears to be a modern photo of vintage disco pants being worn

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Steve Perry with Journey in disco pants

 

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Some local musician in disco pants

 

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KC of KC & the Sunshine Band wearing red disco pants!

 

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Another modern photo of vintage disco pants still being worn

 

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Yet another AA disco pants wearer

 

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And of course, Menudo

That’s about it. About 6 or 7 of these photos are current. The rest are all vintage. Black seems to be the common color in guys’ choice of disco pants. A couple of the guys above have photos of them in various other colors of disco pants. Leif Garrett was known to have worn mostly black but also red and navy blue. Shaun Cassidy wore black, red and white. Menudo wore all the colors. But in terms of the American Apparel ones, black seems to be the only choice worn by the today’s dudes.

Well that’s all I have. But this post turned out to be longer than I thought it would. If anyone wishes to contribute photos that would be great. I would especially love to see vintage photos of anyone who played in a garage or local band during the late 70’s or early 80’s and wore disco pants.

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Photos on the Web I

I’m going to spend the next few posts on sharing some of the best photos of people–mostly women at this time–wearing disco pants. These photos have all been publicly posted on various websites across the internet so I’m sharing what has already been made available. The owners of the photos retain all their rights.

Some of these might have previously been posted on this blog but oh well. Good things are worth looking at more than once!

So here goes:

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Not a great shot, but the fact that there are at least 4 disco pants people makes up for it!

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And now one of my all-time faves:
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I’m not sure why I like this one so much. Maybe it’s that the disco pants are perfectly tight. That is how to wear them. I’ve seen way too many photos where the individual is wearing them one or two sizes too big. Even American Apparel advises on these pants to size down when in doubt. But getting back to the photo–maybe it’s that the pants have just a very light sheen to them. I love the high shine characteristic of disco pants. And the fact that they can adjust to different sources and intensities of light without ever truly losing any of their quality of shine. Obviously in this photo it was a bright day but there was an indirect lighting situation. Yet a faint shininess can still be seen in both shots.  Or maybe it’s that the girl looks like she was made to wear disco pants as they fit her completely perfect, though I don’t like her choice of shoes. But that just goes to show you that disco pants can be worn with any kind of footwear–flip-flops, running sneakers, canvas sneakers, boots, oxfords, sandals, heels–without taking away anything from the amazingness of the pants.

At first I wasn’t sure she was even wearing disco pants. I couldn’t see any back pockets, I wasn’t sure there was a zipper and button and that outer seam looked a little narrow to me and made me think she might just be wearing some spandex leggings. I lightened up the photo a bit and everything was there.

Looking at this photo reminds me that I have yet to return my XL pair to AA in exchange for a L. I think the large will fit so much better than the x-large. The x-large is just ridiculously loose. Should’ve listened to the advice given to me by the AA experts.

More photos to come on next post!

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Disco Pants Attitudes

A month since I’ve written! Sorry, disco pants fans. I’m just managing several online projects and they’re all time-consuming. Unfortunately, none are very profitable at the moment.

A few evenings ago I wore the amazing midnight navy (newly made) Le Gambi spandex disco pants to a sort of celebration/dinner event. I paired the pants with jacket, tie, vest, shirt and Converse sneakers. I think the outfit looked very good and the designer of the pants agrees.

The reaction to the pants was rather low-key, as was expected. But I know that everyone noticed them. One person touched the pants. Another commented that I was wearing ‘tight jeans’ which was a relatively accurate statement. After all, these pants are known to some as spandex disco jeans.

This was also the first time I ever wore disco pants where I kept my shirt tucked into them. And I left my jacket open. I think it just looks better overall if one is dressing a bit more formally to tuck the shirt in the pants. Also I had been really inspired by a Leif Garrett video (Memorize Your Number) where he was wearing navy blue disco pants and he had his button-up long sleeved shirt tucked into his pants. I really liked how it looked on him. And even though he was really thin at the time, the shirt does tend to pull itself a bit up and out from the pants creating a ‘muffin top’ look. And that’s the main reason I never wanted to tuck any shirt in. I’m not as thin as he was so I didn’t need that extra muffin-top look created by the shirt pulling out. But after I saw the effect on him I thought to myself that I could get away with that as well. So I tried it and it went well. Now if I had not been wearing a jacket, I’m not sure I would have kept the shirt tucked in. And I guess another main reason for that–maybe even the real main reason–is the fear of revealing too much.

Let’s be honest: if disco pants are worn correctly–meaning pretty much skintight–they completely outline the shape of your bum. In the 1970s and 1980s that was fine. Everyone–guys and girls alike–mostly wore jeans that did that. It was accepted as not only sexy but stylish. Now, just 25-35 years later it’s still fine for women but not so much for men, though from what I understand women would like to see it more on men. Additionally, properly fitting disco pants on men can be revealing up in front as well. Personally I’m not interested in revealing anything of that nature to anyone. I just want the pants to be on display. They’re a pretty amazing article of clothing and they deserve to be seen in their entirety just as a nice pair of slacks or a designer raw-denim pair of jeans should.

One thing I’ve been wondering lately is where folks actually could go to purchase disco pants when they first came out. I was way too young to be able to get or even wear any during their heyday. In fact the youngest people I’ve ever seen wear them were Menudo who were about 14 or 15 in disco pants. And what about high school guys who were fans of Leif Garrett and/or Shaun Cassidy? I’m sure there were plenty of guys who wanted to be like those 2 and probably even went so far as to buy and wear disco pants to impress the girls. From what I’ve read online, girls/women pretty much drooled over those 2 in their tight spandex pants. Do any readers of this blog have any answers or personal memories regarding these questions? I would love to read any stories you could share.

On that subject, how did teen guys view Leif Garrett and Shaun Cassidy? Was it similar to today’s culture, where it seems most guys hate the current teen idol–Justin Bieber–or did  they look up to them and were influenced by their music and dress, etc.? I would love to know what the thinking was at that time. Personally, if I were junior high or high school age during that time I would have tried to imitate how those guys dressed. Not so much to try to attract girls, though that would have been a side benefit, but as an excuse to wear disco pants. I can’t imagine the reaction showing up on the first day of school of 12th grade, per say, wearing black spandex disco pants, a black leather jacket and with long shaggy hair! I’m convinced those two guys’ styles had to have impacted and influenced millions of teen guys.

I’ll leave you with this awesome photo of Shaun Cassidy performing live in 1979 in what appears to be black disco pants. This is a great shot and actually better than any I have found online of Leif in such pants. Enjoy!

august 7...1979

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XL AA Disco Pants

Regarding the last post where I was selling pair of vintage black disco pants–they have been sold and are no longer available.

Over the weekend I received a wonderful new pair of midnight navy Le Gambi disco pants. After seeing and owning a pair of American Apparel’s midnight navy disco pants I am sure glad to have one in this color and in the traditional fit. Plus the material is top rate and even smoother looking and smoother feeling than typical disco pants. As a result of the smoother texture, the stretch factor is a little less forgiving and the overall fit a bit more rigid. Well worth the trade off in my opinion. The nylon/spandex fabric is of a higher quality and I’m quite fortunate to have 2 pairs of these amazing pants in my possession at the moment. Looking forward to wearing for the first time.

I may have mentioned that I bought a pair of AA’s disco pants in black size XL. At 30% off I just had to. Regular price is $85 so if you can get them for $59 you may as well jump at the chance. Anyway, the first time I tried them on they felt very large and loose. I’ve seen several photos online of guys wearing AA’s disco pants and they all seem to have one thing in common: they are rather loose fitting in comparison to how women wear theirs. I guess I can understand the hesitancy on their part to go all out and skintight with these pants, but as I have been told by American Apparel associates they are meant to be form-fitting and men can wear them. Guys do wear meggings nowadays and for the most part, based on the photos I’ve seen, the fit is skintight. Meggings and disco pants are both comfortable, non-restrictive pants so I don’t completely understand the desire to wear them looser than form-fitting.

So getting back to my XL’s. I tried them on again last night and I would feel a lot more comfortable going out and about in them than I would in my mediums. The medium fits completely skintight and though I prefer the fit this way it would definitely make for a more harrowing experience going out in public in them. And maybe that’s how these other guys who wear disco pants feel too. Perhaps they want to go tighter but the self-consciousness makes it prohibitive. And maybe they can’t really afford to get multiple sizes to experiment with seeing how many of them appear to be in college. Well, I can’t afford it either but the medium I bought almost 5 years ago and the XL just recently.

Thus, my real issue now is whether I return this XL for a large or not. Though quite comfortable physically and mentally, they do feel loose and in certain photos I took extra material can be seen draped as opposed to hugging the body. While in other photos the pants look form-fitting as they should be. Ideally I would like to keep this pair and send in for a large as well. But if I choose that route I would have to wait for their next 30% off sale. But let me share some photos that display the looseness of the pants first.

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So in those 2 photos you can see the overall looseness around the crotch and bum of the pants. In this next photo, you can again see the looseness around the bum, but if you look at the image in the mirror it looks like a form-fitting, perfect fit:

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This last photo shows just how loose the pants really are. I wouldn’t mind them being looser in the calves but not in the upper areas.

Now a few pics that show the pants fitting as they should, tight:

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So these last 3 photos give the impression that the pants fit skintight. But they don’t really. So I’m really torn as to what to do. Shall I keep them or exchange them? I could exchange them completely free of cost to me. Maybe I’ll try them a few more times with some different tops and other shoes. If any of you would like to offer an opinion I would be glad to hear it!

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Black Frederick’s of Hollywood Disco Pants For Sale

Here’s a look at an awesome pair of vintage Frederick’s of Hollywood brand of spandex disco pants:

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So much more versatile than the modern AA version and its copycats. And much more gender-friendly.

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XL Disco Pants Too Big

Got my size XL American Apparel disco pants in black today. They do fit pretty loose. They’re still tighter than any pants most guys would wear, but compared to any of the disco pants I already have they are by far the loosest. Against the advice of 2 out of 3 AA sales associates, I chose the size XL. I imagined they would be loose but these turned out looser than I thought. And though super comfortable, they are a little less fun to wear. So I will send back and exchange for a L.

I have come across photos and/or videos online of guys sporting AA disco pants. And from what I could tell based on the photos they were all wearing looser fitting versions. For example. a video I posted here some time ago feature a young guy named Kian showing how he styles the pants. Though he looked great in them and wore them well it certainly looked like there was a bit of loose material up at top and he surely could have sized down a bit. A couple of other guys on fashion websites were also wearing looser fitting disco pants. It’s great that more guys are wearing them but there appears to still linger a fear of going tighter with these pants on their part. And there’s no real need to as they are super comfortable even in smaller sizes. I used to have a pair in size S and though they were totally skintight on me they were super comfy and were not restrictive in any way. My old pair in size M is also skintight and I really couldn’t tell any difference between it and the size S. Both felt perfect. I’m hoping the size L will fit more snug than the XL but definitely looser than the M. I’m pretty sure these pants have been redesigned a few times so it’s quite possible the newly made size M’s don’t fit like the first-run M’s did. My current size M is from way back when AA first started selling these babies. So there could be variances in sizing. I’ll let you know as soon as I get my new L’s!

I may snap a few fit pics of these XL’s before returning them so stay tuned.

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