A few weeks ago I was on the hunt for a pair of leggings. I've never owned a pair of leggings before, as I was skeptical of how practical and comfortable they could be if you had to wear a thong (I have an intrinsic aversion to thongs) in order to avoid the dreaded panty line while wearing. But lately I've been thinking of leggings, and how I've seen a few girls at my fashion-centric school pull off wet-look leggings amazingly, and suddenly like a bolt of lightning (if you'll pardon the cliche) it struck me that I had to have a pair of wet-look leggings. I became obsessed with them--I do love shiny things--so without further ado I set out in search of the wet-look leggings that caused such a controversial stir when they appeared in the spotlight a few years ago.
A lot of people don't like wet-look leggings because they're hard to wear and not the most flattering thing on a lot of body types--the reflective fabric means that it draws serious attention to whichever body part it covers, so a lot of people who are self-conscious about their legs don't like them. They look great on skinny, long-legged people (doesn't everything? Ha. I am so going to get flamed for that). I'm not exactly sure why I haven't gotten a pair of these leggings yet, because they're definitely my kind of thing style-wise. So a couple Sundays ago on a trip to the Marc by Marc Jacobs store on Bleecker Street for rainboots, I dragged my shopping buddy JSK into American Apparel, home of all tights and leggings.
Many people love American Apparel's shiny lamé leggings and consider them a staple, but trying them on in the store's dressing rooms I found them to be a bit lacking. The fit wasn't terribly flattering on my Freshman 5 (yes, I got lucky. My metabolism seems to be holding up despite all the multiple daily grilled cheeses I've been dosing myself with), the seams pinched in at all the wrong places, and the Small size wrinkled horribly around my knees while the XSmall refused to be pulled up beyond my butt due to the lack of elasticity in the fabric. Plus they just weren't comfortable. I also noticed that the shininess of the lamé disappeared when the leggings were stretched and the flecks of reflective paint coating the surface of the nylon were pulled too far apart, creating a "bald" sort of effect. And if the tear in the waistband was anything to judge by, the quality wasn't so great. That coupled with the $46 price tag made me altogether reluctant to buy them, no matter how many people gush about American Apparel leggings on their fashion blogs. I decided to search for leggings on the internet instead.
After a bit of sifting through Google, I came up with a promising site: Black Milk Clothing byAustralian designerJames Lillis. I arrived at his online store through his blog, Too Many Tights, on which he subtly, indirectly, classily bragged about the non-saggy knees of his leggings (when the elasticity of the nylon in leggings becomes looser after repeat wearings, they tend to sag around the knees).
Lillis designs fabulous, risqué leggings the likes of which you have never seen and bodysuits that beat the pants off of American Apparel. In fact, I dare you to find sexier, more innovative legwear. Unfortunately, they are a bit on the pricey side (although his most popular Black Wetlook leggings are *only* $40! "Only" being relative, because American Apparel's are $46), so even though the cost is justified for all of the amazing work that goes into them, for an art student they are a luxury I just can't afford. On the side note, if anyone wants to send me a pair of XS Lace Ups with silver eyelets... >w>
Here's me in my new leggings, wearing my grey v-neck sweater that I got for $5 (I'm a bargain hunter! I rarely splurge on expensive clothing) from the Buy 1 Get 1 Free rack at Wet Seal two winters ago. I have another in black that I like to wear with my grey skinny jeans (Pacsun, $45 each or 2 for $50), and these two sweaters are my favorite tops for the winter. It only makes it better that they were so cheap--together they were $10--but not too bad quality, as I have worn them tirelessly autumn to spring for now two years and they barely show the signs of pilling.
They really do fit like liquid--here's a closeup:
The great thing about Black Milk's leggings is that you can tell right away that the quality is a lot better than American Apparel's (sorry AA fans!), even though the actual cost is less (although if you factor in the $10 international shipping cost, they're actually not--but I say it's worth it for the quality). Whereas the lamé of American Apparel leggings was thin and flimsy and lost their sheen when stretched because the shininess was only painted on the surface of the fabric (this also means that the shininess can be scratched off, which the American Apparel website warns you about--not lovely), the actual threads of Black Milk leggings are reflective, which means no matter how far you stretch them they'll still have great shine. I still have yet to see if that "anti-bag" claim is still true after a few wearings, but it goes without saying that I love them. If you're interested in acquiring a pair of Black Wetlooks for yourself, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. These tights are shiny. Not latex-shiny (although Lillis does those too--check em out), but they have a definite sheen that's brighter and bolder than the look of American Apparel's matte black lamé, which is more leather-look than Black Milk. Definitely not for the faint of heart. Alternatively, if it's leather-look you're going for, try Viktor Viktoria's Thick Leather Look Leggings ($35) and tell me how they are, because those are on my list.
2. Be sure to check the sizing chart to see how you measure up. The smallest size Black Milk leggings come in is an XS, which according to them is equal to a 2-4 US pantsize (UK and Australia sizes are also listed). I'm a 00, so my XS Black Wetlooks are a little large on me (they start sliding down toward my ankles after a while if I do a lot of walking or running in them, unfortunately, although it's by no fault of the product--my ass is simply too flat. I wonder if James will do XXS?). It should be noted that on the bottom of the sizing chart it says: "If you have any special requests, please let us know, we can provide customized size service for the perfect fit!" Custom tailoring! Wow. I was far too impatient the first time, but when I save up the money to fund myself for another pair of Black Wetlooks I'll definitely look into that. If anyone orders a pair of custom Black Milk tights, please let me know how it goes!
3. And finally, here's a tip: Keep yourself updated on Too Many Tights! James Lillis sometimes does giveaways! I'm not certain on how frequently, but just a few days ago a pair of free Black Wetlooks were awarded to a lucky girl who was first to correctly answer the question he posed in one of his blog posts. So check his blog often--in addition to the possibility of scoring freebies and alerting yourself to bouts of free shipping, James also posts new designs and inspirations up on his blog. Plus, his blog is just interesting and often very humorous--his Discourse on Recession Economics, for example (I'm not being sarcastic).
Moving on from my newfound legging love...not only are the leggings beautiful by themselves, they go great with my new flats.
See?? Pretty! These are Chinese Laundry Glee flats in Black Vipera. They have rhinestones in a metal setting with a 3/8" heel. Mine are a bit big, because the smallest pair left were in size 6 and I'm a size 5, but they were only $45 (the retail price is $70) at the Strawberry store at Union Square...how could I resist that deal? I love the fluid, organic shape of the metal frame around the rhinestones, as if the metal were still molten. Unfortunately, they are too big, and my heels come out of them if I try to run or walk quickly--two gears that are most vital for the Parsons Student, thanks to the school's extremely strict attendance policy. I plan on going to a cobbler eventually to either get insoles to make the shoe smaller or see how much it would cost to get permanent inserts sewn into the shoes (although I probably can't afford that). Until then, I'm stuffing the toes with toilet paper and making do.
If you want your own pair of Glees, you can buy them online here or here. They also come in Bronze and Tin (silver), but in my opinion the Black Viperas are the most gorgeous, as the other two colors don't have the snakeskin pattern that gives the intriguing visual texture.
Okay, so I've been spending more money than usual on stuff for myself lately. I feel guilty about it because I'm saving up for something very important (that's a secret!)...but I love my purchases and haven't an ounce of buyer's regret, so I'll just think of them as early Christmas presents to myself.
Speaking of Christmas presents...it's that time of year again, so I've allotted $200 to my Christmas Gifts fund and have been sifting through the internet looking for gifts for the important people in my life.
Some people have pointed out that it's a bit redundant buying presents, as the act isn't exactly so selfless seeing as my parents are providing me my allowance (in my defense, it's not my fault--I'm perfectly happy to get a part-time job, in fact I want one, as I'm an independent person by nature--but my parents wouldn't let me get one in high school and they won't let me now. They insist that I focus on my schoolwork...), so I'm essentially buying their presents with their own money. But it's not like I'm running around with Daddy's black AmEx (I get $600 a month, $200 of which I save), and since I could just as easily spend the money on stuff for myself instead of on other people...well, I'll let you make your own judgments. I'm thinking of it as not so much the objects being the gift, but rather the dozen hours I spent gathering discounts, comparing prices, and searching for something that I think they'd actually like. So the Christmas List is as follows:
Mom--Terrasoles Avalanche slippers
Dad--black Calvin Klein sweater
Brother (16)--grey American Eagle sweater
Little Sister (3)--baby pink Gymboree sweaterdress
My Best Friend, N--magenta and purple striped leggings with shiny buttons. Possibly set to change if I find some form of rainbow paraphernalia.
The Boyfriend is excruciatingly hard to shop for, because unlike me he's utterly unmaterialistic (on my views on materialism--I believe there's nothing wrong with wanting nice things, as long as material possessions aren't the most important thing in your life). The few objects he does covet tends to be things that have sentimental or personal value, like the rope bracelets his friends made him or his guitars. Currently I've scrolled through millions of possibilities in my mind, but nothing's quite clicked (that I can afford, anyway. Yet). Any suggestions? He like rock climbing, guitars, wolves, and the color green.
Anyway, that's it for now. Perhaps I'll make a post about my artwork later--we'll see. For now I'm off to make myself a grilled cheese and work on my food blog. Bye~