Ode to the Stretch Pant

Do you remember the stretchy knit pants that were rampant in the 80s and early 90s? 
Often floral, but really sporting any number of print or pattern, perhaps a little buffalo check or a geometric design, sometimes with stirrups, sometimes with pockets, sometimes skintight, sometimes a little more baggy. Moms wore them in solids with sweatshirts or tiger print. 

I had plaid ones and rose print ones and cream stirrups. And now I want them ALL BACK!

This desire is new for me. I admit, it just miiiight be related to my growing tummy and a need for extreme comfort. I'm talking nice stretchy waistband that can be pulled ABOVE the bulge comfort. None of this low waisted, hip-hugger, sliding-off-the-hips biz. Also I'm talking nice soft cotton, kind of thick, not sheer like tights.

So the other day I caved and went leggings-shopping at Target.  It was my first time in Target for probably a year, and I thought I'd be overwhelmed by an array of adorable leggings, tights, jeggings, etc. Imagine my disappointment to find they only had black and gray, and in the cropped style (I like the long ones, more like pants). Although in the little girls' section there was an array of cute printed soft little elastic-waist pants; why can't them make those for grown ups? I found some at American Apparel online but still not a lot of cute printed ones, mostly just solids. Plus, I like how the 80's ones were actually stretch pants, not just leggings. They had a little more to them. I wasn't shy to show my butt in them. 

If you search "leggings" in flickr or google you come up with some pretty interesting images. I guess there is a fetish for "vpl" or visible panty lines, among other rather grotesque images of women in leggings.
But in between, you still find the cute girly romantic ones. 
The soft jersey knit rosebud prints, the turqouise and cable knit and cream and stripe.

Meanwhile I really started appreciating legging style...all the many ways they can be worn. I love their versatility, how you can wear them under skirts or with tunics or your too-short dresses or skirts. Under shorts. As pants. Whatevs. How you can wear them with knee socks and boots on cold days, or flats or huaraches on warm days.

So anyway. I did order myself a vintage pair (early 90s I think) from this adorable shop on etsy. and i'm majorly loving them; i've already worn them twice this week. even darin has noticed. i love their nice soft 80's palette of cloudy blue and earthy peach.

darin and i went for some exercise on the bike trail (i walk, he runs). I felt bright and chipper, power walking in my blues and yellows, dorkily smiling at all the passersby.

i was proud of my braid crown. cause i seriously almost never do my hair. which is a crying shame.

(sorry for the crazy sun flairs but...gotta show the bump)

and then today. i am sick with a cold and the sky turned cloudy again.
so i may look tired and worn, but the truth is, i have almost fought that cold off and i was cozy as can be in my special leggings and this little sweatshirt material gray skirt i thrifted. it even has shorts underneath. 
i confess, this is a brigit inspired outfit. i love how she always pairs plaid or some flowy top with tight little stretchy skirts and leggings and wham, totally looks cute and put-together. it is a new look for me and i'm INTO it.
(sorry for that trash behind my foot, my yard is so ugggghhhh right now)

below, just to explain. that little bump-on-the-bump is not my belly button. although i am excitedly awaiting the distant day that it pops out like that. alas, that is only the drawstring i tucked inside.

and lastly, to truly do the leggings (and bump) justice...i give you...the most AWKWARD picture on earth!
clearly i haven't quite mastered the cute-baby-belly photo yet. i can't even believe i'm showing this here. just keeping it real folks. at least you can tell i'm not faking ;)

SO ANYHOO. anybody else with me? On the full-on 80's style stretch pants? Would you wear stirrups? My favorite outfit circa 1992 was a long pink cable knit sweater with these romantic toned floral stretch pants, just a little more baggy than leggings, in maroon, pink, and purple. I want that outfit back, I tell you.
And I will stalk etsy until I have it.


ashley said…
I noticed these leggings on you the other night and meant to comment on how cute they are and ask where they came from. I have been wanting some stirrup leggings too! I havent had a pair since I was a kid, but the comfort and nostalgia have been inspiring me to scan the shelves as well. Havent found much yet. Japan had endless amounts of cute tights, legginds, sweet little lacey socks and adorable boots. But of course, I am a giant American and it was laughable to think I could squeeze into any of it!

Your braids the other night too! I guess you werent in the kitchen when I was talking to Sara, but I was saying that the way you styled your hair is making me want to grow mine out again! Braids and buns? Straight curly up or down? Jealous!

And the bump is killing me! You are so damn cute Heather. A tiny glowing Mama! You're going to be the best.

Joanne said…
EVERYONE here in England has those pants! We're a nation clad in opaque tights and leggings :) I'm headed vintage-ing soon- will keep an eye out for any more pretty prints for you and your bump :)
Lovelove.. J.
Anonymous said…
You're killin' me with the cute, Heather! Goodness gracious!

Always so effortlessly stylish, girl. You're a beautiful inspiration! I have to agree with you about long leggings. Unless the weather is very warm, I don't like to wear cropped ones. Oh, and funny coincidence: I'm actually wearing my only existing pair of riding pants (with stirrups!) right now. I've had them since I was eleven and they're perfect for working out in the cold like I was earlier. How they still fit amazes me!

The bump is a-growin'! So amazing!

Jacqueline said…
I wore leggings & yoga pants EVERYDAY toward the end of my pregnancy...even in public...which I never would have done otherwise. No shame though...it's all about comfort! :)
anne said…
seek and ye shall find! i have something for you!

look how that babe is growing! and the awkward picture is awkward, so glad you shared it! i love keeping it real :D

leggings are a MUST when pregnant. i wore them almost every day. they're comfortable and don't suffocate you like pregnant lady jeans do. plus, just add a cute top/dress and BAM, you have a cute outfit.

almost forgot, i love your blue, layered, brigit inspired outfit!
theequinebovine said…
look at your baby belly!!
Andrea said…
I remember one of my favorite outfits circa 1991, was my lime green shiney spandex leggings, that I would wear with really baggy t-shirts. Then of course I added my fave pair of slouchy socks and a matching srunchy. I was awesome! I really wish I had a picture of that outfit. I agree with you on the high waist thing. A few years ago I went on a stirrup rampage. I found several unflattering thrift store pairs, and then caved and bought a pair from f21. Unfortunately the new stirrup pants didn't have the high waist like the old ones and they just didn't feel right.

You are too cute in your floral pair! I love how you styled them and your baby bump. It always amazes me how fast a bump forms. Does it you?
Mrs. Habit said…
I have to say, stretch pants are blessings to a mamma to be, or a mamma of three! Hah. I adore them - what's more comfortable? And I hear American Apparel make the best quality but I always stick with cheap target versions. Anyway, you look great in them, in every shape or form :)
Geny said…
Cutest little baby bump! And trust me leggings (or yoga pants) are such a necessity while pregnant and afterwards, you will need to get a few more comfie pairs. I admit I still wear comfie clothes pretty much everyday whether I'm exercising or not! I've seen Darin running on the trail a few times, he is super fast!!!
marya said…
you're adorable. seriously. adorable.
marya said…
since having the little guy, even a year later, i'm seriously considering pajama jeans.
marya said…
one last note: i was so MASSIVE and uncomfortable toward the end of my pregnancy that all i could comfortably wear was a pair of leggings with the elastic waist CUT OUT. classy, i know.
Anonymous said…
oh. my. god. not only is your bliss contagious, but geezam, so are your fashion obsessions. i have not thought of floral leggings since approximately 1987, and now, thanks to you, I WANT SOME. i'm having some vague memory of molly ringwald in pink rose ones...was it pretty in pink? but man, i could totally rock a pair of those.

speaking of rocking, you look so dang cute in yours! i love all the different ways you're wearing them. and why is that photo awkward? all i see is a cute bump.

if you find a good source for the leggings, let me know. i will unabashedly copy you and we can be leg twins. xo
Missa said…
Ok, when I finally get your package sent off, you can bet yer baby bump, there will be some high waisted stretchy goodness in there ;)

I love your new leggings with the sunny yellow converse, both outfits are adorable. You look so pretty in your braid crown too!
Nicky said…
hehehehe stirrups! I can't remember if I liked those or not... just that I had some. Leggings are fantastic but I'm quite particular about how they fit on my waist. Not too tight and not too loose- preferably around the hips (which leads me to admit, I wish I could just wear my yoga pants everywhere. everyday. with everyone. Cause they're that great! Love your keepin' it real baby bump! You are crazy adorable in that yellow sweater... ahhhh, I can still feel your sunny joy through the computer screen! :D
Violet Folklore said…
Oh my god, VPL.

Stirrups- only with heels.

Heather! Are you feeling baby move yet?? I love these belly shots! The last one is amazing, like that one you posted of Adie in her sweats once :-)

Leggings really are the perfect versatile garment- they can be pants or tights! Or, um, leggings! I wear my heather grey ones pretty often.

You & Suuz are lucky in that it will be warm when you're reeeeally pregnant, then you can wear flowy dresses and skirts (at that point I could not do a waistband ABOVE my belly to save my life).

You're a dear darling and I love you and that baby!
Elisheva said…
You are a picture of sweet spring and blooming and all. I love these. I have to say, I must have worn leggings all through my pregnancy but for a pair of teal chords which felt pretty great for about two weeks till I grew out off them. I have fond memories of the eighties and fashion, but I can tell ya, growing up in rural ireland meant fashion hit about ten years too late, though I prided myself as a teenager to be a little ahead of the game.
Ok Now you have to brace yourself, and dont feel too much pity, I have accepted it by now...... But
In about 1985 my general outfit would have been ...This... a pair of red polyester flares from the 70's ( big no no in the 80's handed down from my sister, a t shirt with the name of our pub on it and a white puffy coat with ESSO written on the back in red blue and yellow. My sister had got it Free, from a modeling show she had done at a gas station: ) I remember this outfit so well, playing in school yard and just loving that coat, cause it was new, and all mine. Sweet days really, I also would have had a satin pink all in one trousers and top, with zips up the sides of the legs, very appropriate for a 12 year old; ) Hmmm I best not go on. Anyway I have so loved this post and especially that jouful mood with which it comes across. Thanks Heather. xx
Celynne said…
You look so lovely with the blue dress and the yellow cardi! So pretty and happy and lovely, I just want to give you a hug. I love the shoes too, you're too cute. I wouldn't wear them as pants, but I'd love more stretch pants as warm under-layers in winter.
hey! what a cool little shout out. i love you in shorter lengths, you've got great legs. and they look even more awesome when dipped in flowers. i need yellow converse right now. your little bump is so sweet. i was so massive by this time, you have no idea. massive. thanks for the love! i got such sweet little shout outs from all my fave blog girls on my birthday. what a lovely gift.
Zoe said…
These are so cute! Vintage is the way to go!

I can remember living in patterned leggings as a child. Even Disney themed ones. These are lovely and you have inspired me to look for pattern leggings myself!
Teeny said…
Heather bo Beather, you are so cute. I want to get you some 80s/90s leggings, let me get you some for you as a present off etsy. please? I'll email you m'kay. i love your sweet little bump. And you are looking svelte with it! There is no way not to be joyful in your blue and yellow ensemble girl, no way. Darling lady, i dont want to break your sweet heart but I had not the legs to wear stirrup pants. Leggings, I have much love for....but not the stirrups. xxxxx
yes to stretchy pants, every day of my life. the overly-thick high-waisted ones that only come from humane society thrift stores. the new style comes to you...which is: i need clothes that go over my new jolly belly! (and not because i eat cans of frosting everyday.) once that baby really starts showing though, the eyes need some time to readjust. at least for me.
Anonymous said…
i wore stretch pants every day of my pregnancy once the belly started growing. you are so adorable!
Milla said…
hahahah! the strech-panted heather. what a lark.you look so merry and beautiful. and as we've now seen this post has proven that the whole blogosphere will leggins you forever and ever and ever. ask and thou shalt receive. leggins.
Duncan Faber said…
my girls practically live in their leggings. But they must be capri length. I don't know why. Something about not liking fabric against their ankles. LOL. http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/girls-capri-leggings

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