I arrived in Virginia at 10:00 on a Saturday morning, an hour much better suited for sleeping, watching reruns of Felicity on WE! Women's Entertainment, or sleeping. Did I mention the sleeping? Because I missed the sleeping. But I had a transaction to conduct, and it was not the sort of transaction that one wants people to witness. Hence the early hour and the disguise.
Hidden behind giant sunglasses, hair stuffed under a ratty newsboy cap, I parked my car in the nearly empty lot and slithered into the building. I knew exactly what I wanted and I knew who would help me get it, but I really hoped that I could avoid asking for help. I was on the kind of clandestine mission that is best conducted solo.
Poking around for a few minutes, I quickly realized I was out of my league. It was the Three Bears version of shame shopping; this one too thick, that one too small, these ones oddly shaped. I was lost, and I had to ask for the way back.
"Excuse me," I murmered until my breath at the woman beside me, "are these all the leggings Nordstrom's carries?"
GAH. I said it out loud. I IMPLICITLY STATED THAT I WAS INTERESTED IN PURCHASING A PAIR OF LEGGINGS.
Of course, the saleswoman failed to take stock of my shamed tone and started booming at me in a voice more situated to selling cattle than selling hoisery. "WEEEELLL,' she hollered "we got these short ones here, what do you call those?"
"Riiight, we got those cap-ris here, and then we got these BIG THICK ones that are really more like wool tights because they got feet on them and-- hey, Sheila, does BPS carry leggings upstairs, or maybe Juniors has 'em?"
Oh, yes, let's involve more people! Let's involve every floor in the store! What about the haberdasher, might he carry a pair?!
"Um, actually, I think I'm fine with these capri tights to wear under my dress tonight, so I really don't think I need leggings after all. But thanks for your help."
"Honey, hold on, we got someone on the phone from upstairs! Sheila--"
"Sheila"-- more like "Beelzebub"-- hollered from behind the desk: "They got some capri leggings upstairs but all they got is extra small and small, so I don't know if that'll work for you."
Awesome. Thanks for that, friend.
Fearful of any further humiliations at the hands of clueless salesgirls, I threw my credit card at the counter and scribbled a signature on the receipt, so excited to get out of there that I didn't even notice that I spent eighteen dollars on something that later that night, I would snag on a broken beer bottle. They weren't technically leggings, after all, and I could leave with dignity somewhat intact.
I'll admit it, I've come to love the look of capri tights with short dresses. It's flattering, sassy, and if you have the right balance of shoes, dress and tights it can be pretty adorable. I looked great at my birthday and was actually comfortable (these shoes are amazing: I've never worn shoes that are both this cute and so wonderfully not painful. Buy them immediately).
I can't explain why then I'm so vehemently opposed to leggings, and why I felt such shame at even saying the word out loud. It's a negligible difference at best, and yet it's the difference between my ratty sweatpants and a Juicy Couture tracksuit. Between a tasteful, quiet Coach bag and a Louis Vuitton logo-ed tote that screams "I SPENT LOTS OF MONEY ON THIS BAG. THIS BAG WAS EXPENSIVE." Tights say "I could totally wear these to my modern dance class" while leggings say "I spent forty bucks on something that makes my ass look the hump of a beached whale."
All I know is, the day you see me in leggings is the day I encourage you to slap me upside the face with that same broken beer bottle and send me to fashion rehab. And no, capri tights are not the same thing as leggings. Says me, that's who.