Trend in Japan Web Japan
Business and Economy Lifestyle Science and Technology Fashion Arts and Entertainment Sports People
Leggings Are Back in Fashion (November 9, 2006)

Women are keen to make their legs look good. (Fukuske Corporation)
The layered look has been experiencing a revival this year. This past spring and summer, the focal point of this trend was the upper body. Camisoles, tank tops, and other lightweight garments were piled on top of each other in creative combinations. Now the focus has shifted to the legs. Particularly notable is a craze for leggings: One department store reports that its sales of leggings have quadrupled compared with the same period last year. In contrast to the sporty image of stirrup pants, a legwear phenomenon from a few years back, the leggings that started making the rounds this past spring have a more feminine quality.

"Over-Knee" Socks
The first to adopt leggings were the young people in their late teens and early twenties who frequent Tokyo's trendy Harajuku district. Among this crowd, which has made layering into a fine art, a mainstay of the leggings look is black leggings paired with miniskirts or denim shorts. Over time, the leggings craze has percolated through the masses, reaching female office workers and women in their 30s. Women in this slightly older, more conventionally attired group like to pair leggings with dresses or tunics.

Beyond basic black, the leggings come in an assortment of colors and patterns. There are polka-dotted leggings; leggings with printed borders; and leggings embellished with lame, lace, or embroidery. Styles range widely as well: Some are ankle-length; some are knee-length; some droop casually over the bottom hems.

(Left) "over-knee socks"; (right) leggings (Fukuske Corporation)

Paralleling the meteoric rise of leggings is a sudden craze for "over-knee socks," a legwear item initially popularized by the "gals" of Shibuya (another trend epicenter in Tokyo). As the name suggests, these socks are above the knee in length. The most prevalent color is black, but red, purple, and yellow-green are popular as well. Over-knee socks would seem to be meant strictly for the younger crowd, but this year the style has also attracted the attention of women in their twenties, who pair over-knee socks with miniskirts and pumps for a more sophisticated look. The craze for over-knee socks has been fueled in large part by the popularity of miniskirts and hot pants.

Goodbye to Bare Legs
Starting in around the late 1990s, a trend for leaving the legs bare emerged in conjunction with the popularity of mules and sandals. For a time, the bare-legged style swept all before it, and women gave tights, pantyhose, socks, and other legwear a pass. But the bare-leg trend has finally subsided, making way for a colorful array of tights, pantyhose, and other legwear in stylish designs and materials. On the fashion stage, legwear has made the transition from a bit part to a starring role.

The market for both leggings and over-knee socks is concentrated in the price range of ¥1,000 to ¥3,000 (about $8.50 to $25.50 at ¥118 to the dollar). These affordable prices, coupled with their slimming, leg-lengthening effect, make the new fashion items an easy sell.

 Page Top

Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

Related articles
(January 23, 2004)
Drop Us a Line
Your Name

What did you think of this article?

It was interesting.
It was boring.

Send this article to a friend

Go TopTrends in Japan Home

Go BackFashion Home