Style

Spic and Spandex

Spandex

Spic and Spandex

Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lynn Muñiz, born July 24, 1969, is an American actress, dancer, fashion designer, perfumer, philanthropist, producer, recording artist and television personality. | Photo: | Jennifer Lopez, Spandex, Actress, Singer, Sports,

A privilege, not a right

A fan of all things that come free, I recently downloaded the Scissor Sisters' latest single from iTunes (as depicted on the heading artwork here). I soon discovered that the cover art consists of some buttocks suffocating in a clingy material that could only be spandex, and was reminded, as I have been many times in the past, that spandex is one of the most abused fashion accessories of all time.

It should come as no surprise that spandex was not first manufactured with the intent of becoming a fashion statement. In fact, it was initially developed as a replacement for rubber during World War II. This does not in any way, shape, or form affect the rolling wave of popularity with which its made its return to the fashion scene. Prior to the resurge in popularity of leggings, Spandex was more or less presumed to be a trademark of the 1980s, dead and buried. But it's back, and as as much as it always did, Spandex receives more mistreatment than just about any other clothing item on the market ' one in every ten fashion violations occurs with the aid of spandex. Okay, the latter isn't statistically accurate, but the former, unfortunately is. Spandex is merely misunderstood by most of humankind.

Is it immensely practical? Yes. Overwhelmingly multifunctional? Absolutely. Spandex can be utilized for everything from workout gear to maternity attire. I am, in fact, pro-spandex. If I weren't, I wouldn't be defending it against misuse.

Phoebe Buffay of Friends would also have you believe that it's great for shoplifting melons. Yet too many unfortunate souls fail to realize that spandex is not to be used as a weapon. When worn for proper purpose, it can be a tool.

Lisa Kudrow singing Smelly Cat
Lisa Kudrow singing Smelly Cat

Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan is a fictional character from the NBC sitcom Friends, portrayed by Lisa Kudrow. Here she sings "Smelly Cat". Kudrow received an Emmy Award, Screen Actor Guild's Award and a Golden Globe nomination for her performance. | Photo: | Lisa Kudrow, Smelly Cat, Friends, Guitar, Spandex, Blonde,

If you've ever seen a Jane Fonda workout video, or, more recently, the music video for Eric Prydz's techno tune "Call on Me," you've seen spandex showcased at its worst. But those examples display spandex in the context of a workout, one of its actual and certainly more fashionably excusable uses. Lightweight and expandable (the name spandex' is a play on the word expands'), it's perfect for stretching, running, gyrating, or whatever it is people do in the name of maintaining bodily fitness. Rowers donning Unisuits, backup dancers for American Idol tours, folks competing in the Tour de France'they can all wear spandex. Freddie Mercury wore some spandex in his day, but it's all right. Because he was Freddie Mercury. And yes, Superman wore tights, but he could also lift cars over his head. The day you can do the same, you can spandex it up in every shade under the sun if it so strikes your fancy.

Call on Me
Call on Me

"Call on Me" is a song co-written and recorded by Swedish DJ and producer Eric Prydz. The single received huge sales success and topped several record charts. "Call on Me" is known for its music video, which features several women and a man performing aerobics in a sexually suggestive manner... and the girl is Deanne Berry. | Photo: Eric Prydz | Link | Call On Me, Butt, Spandex, Aerobics, Dance, Sexy, Deanne Berry,

Another commonly seen misapplication of spandex exists in the fad of women wearing cropped leggings under a dress. As a friend of mine once remarked about the knee-high-socks-and-miniskirts pairing, It completely defeats the purpose of wearing off a dress. You wear a dress to show off your legs.' This is a shining example of spandex being used when it's unneeded. Leggings (and now, the notorious new hybrid they call jeggings') are frequently worn with Uggs, probably because they tuck in well. It makes little sense to wear an already-thin fabric, stretch its fibers further, and expect it to keep your warm while your feet are toasting in Dante's Inferno. But hey, fashion trends and common sense can't always be expected to go together.

We live in a time where it's not uncommon to hear people order a large fries, quarter pounder, and then a Diet Coke on top of that in order to appear diet-conscious. Empire-waisted tops have come back in a major way to hide the infamous muffin tops that result when love handles hang over the sides'so why, after all that, would someone want to throw on a pair of black leggings and rock the camel toe?

A more practical utilization of spandex would be to use it the way Dolly Parton talks about it in Steel Magnolias, when she remarks that she hasn't left home without Lycra on her thighs since she was fourteen. It can be your friend in the form of body-shaping undergarments. No one will ever have to know.

And so, next time you consider adorning your body in spandex without good reason, stop. Think. Take a look at Jack Black in Nacho Libre and reevaluate.

Nacho Libre
Nacho Libre

Nacho Libre is a 2006 American-Mexican comedy film starring Jack Black and directed by Jared Hess and written by Jared and Jerusha Hess and Mike White. It was loosely based on the story of Fray Tormenta ("Friar Storm"), aka Rev. Sergio Gutiérrez Benítez, a real-life Mexican Catholic priest who had a 23-year career as a masked luchador. | Photo: Mike White | Nacho Libre, Jack Black, Spandex, Cape, Topless, Movie, Comedy, Mexico,

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Updated Aug 12, 2017 1:49 PM EDT | More details

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