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Leg Warmers

In the 1980's, whether one was planning to work out or to perform some physically strenuous activity like dancing or gymnastics, it behooved one to help loosen up the tendons with a super-fashionable item that, seemingly overnight, could be seen on every fit person in the land: those ruffly, muffly leg warmers.

Olivia Newton-John in leg warmers Leg warmers first gained notice thanks to the movie Fame (about a group of talented but fucked-up students at Juilliard, the famous performing arts school in New York), then also due to the resulting TV show of that name; but they were soon catapulted into the fashion stratosphere due to the gyrations of the gorgeous Jennifer Beales in the film Flashdance. Suddenly, if you weren't wearing this knee-to-ankle knits while working out - male or female - then you probably should have just stayed home.

An elongated tube of knitted cotton (or daycron/polyester blend, as seemed to be the preferred concoction), the leg warmer was worn scrunched down on the calf and onto the ankle, over the shoe. Whether or not the leg needed to be kept warm didn't really matter. You looked cool.

Solid, striped, speckled - the color possibilities were endless and allowed for a different pair for every outfit. The legwarmer became the primary accessory to your jog pants, denim mini skirt, or your Jordache jeans. Properly worn, the legwarmer would cover the exposed patch of leg that jutted below the hem of your ankle-high pants, creating a link from pant to sneaker.

While they may not make you fly, legwarmers promised possibilities: standing around, you just might do a high kick or a pirouette in the middle of the mall and be discovered. Then, just like Coco, you'd look fashionable running to catch the bus, your toe shoes slung over your shoulder, leg warmers scrunched down over your Nike sneakers. Baby, remember my name....

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