To think that only important things matter is the menace of barbarism, Nicolás Gómez Dávila reminds us, and so let us take a moment to turn our attention to New York’s latest fashion trend—men’s leggings, or “meggings.”
Our office dress code certainly is not about to start allowing them: Coat, tie, and trousers, now and forever (for men, that is—women’s dress follows no rules that I can detect).
That said, in all charity we should acknowledge that the wearers of “meggings” have some historical support for their, ahem, eccentric stylings.
For example, this young man:
Is dressed in a way more recognizable to many of our forebears than these young men:
Just ask Peter Stuyvesant:
Or Columbus, who introduced the fashion to the New World:
“Meggings” were not beneath the dignity of the founder of the Church of England when he stood before Holbein’s brush:
Nor did the apostles disdain to wear them, as seen in Caravaggio’s St. Matthew:
And Lorenzo Lotto’s St. Paul:
Finally, we can observe that they achieved a certain interfaith legitimacy when the Israelites (spied by Cornelis van Haarlem) wore them across the Red Sea.
All in all, a veritable tight-clad cloud of witnesses. Consider it a warning against sartorial supersessionism—the belief that the rise of trousers for men excludes any more ancient forms of dress.