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.”

Mollie Hemingway asks if we can’t all agree that they’re terrible. Jonah Goldberg piles on.

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:

Matthew, Jesus Calls  Levi (Matthew) The Tax Collector. Matthew 9.9-13 ESV and Mark 2.13-17 ESV. The Calling of Saint Matthew by Michelangelo Caravaggio

And Lorenzo Lotto’s St. Paul:

Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 11.15.31 AM

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.

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