Lil Wayne wore leopard jeggings to the VMAs the other night and, understandably, his wardrobe choice caused a media sensation. A Twitter account in the jeggings' honor was quickly erected, while speculation pondering the origins of his attire mounted in the style blogosphere. Soon, the finer details emerged: Weezy wore ladies' jeggings from legendary punk brand Tripp NYC, and you can buy them at Karmaloop for $44. Is this a trend about to take off?
"We haven't seen anything to indicate that it is happening yet," says Jasmine Imani, Karmaloop's head women's buyer. "It's funny that people are bugging, though. I don't think girls are going to rush and buy these because of him, although you never know!"
Those predestined to rock skin-tight jeans or jeggings are probably doing it for their own reasons. "I don't think Wayne is the first guy to rock jeggings from [Tripp NYC]; it's part of the brand’s culture," Imani adds. She's right: anyone living in the East Village – whether in 1984 or 2011 – can attest to the brand's popularity among the insect-legged male denizens of St. Mark's Place.
Still, we wondered what the appearance of a hip-hop dude in jeggings suggests about gender norms and style in 2011. "While rap and hip-hop music traditionally get a bad rap from the gay community — and many times rightfully so, seeing as there is a tendency to objectify homosexuality within those musical genres — they also are often the most stylish and biggest risk-takers," says Out magazine assistant editor Max Berlinger. "They are part of a community that is forging a new sense of Dandyism: extreme visual paradigms that are manifested in a completely overt way and also heavily rooted in consumerism."
His theory certainly applies to artists like Kanye West, who already has made a case for wearing women's shirts — as long as they are by Celine. It's a badge of individualism; it implies being powerful and confident enough to bend the rules.
"But fuck all that theoretical bullshit," concludes Berlinger. "At the end of the day, I just want someone to look confidently like themselves, which Lil Wayne did perfectly."
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• Introducing the King of Hip-Hop
• Lil Wayne: A History in Photos
• Photos: Kanye West's Monster Fashion