Swinging into fashion — legs, legs, legs. Take a good look at your own — everyone else will this year.
Whatever you wear this year — crazy patterned stockings or delicate lacy ones, jumpsuits (the black velvet one by Estevez) or boots, knee-skimming skirts or tights (the shimmering gold sequin pair opposite by Norman Norell), pants in shapings that stretch or flare — the focus is on legs.
And legs respond, like all parts of the body, to exercise. So, if your legs need slimming or trimming, shaping up or down, try some of the exercises we show on the following pages, created for maximum leg-watching appeal by exercise expert Ben Benne.
Tips for these retro leg exercises & stretches
Always do exercises on a mat or firm mattress — never on bare floor.
The simple child’s game of jump rope is an excellent all-over leg shaper. Start with a minute’s worth of gentle jumping the first day; build up to nine minutes in a month’s time. Take a brief intermission after each three minutes.
If your problem is heavy legs, Ben Benne suggests you wrap them mummy-style in plastic wrap. Wear it while you do your exercises and even your housework— it acts as a homemade steam cabinet helping to release excess fluid.
If your legs are very solid, do only the three stretch exercises shown here. Flabby or thin legs will benefit from all of the exercises.
Retro leg exercises & stretches: Two stretching methods for fit legs
The crisscross, [below], to firm and slim entire leg. Lie flat, legs straight and together. Swing legs up and apart. Keeping legs as high as possible, alternately cross right leg over left, left over right. Do 10 crisscrosses; then, keeping back flat on mat, continue to crisscross as you slowly lower legs to mat. Rest. Repeat the exercise five times; work up to 10.
Back-leg-and-hip stretch, left, to slim derriere and upper legs. Lie flat, legs together, hands clasped behind neck. Bend left leg and bring knee up as close as possible to chest. Extend leg straight up, then drop quickly to floor. (To avoid bruise marks, put two pillows under the legs.) Repeat with right leg. Ten times for each leg. To firm flabby legs, do not drop leg, but instead, with toes pointed, slowly lower leg to floor.
Calf stretches for nice legs
Two simple at-ease exercises can do a lot toward reshaping your legs.
Do this one in bed for the calves: Lie flat, legs straight. Turn toes up, relax. Repeat 10 times, build up to 40 times. While you watch television or talk on the phone, you can do this exercise to pare down your ankles: With toe pointed, make circles with foot, rotating ankle slowly and deliberately
The side-hip-and-thigh stretch, right, to firm and slip upper leg, eliminates girdle-line bulge. Stand, legs apart, arms extended at shoulder level. Maintain arm position as you stretch, reaching for left knee with left hand (pump and stretch as you bend for maximum effect). Then stretch to the right side. Repeat four times, alternating sides. Work up to 10.
Front-thigh stretch, below, to firm thighs and alim inner knee. Lie flat on back, legs together, bend left knee, grasp ankle with left hand. Swing leg to side and pull heel to buttock in pumping motion 10 times. Return leg to chest position, then straighten. Repeat with right. Work up to 10 times with each leg.
BLUE-AND-WHITE POLKA-DOT TIGHTS BY SOLAR. OTHERS BY CAPEZIO.
The flutter kick leg exercises
Flutter kick, [below], to firm and slim entire leg. Lie flat, legs together. Bend knees over chest, then extend legs straight up. Do a short flutter kick, while slowly lowering and raising legs three times— without touching floor. Keep back flat on mat. Rest. Repeat five times. Work up to 10. Inhale as you raise legs, exhale as you lower them.