By Shawn Murphy
I myself have a tendency to think that if leggings were really pants they would call them pants, but there are so many people that wear them now, as pants, I have become confused (more so than usual). Has it become socially acceptable to wear, out in public, leg coverings that are really a just thick cousin of panty hose and call them pants? Perhaps. What if guys wore them? Well, guys do wear skinny jeans….so are skinny jeans leggings or pants? You can see my dilemma. To explore how other people might feel about leggings I did a very unscientific survey of people on the internet.
The results of my survey came down heavily on the side of “Leggings are NEVER pants,” One reviewer put it this way, “My problem with leggings is the indication that millions of American women now view tissue-thin, garishly patterned leggings as pants. Pants should not make your rear end look like it’s been jammed into a kaleidoscope or smooshed into a pizza. Pants do not profile the surface of your thighs like a satellite image of the ocean’s floor.”Not everybody shared this woman’s disdain. Another defended the “leggings as pants” position, but with one clarification. “It all depends on the opacity. If you are wearing leggings that don’t reveal the color of your underwear (should you be wearing any), then you’re good to go. Once you’ve figured that out, it doesn’t matter what size you are, nor what you’re wearing with them; the same classic pair of black leggings can look fantastic with a tunic, a T-shirt, a crop top or three different knit layers. It just depends on how you style the outfit.”
Everyone did agree, however on one thing…pregnant and postpartum moms get a pass. When you’re a new mom, changing out of the clothes you slept in is an accomplishment some days. No one is going to tell you what to wear, carry on. It gets better, I promise.
Believe it or not, men also have opinions about leggings for instance, “Like the mini-skirt, leggings can be adorable on children and young women who have the benefit of nature’s blessing of youth, like Kendall Jenner whose body is amazing, and yes, she looks great in leggings in a way that most mortals cannot. However, on mature, adult women there is something bizarre and disturbing about the appearance they make in public.” Then there are men who truly appreciate this fashion trend saying, “There’s another side to the legging world, the backside, if you will, and it’s wonderful. Leggings are the reason men who appreciate the female backside wake up in the morning, the reason we, yes we, take the long way to work in the morning, and the reason we get prescription glasses.” To the men of the world he says, “You’ve seen a woman in leggings that made you want to be a better person, admit it.”
As you can see, both hating and defending the style has practically become a national sport. Leggings are loved and reviled. Who can forget that red, white and blue inauguration outfit that Kellyanne Conway wore making her the butt of a million Twitter jokes? She apologized to the “Black Stretch Pants Women of America,” of which I am a member, in a move to shame leggings wearers as frumpy and sloppy who couldn’t possibly “get” the value of dressing up in a Paddington Bear-esque Gucci costume.
Personally I wear leggings as pants and try my best to wear a top that covers my behind out of respect for the general public. I am not always successful as the mass of my posterior makes the fabric ride up so that it cannot properly fall and cover its girth. Some say that if you are not built like a fashion model and are overweight and/or flabby and out of shape (like me) that you should not assault our eyes with your muffin top and loaf bodies, but that, dear readers, is exactly why we wear them. Leggings cling to us like a hug. They hold our curves without passing judgment on the second piece of cake. They are the Oprah Winfrey of our wardrobes telling us that anything is possible.
Every six months or so, a local newspaper will publish an op-ed by a pearl-clutching old fart about how offensive it is to see “unfit” women wearing spandex; a particularly tone-deaf one inspired a stretchy-pants protest march. Here, the author didn’t even bother to obscure his real thesis: He only considers leggings to be appropriate if he approves of your body. You can see why this kind of thing infuriates many women.
What they’re really asking is: Does this woman have the right to wear an outfit that doesn’t obscure the shape of her back end? And we’re pretty sure the “Black Stretch Pants Wearers of America” could tell you the answer to that.