My uniform for the last four years of my life has consisted of black high-waisted leggings, (usually) a crop top, and some sort of sparkly jewelry. It’s my look, but it’s also…kind of the only thing I feel comfortable wearing. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt uncomfortable in jeans. I would wear flared jeans five sizes too big for me in high school because I didn’t like the sensation of something so constrictive around my stomach. It was when the girls on the Sharyland High School tennis team laughingly pointed out just how big my giant Gap jeans were (the brutal honesty of mean girls!) that I realized skinny jeans were necessary to fit in.
But around age 24, I essentially stopped wearing jeans. It was the early days of my black-leggings uniform, worn less in the yoga-mom Lululemon sense and more in the spirit of Peg Bundy. I’m relatively unbothered by my rote fashion routine, but I do experience a pang of shame whenever I read, say, an article debating whether leggings are pants—which they are. They make your ass look poppin’ AND they’re flexible, and I can’t ask for much more from something that encases my legs.
But even I, Slutty Leggings Queen, am thinking maybe there’s more to life. Particularly in an office setting when the appropriateness of leggings can be tricky to navigate, I’ve felt the urge to broaden my pant horizons. So in an effort to New Year, New Me, Baby!, I’m changing it up and exploring some still-hot, still-comfy alternatives for people who can’t stand jeans—but also don’t want to wear dresses and skirts either.
A versatile, well-tailored jumpsuit is perfect for people who don’t like the constrictive feel of denim. There’s nothing gathering at your waist or hips, and it’s a really clean silhouette. People were inspired by Sandra Oh’s off-duty glam tuxedo jumpsuit at the Golden Globes; she paired it with dripping diamonds and award-show hair, a très chic look. Jumpsuits are low-key pajamas, and pajama-inspired Old Hollywood dressing is very glam.
Joan Collins doesn’t like jeans. She said so in a catty, hilarious article for—randomly—the Daily Mail that began with, “When I heard that the Ritz Hotel was allowing people in for breakfast wearing jeans, I was surprised to say the least.” While I’m in no societal position to talk shit like Collins, I appreciate the anti-jeans attitude. It’s hard to say for sure, but I think the right pair of silk trousers would be more than welcome at the Ritz.
The key to styling leggings is to treat them like pants. Instead of pairing them with moisture-wicking athletic wear, style them with cropped sweaters, button-ups tied at the waist, or oversized polo shirts.
The Track Pants
Because age is a construct and you’re never too old to channel a 17-year-old Instagram hype queen, track pants are an excellent way to basically wear pajamas to work. Whether it’s a classic pair of Adidas Original Trainers or a slightly dressed-up velvet version, like the Givenchy pants below, track pants are pretty much always a good idea.