Before going out last Saturday night, I zipped up my pair of black skinny jeans. I had just scarfed down a mini-pizza and was feeling hyper-aware of how tight these jeans were. Then I looked down and saw the material of the jeans awkwardly catching and gathering at the ankles of my boots. “Nope, I can’t do it,” I thought to myself. “It’s leggings time.”
To say I’m a leggings fan is an understatement. They’re pretty much all I wear 24/7, 365. I’m not a particularly athletic person, so I’m not pairing Lululemons with a sports bra or anything like that; it’s just that black leggings are my go-to for comfy (and versatile!) pants-like things. I’m not a jeans gal — the material always feels too form-fitting in the wrong places and constricting. I’m also not one to wear skirts or dresses frequently because they aren’t always the most efficient garment to wear running around New York City. So leggings it is, and they get a mysteriously bad rap.
Considering that jeans have historically been considered casual, I’m not sure why there are a plethora of fashion sites having to defend (or not defend) leggings. A, um, controversial New York Times op-ed — so controversial, in fact, that it was anonymous (haha!) — vehemently declared that women should ditch leggings for sweatpants.
We felt we had to look hot on dates — a given. We felt we had to look hot at the office — problematic. But now we’ve internalized the idea that we have to look hot at the gym? Give me a break. The gym is one of the few places where we’re supposed to be able to focus on how our bodies feel, not just on how they look. We need to remember that. Sweatpants can help.
OK, first off, telling women what they should/shouldn’t wear is annoying as hell. Have you ever seen an editorial with a headline along the lines of, “Men, Don’t Wear Polos.” Of course not! Because that would be ridiculous. Just like it’s ridiculous that women are generalized together and told that wearing leggings/yoga pants is insulting. It’s probably because of pieces like this that we then have to defend wearing leggings. Refinery29 has published two pieces along the lines of “I’m a fashion editor, but I still wear leggings, OK?!”
I don’t get it. Leggings can be paired with plenty of things to not look too dressed-down or like you’re just coming from the gym. They’re certainly no more casual than jeans! I like leggings because they’re comfortable and allow my body to stretch any which way — I can also sit for periods of time at work and not feel jeans constricting my body. They also allow for clean lines; I can wear boots and not have to stuff my pants legs in. So let’s embrace leggings and not have to defend them. They’re fashionable! And they pair beautifully with both crop tops and oversized sweaters. Here are some of my current favorites: