• Wed, Nov 28 2012

‘Can You Wear Leggings As Pants?’: Yes, Because I Fucking Want To. No, I Don’t Care If I Look Ridiculous.

Google “leggings as pants?” Go ahead, I’ll even help you.

You’ll find an absurd number of articles on this beat-to-death topic devoted to why you should not wear leggings as pants, why you should, when it’s appropriate, how to make it appropriate, and so on and so forth for a ridiculously long time. You’ll also find loads of commenters who believe that “only hot chicks” should wear leggings as pants because fatphobia in fashion is a-okay. Or, with the case of Huffington Post‘s this morning, you get to hear about whether or not straight men think it’s all right–you know, the real people who should be dictating your wardrobe choices.

The men’s opinions ranged from poignant statements like “a little slutty, way too revealing” to flat-out admissions of “The part where the leggings come up to the ass where there’s a little space may be God’s greatest gift to man,” because women’s asses were obviously gifts to men. Of course, one guy felt it necessary to rate: “If the ass is an 8 or better, then I am an enthusiastic proponent.” Then came the ever-patronizing “call me old fashioned, but I’m the kind of guy who likes a little mystery.” Yes, you’re being old-fashioned; no, it’s not in a charming way. It just means you still think women’s bodies are meant to be covered up until you can somehow reveal them a la Sherlock Holmes.

Oh, and the best one: ”It’s attractive, and I’m a feminist, but at some basic level I won’t take you seriously as a person.”

Here’s my issue with this: making on things you want to wear based solely on whether or not men will find them attractive is idiotic. Especially when those men are objectifying, rating, mansplaining and speaking condescendingly about what they think your outfits should look like. Don’t we have enough men telling us what not to wear because of what it “says” about our personalities/desires? If a guy won’t take me seriously because of what I’m wearing–provided I’m not wearing some racist, hateful t-shirt or something–then why would I want his admiration anyway?

I wear leggings as pants on occasion (not all the time, because I presently live in a freezing cold hell hole that often requires much thicker clothing). Whether it’s a gym outfit or a shopping outfit or a date outfit, I don’t really care. Oh, somebody can see the outline of my ass? Oh, no! Now they’ll know I have one! THE SECRET IS OUT.

Why do I wear them as pants? Because I don’t always have a long tunic or dress to go over them, nor do I always feel like doing so anyway. I don’t ever wear tights as pants, but that’s primarily because (A) they’re entirely too thin to maintain warmth when worn alone and (B) they tend to rip much easier, and then they wouldn’t be pants so much as a shredded leg scarf.

SUCK MY NEVERENDING GOBSTOPPER, WONKA. MY ASS RULES.

I believe there’s a time and place for most articles of clothing (except these). I wouldn’t pull a Bieber and wear leggings as pants to meet the President, though I wouldn’t wear jeans, hot pants or puka shells to meet the guy, either. But yes, I wear them in public. I don’t care that they don’t look sexy or flattering or pretty, and why should I? I’m wearing them because they’re comfortable. Sure, comfy can be sexy. Half of Victoria’s Secret’s lines are based around that idea. But does it have to be?

Women are often told we can either look sexy or be comfortable, but that is frequently not the real choice. It’s typically between looking sexy with comfort versus looking sexy sans it. We’re expected to look pretty either way, and given about 8 million tips on how to do so (I am admittedly guilty of this on occasion). But what if we don’t feel like looking attractive? As some of the commenters mentioned on this post, women shouldn’t feel obligated to be beautiful. We should feel just fine making choices for ourselves regardless of the opinion of others, no matter what’s sexy or not sexy.

If we feel like wearing leggings, whether it’s out on the town or out for a walk, we shouldn’t feel pressured not to wear what we feel like wearing. If they look “bad,” then so be it; why bother caring when your priority is comfort, anyway? So, to give my final answer on this stupid question: yes, you can wear leggings as pants.

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  • May

    Here here! Thanks for pointing out the bigger issue!

    • Lady Mixalot

      Hoping you don’t mean big butts are the issue… (sorry, couldn’t help myself, haha)

    • May

      hahahaha

  • Kim

    …..no. leggings are not pants, and you shouldn’t wear them as such. I don’t want to see camel toes or the clear outline of your underwear. this isn’t a sexist thing either, I’ve seen men try to pull off leggings and I think seeing every nook and cranny of their package is gross too. also, considering how tight leggings are, I don’t think you can argue that they’re any more comfortable than a slouchy pair of jeans or yoga pants.

    • Lindsay

      I have never, ever shown camel toe. No. I don’t think anyone said camel toe is okay. I also do not show “pantyline”. Wearing leggings as pants is not an excuse for those crimes against humanity.

    • Ana

      Amen Lindsay!

    • Kim

      wearing leggings for pants is often used as an excuse for those crimes against humanity

    • Samantha_Escobar

      On the yoga pants thing–I see your point. I own yoga pants, though, and the issue of showing my shape doesn’t really go away, so I might as well wear the stuff I already own. But I do wear them on occasion and they are pretty comfortable.

      Denim, on the other hand, actually really bothers my skin most of the time. Certain fabrics aggravate my fibromyalgia and I have absolutely no idea why that is.

    • Kim

      it isn’t about “showing the shape”, it’s about the thickness of the cloth. yoga pants tend to be, on average, made of thicker material than leggings, ergo you cannot see every cellulite dimple and pubic hair through the fabric. 90% of the time, when I see someone wearing leggings, I can see way too much of their business. it’s inappropriate. I took a yoga class in college and my teacher specifically banned leggings and tights, because she was sick of seeing cootches–girls would show up in pants that would become see-through in certain poses. like, I don’t have any problem with people wearing skinny jeans or showing their shape, but I do have a problem with people showing too much…. idk, I guess you would call it loin cleavage?

    • Diosa B.

      I have plenty of leggings that are thick as my yoga pants– in fact, the majority of them are.

    • Penny

      Yes, thank you. I don’t see how this new attitude of “let’s be gross because we can” came to be. Society has no shame, and somehow now this is trendy, as I’m constantly seeing girls in every situation either look half naked or like they just rolled out of bed. Apparently appropriate and comfortable clothing does not exist except in my world. I’m baffled. And when exactly did everybody get to be so delicate that they couldn’t handle real pants or skirts anymore?

    • Jessi

      besides, its plain dirty for looking at them, like obviously there eyes are way up there….not like they are sticking there privates way up in ur face

    • elikit

      Meh, if you don’t like it, stop looking. The world and everyone in it doesn’t owe you picturesque.

  • Brianna

    Nope. Not pants. I don’t care how great or not great you look in them, they are not pants they are leggings. If you want the ultimate comfort and you don’t care how you look, get some sweatpants. They are actually pants and actually comfortable.

    • partyghosts

      Well, I think leggings look way better than sweatpants and if you want the ultimate comfort and don’t care how you look, get some leggings.

    • Brianna

      Way better? Really? It depends on the legs. Wearing either one makes you look sloppy. Sweatpants are way more comfy.

    • partyghosts

      Sweats aren’t really comfier for me and yes, I think way better regardless of the legs– so it’s good that we aren’t picking out pants for each other.

    • http://facebook.com/fcxfc Francesca

      sweatpants have never been more comfortable for me. all of that extra, thicker material irritates my thighs when i walk as there’s room for friction between the material and the skin.

      and honestly, how can people not see that jeans are just as sloppy? most people aren’t wearing skinny designer jeans, they’re usually wearing cheap pairs that get torn up on the bottom and tend to be too baggy, which in my opinion completely ruins what could have been a nice silhouette of their bottom half; not to mention the ones that are of especially low quality have that super awkward bunching-up of material in the crotchal – yes, crotchal needs to be made a word =P – area, making everyone look like they accidentally ingested too much viagra. and even dark expensive designer jeans fade in certain areas eventually!

      at least the common solid-colored leggings, cheap or expensive, never lose their original color, giving your legs a great uniform appearance.

    • lucygoosey74

      Ha! I work in a clothing store, and when one of my coworkers tried on a pair of jeans and asked my opinion, I had to tell her that they looked all wrong in the “crotchal region”. I’m super excited to discover that someone else thinks crotchal should be a legitimate word!

    • http://facebook.com/fcxfc Francesca

      YES.

  • anna

    well, the author kind of just said she doesnt give a fuck.so i don’t think she’s going to give a fuck now that her commenters don’t like leggings either

  • Lindsay

    Thank you! I developed an unhealthy obsession with Black Milk leggings recently. I wear them as pants. I do not care; and I have zero shame about it. I get nothing but compliments (from ladies, straight men, and gay men) anytime I wear them out. Is there really a difference between thick leggings and tight skinny jeans? I say no.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      Oh my goodness, I love those leggings! I think they’re so pretty. I don’t own any but I used to have a friend who had some galaxy ones and they always looked so snazzy :)

    • Lindsay

      I have Hex Colour, Galaxy Green, and the nearly sheer Matte Black. I wear something that covers my butt for the sheer ones, haters. haha

    • Dilemma

      I was anti-leggings but I’m starting to LOVE Black Milk. Especially now that my cousin works for them and can get me discount. I really want the Peggy Bundy leopard print ones and the velvet ones at the moment.

    • Lindsay

      Does your cousin want to hook me up with a discount, too? =) I love the Peggy Bundy leggings. Velvet makes me twitchy, but they are so pretty.

    • Dilemma

      I’m pretty much obsessed with velvet. It’s a problem. The Peggy Bundy ones are amazing though.

    • http://facebook.com/fcxfc Francesca

      i wish black milk wasn’t so expensive =[

  • Candace

    I’m all about jeggings (not the denim colored ones). They’e just thick legging with pockets.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      Yesss! The only pair of jeans that I currently wear is jeggings. I LOVE THEM. The fabric is so soft and the lack of thick seaming and hardware is great!

  • BriW

    I personally subscribe to the gospel of “leggings are not pants”. My general rule is, if I would not wear something without any sort of leg covering at all, I do not wear it with leggings. I will go for some real pants instead. But hey, as long as you’re comfortable and not hurting anyone else, wear whatever you want. The point is that we get to personally decide what we will or will not wear, and we shouldn’t hate on other people for making a different decision than we would.

  • jamiepeck

    It depends on the leggings and the level of camel toe. Some are totally fine. Black Milk Clothing, for instance, makes amazing leggings you will not want to cover up. As my friend Erin put it, “a skirt would be a waste of Jesus heads.”

  • Cee

    Meh, sorry I’m in the leggings are not pants club. BUT it depends on the leggings…if they are jeggings or thick leggings I suppose that is okay. However, I have seen my share of camel toe, unruly pubic hair sticking out of thin leggings *shudder*, nice underwear, ugly underwear, NO underwear (at my work…with junior high school boys…this was a teacher) , regardless of woman’s size this is just not acceptable. I think women should just gauge that kind of thing when they’re going to wear leggings as pants (sans tunic/vadge-butt coverage).

  • L

    as far as im concerned, leggings as pants are only OK at the gym. and frankly, i agree with the guy that made the nice ass comment. i shouldn’t have to look at your (not yours personally, but you know what i mean) jiggly butt/cottage cheese ass on my morning commute. also, it just makes the wearer of the leggings look sloppy and unpolished.

    • P

      You don’t have to look at anybody’s ass. You may not be aware of this, but you actually have some level of control where you look. If you choose to focus on people’s asses to the exclusion of all the other places your eyes could go, that’s on you.

    • jessi

      Completely true and in my opinion leggings are just amazing and just because some people don’t like it because it shows some parts its really their falt for looking at it… eyes are all the way up there and the distance span is a lot so there really is no reason why they would get a small peek unless the person they are talking to is just extremely short

  • alexandra

    There is, for further reading, a super good article on Thought Catalog called something like “Yeah I’m wearing leggings as pants, trick, wanna fight about it?” And I think we should all friend request the girl who wrote it. Not on facebook, in real life.

    • Lindsay

      That article and the comments are great. I disagree with the “confident camel toe” line, but the rest is perfect.

  • Amy

    I hate leggings as pants, but it has nothing to do with “showing too much” and more to do with the the silhouette. An outfit becomes stylish because of how colour, lines, and shapes interact; if leggings are worn with a normal shirt (not a tunic or short dress) then the lines and the shape look all wrong to me. Even if they are designer/fancy leggings or if they’re paired with a great blouse, shoes, and jewelry… if that top doesn’t have length… it just looks awkward and unfinished.

    However, I live in a very fashion backward city where most people do not give a shit about style or design or fashion which means I would never hold leggings-as-pants against someone. Plus, I dress like a cross between Betty Draper and a South Korean college student so most people think I’m the weird dresser.

    • MR

      Yes, it’s the structure and the form of the woman’s presentation that is appealing to a man’s eye. Hippie women don’t reveal very much. But it’s the style in which the present themselves.

  • Dilemma

    For years I was totally against leggings in all their forms. Then I bought a pair to wear around the house (or so I told myself). Holy shit so comfortable. And my arse looks amazing. I still only wear them when I’m dressing super casual but that’s just personal taste (I’m a vintage dresses and skirts girl most of the time). If you don’t like how I look in them, don’t fucking look. I get weird looks when I wear full vintage too so it seems I can’t win. I’ll wear my pink jeggings as much as I goddamn want.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Catherine-Drage/1047600335 Catherine Drage

    Oh Sam you have me laughing again! I so enjoy your article and I am totally with you, Who gives a fuck what men think about womens fashion. It’s my body ,my clothing and my fashion sense. Here here to not giving a fuck! haha

  • http://facebook.com/fcxfc Francesca

    samantha escobar, i love you.

    the same logic applies when going to the beach: no one is forcing you to watch people you find unattractive via clockwork orange-style, fucking turn your gaze elsewhere. people shouldn’t have their sartorial freedom restricted just because you’re like a kid experiencing porn online for the first time.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      Miss Francesca, I love you right back.

      AND YES. Goodness gracious, whenever people pull the whole “cover yourself up, nobody wants to see that, yadda yadda” about certain body types wearing bikinis, I get livid. Are we supposed to measure ourselves to make sure we’re “allowed” to get Vitamin D or something?

    • Penny

      And yet there is such a thing as situational appropriateness, which people are starting to seriously fail to grasp somehow.

    • http://facebook.com/fcxfc Francesca

      i’m right there with you as far as the existence of situational appropriateness goes, and i’m sure others favoring leggings as pants would be too. they would probably agree with me that leggings as pants would not be appropriate in a business meeting or the like. but i guess I’M cool with them for the most part because i feel there are far fewer situations in which the degree of appropriateness that you’re talking about is actually relevant. plus i think that the complaints of seeing too much detail and pubes are waaaay exaggerated.

  • Porkchop

    No. Screw leggings. You know why? Because I’m bitter against women hot enough to dress like s*** and still look hot. You suffer along with the rest of us.

    No ponytails for you, either.

  • lucygoosey74

    No, no, no! I cannot approve this. If there’s one “look” I can’t stand, it’s the “I don’t give a fuck” look. whether or not you give a fuck is irrelevant..just don’t dress like it. I’m not saying that one must don stilettos and a ballgown to go to the gas station, but really, take the time to pop on a pair of jeans, which are also comfortable, unless they are lined with sandpaper and metal shavings. I don’t care what size, shape, religion or race you are..wearing leggings without the proper top (tunic, sweaterdress, or other long style) just looks sloppy and gross.

    • http://facebook.com/fcxfc Francesca

      that . . makes zero sense. someone who gives no fuck is not about to give enough of a fuck to make sure they didn’t dress like they didn’t give a fuck; that would defeat the purpose of not giving a fuck. because then they’d have to give at least half a fuck.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      Color me sloppy and gross, baby!

      Also, @flci:disqus Couldn’t have summed that up better myself, dammit.

    • Guest

      thththtrhsytjjghjghjsyj

  • Kirsten

    God, those men are such pigs! I mean, a woman would never judge a man based on what he wears. I have absolutely no preference on whether a guy shows up in a crisp, well-tailored suit, or if he wears sweatpants hanging off his ass with thong sandals. I mean, if a guy wants to wear a mesh belly shirt over his hairy beer gut, that’s his choice. His priority is comfort, and he doesn’t give a fuck. I’m not entitled to an opinion on his barely-covered junk rubbing up against me on my crowded morning commute, even within the privacy of my own mind, even when a respected online magazine specifically asks me for it.

  • Living Out Loud

    Yes!! I found some by Vince Camuto–not expensive, and not really leggings, like a pant. So comfortable, so wonderful. Sorry, I would suggest a long tunic or sweater over them if you’re a big beautiful woman (or for a restaurant or somewhere public like that). And Yes, Lindsay, the jeans look more like pants, not ballet class : )) Peace and Happy Holidays, yall. : ))

  • at

    The reason why I frequently wear leggings/jeggings/anything stretchy as pants (actually, scrap that term, THEY ARE PANTS. DEAL WITH IT.) is because of my body type. I have thin legs and no hips, but a heavyset torso complete with the “spare tire”. Leggings not only flatter my gams, they act as a control top, so they’re a win-win. Nine times out of ten, I can’t find jeans or trousers that are modeled to my body shape, and it can get pretty frustrating. Oh, and don’t get me started on the labels they put in American Apparel leggings stating “WARNING: THESE TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS”… *massive eye roll*

    • Samantha_Escobar

      YES. I almost put that photo on this post, but was too irritated…especially considering American Apparel advertises half their sheer clothing as standalone styles. And the photos of tights never allow models to wear tops, for some reason…

    • at

      Oh, the rant I could go on about AA and their godawful ways…

  • sabrina

    i would never but only because i don’t wear pants. skirts, dresses, tights, and thermal tights compose my wardrobe.
    in my world all girls would wear skirts and sweaters and all men would look dapper but this is not my world. so if you aren’t wearing silk dresses with me then i don’t give a fuck and you shouldn’t either.

  • http://tutusandtinyhats.wordpress.com/ Laura

    All I have to say is HELLS YES.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MatthewMcVeagh Matthew McVeagh

    I notice that the last word of the text title is “ridiculous” whereas the last word of the URL title is “sexy”. ;)

  • Lowell

    Maybe if you weren’t cheap you’d buy some yoga pants that are actually meant to be worn as pants and make your ass look great while saving the rest of us from the train wreck (not even with a cameltoe) that is the front side of leggings. You wear leggings and pants and just end up looking like a lazy party girl (no guys ACUTALLY like those women by the way) who passed out last night and couldn’t be bothered to to even put on another skirt or long top in the morning.

  • Eileen

    I wear leggings as pants all the time because…that’s what they are. Now, granted, I buy nice leggings made from fabric thick enough that you cannot tell what color panties I’m wearing. And I generally wear them with looser, longer tops. But I am not ashamed or embarrassed by my selection.

  • UnJeans Leggings

    Leggings are pants, only better. As someone who has sold leggings to men and women around the globe since 2000 at UnJeans.com – I know people are wearing and enjoying them.

    It’s time to get over the body image constraints and go for the comfort. Just wear them. Leggings are perfect casual wear for women AND men.

    Having worn leggings for years, I’m aware of people’s comments both negative and very positive. After all, it’s not the leggings on the man but the man in the leggings. Everyone looks good in leggings and some people look great!

    Humans come in all shapes, sizes and permutations. We should all rejoice in that fact and champion everyone for who they are. Why are some humans so anti-human? Why are some body parts considered “junk” or part of a camel’s anatomy? Why have these people been trained to believe that the human body is so cringe-worthy? A little change to a more tolerant, accepting and positive perspective would go far in making the world a better place for everyone.

    If more people, women and men, wear leggings, then it will just be another apparel choice. At one time denim jeans were worn only by miners digging for gold. Now they are everywhere and nobody asks whether you’ve struck gold.

    So never say never – when you do decide to wear leggings, choose a well made pair – not with cotton fibers that bag out over time but a high tech fiber that retains its shape.

    No pockets on leggings? – no problem – wear a belt pack. When wearing leggings I’m
    actually more comfortable when my wallet isn’t sticking in my butt (like it does when I’m wearing baggies) Instead it’s conveniently at my waist with my keys, cell phone, etc. All your stuff is right with you and more accessible. Go for the comfort and support of a great pair of leggings and enjoy.