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Leggings are Not Real Pants

Some dos and don'ts on legging-wearing

Lately I’ve noticed a growing trend at school that has really been bothering me. It doesn’t have to do with girls wearing super-cropped tops or guys in skinny jeans (though those things do tend to bother me), rather, with females' choice in “pants”. Everywhere I look these days I see girls wearing leggings instead of pants. When I’ve asked people why they’ve opted for leggings over the classic jeans, almost 100 percent of the time the answer is that they’re more comfortable. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I am totally a fan of comfort. I am one of comfort’s biggest supporters actually, and my schoolmates would probably be shocked to see the mismatched sweats and athletic shorts I pair with hand-me-down tees while relaxing in the privacy of my home. However, that’s where the difference lies; I wear ridiculous things at home, but I would never venture out in public in the kinds of things I wear at home. I always justify this by saying you never know who you’ll meet or run into, and first impressions mean a lot. 

But apparently, no one got the memo on leggings not being actual pants. I mean, they may look like pants, and try to act like pants, but honey, they’re not pants. They’re not pants in the same way that a street vendor will try to convince you you’re buying a real Louis Vuitton at a very generous price, but deep down you know that it’s not a real LV. I’m a firm believer that there’s a time and a place for everything (okay, most things, because I don’t see when it would ever be okay to wear Crocs--sorry Croc lovers, but c’mon) and so I’ve decided to outline the dos and don’ts of wearing leggings, just to clear things up. 

DO wear leggings paired with long shirts, or short dresses. A good way to figure this out is relative to your...behind. To test if your shirt is long enough to wear with leggings, stand in front of a mirror and make sure that your bottom is covered by the shirt. If it passes your butt, then go for it, take those leggings out for a whirl. If not, sorry kiddo, but you’re in pants territory. The same rule of thumb applies for short dresses. 

DO wear leggings with tall boots that hit just below or above the knee. It'll make you look tall and is especailly cute when paired with a long cardigan. It will feel comfortable and look great. This is probably the best way to wear leggings, in my opinion. 

DO conduct what I like to call a “stretch test” before leaving the house in leggings. The reason that so many people find leggings to be comfortable is because they’re easy to move in, which comes from their elasticity. However, the downside to being so spandex-y is that when things stretch, they often become sheer. To avoid the public embarrassment of finding yourself in sheer “pants”, preform a stretch test. Step one: sit on the floor and bend your knees, if you can see your skin through the fabric, it’s not a good sign. Step two: stand to the side of a mirror and shift your weight onto the leg facing the mirror (a sassy, hand-on-hip kind of position). This is the position that usually gets legging-wearing ladies in a pickle, since it’s generally where they become see-through. If you’re lucky enough to pass the test without being able to tell what color or pattern your underwear is, then you’ve found yourself a good pair of leggings. 

DON’T forget the good old times. Pants really aren’t that bad. Jeans are a staple, and will look good with pretty much anything. A good pair will hug you in the right places and show off your great (ass)ets. Don’t use leggings as a cop out because you haven’t found the right pair of jeans. Though jean shopping can be a horrendous and traumatizing experience for some (not gonna lie, some of my worst shopping experiences have been in pursuit of denim) when you finally find the perfect pair it will be so worth it. 

DO wear leggings to exercise. I find that some cute athletic gear (along with an array of inspirational quotes from Pinterest) can be exactly what I need to get my butt off the couch and on my way to the gym. If it’s gonna get you motivated, than it’s definitely a do. 

Honestly, I’m a fan of jeans and tights, but I feel like leggings are their awkward half cousin once removed that is trying to squeeze it’s way in to the family but always kind of seems out of place. Wear them around the house if you want, or to exercise, or to run errands. But generally, if you want to wear pants with your outfit, your best bet is to actually wear pants. REAL pants. 

Thanks for reading, and sorry to all the legging-lovers I just offended. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Robin January 14, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Is there an age limit to leggings? I think I'll stick with pants, personally...but is there such a thing as Mom Leggings vs Teen Leggings?
Claudia Cruz January 18, 2013 at 06:34 AM
This is great! Leggings aren't pants! I love it! Especially on grown women. I wore legging when I was 12. Know I where them underneath as an extra layer of warmth. I thought skinny jeans where the replacement for leggings?
Crystal Tai January 22, 2013 at 04:42 AM
I NEVER wear leggings to go out, either, and I also don't like seeing leggings in public. So, the rules you've come up with for legging lovers all sound great to me. I hope they'll be followed.

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