Regardless of where you stand on the issue, you know exactly what I'm talking about: the constant debate about whether or not leggings are pants or not. They're a staple for just about every high school and college girl who can't force herself to fight with jeans in the morning, but also doesn't want to look like a slob wearing sweatpants. Having said that, there are so many chic options that it's almost just as much effort to come up with an outfit with leggings
Still in that same demographic are the girls who kick and scream and proclaim to the world that leggings are indeed NOT pants and should only be worn with dresses, tunics, and the like. It's safe to say this isn't a topic the people of the fashion world (and even those outside it!) seem to be indifferent on.
Through careful research via the Internet and polling (mostly of my fellow female college friends), I've come up with arguments for both sides, and then also guidelines that spring from these arguments.
For Leggings As Pants
The first major argument from many a fashionista is that there are so many types of leggings that it's almost a crime to rule them out. Matte, metallic, liquid, shiny, leather, cotton, the list goes on! If you're constricted to jeans and pants, the options are significantly reduced and all sorts of possibilities are eliminated.
Secondly, it's unfair to say that all leggings are thin and unsupportive and leave your backside looking like jello in pantyhose. There are more than a few pairs of quality leggings that provide enough support to be pulled off as pants, and when we get into jeggings its just a whole different world. With belt loops, pockets, and even zippers, it's hard to rule them out as pants. Unfortunately, I've witnessed more than a few thin pairs that barely qualified as tights, let alone a pair of pants. Proceed with caution when it comes to jeggings.
The last argument, and the most obvious to me, is that sometimes it's really hard to force yourself into anything more than a stretchy cotton-y pair of good leggings. 8 am tests, late nights studying for exams, and just general chilling about the house all seem like viable reasons to wear a pair of leggings with a big t-shirt and leather jacket to me. Even a sweatshirt and leggings is just sometimes all you can muster if it's the day after a long fight with the boyfriend that lasted until 3 am.
Against Leggings As Pants
The biggest argument is that there will always be those girls who abuse leggings as pants. There are a couple of ways to do this, both pretty bad.
The first is wearing leggings when it's not the best option. It's just a fact that people have different body types, and specifically there are those of us who have wider backsides than others. Naturally, this stretches the fabric more. This problem can easily be remedied by a thick pair of leggings, but there's always that girl who is completely clueless (or doesn't care) that everything is on display walking down the hallway. In addition, leggings that are less supportive or thinner can accentate, or at least do nothing to hide. cellulite and other lumps and bumps. While we can't all have the legs of a Victoria's Secret model (and that's ok!), it's just not a good idea to advertise it.
Second, a lot of girls see leggings as a copout. They can easily be abused and worn regularly and become equated to yoga pants or sweatpants. This isn't always the case, but it's a common opinion in the fashion world that yoga pants and sweatpants are reserved for days at home or emergency sick days. Some people also group leggings into this category, and if you've spent any time on a college campus it's easy to see why. It's hard to go a day without seeing at least a dozen girls wearing leggings, a hoodie, and Uggs. Like double bacon cheeseburgers, this is of course fine in moderation and as an indulgence, but when it becomes a uniform, that's when you're going to get a heart attack (ok, well you get what I'm trying to say).
At the end of all of this, it really appears to me that there isn't a right answer, and the rules are so blurred by other items: where to jeggings fall? What about skinny pants? Do yoga pants/running pants qualify as leggings or are they their own category? It's a tricky subject. However there are just some general rules that should be followed, and sticking to these guidelines will hopefully build you a solid argument against anyone bemoaning you for your wardrobe choices.
1. Make sure that your leggings are thick enough that your...*ahem* lady bits, won't be on display for anyone walking behind or in front of you. In addition, thick leggings are generally more supportive and help shape your backside and thighs better than the thinner variety. American Apparel makes all kinds of leggings that all seem to check out as safe. Though your wallet might cringe at the price tag now, I've had the same pair of Winter Leggings for almost two years and they're still going strong.
2. While it's still up for debate whether or not your behind needs to be covered, it's never ok to show off a potential camel toe. Make sure that your tops are long enough to cover that area (and maybe a little longer in case of wind gusts or requests for high-fives).
3. White/nude leggings are never ok. If I need to explain why then we have more work to be done than can be covered in a single blog post.
4. Know your body type. I'm not trying to alienate anyone, but if you know you're not comfortable with your shape or you wouldn't wear skinny jeans or other tight items, it might a good idea to keep the tops at a mid-thigh length so everything is covered. You don't want to look like anyone who could end up on "People of Wal-Mart" *shudder*
5. The safest outfits seem to be things like long button-ups or sweaters with riding boots or some chic ankle boots. While I'm personally not a fan of heels and leggings, I've seen it pulled off so don't be afraid to wear some cute summery wedges. *Disclaimer* Make sure to keep a friend close by. You don't want to end up looking like a cheap hooker.
6. Never, ever, EVER let your panty lines show. Ever.
So what do you think? Are you for or against wearing leggings as pants? Do you have any other guidelines for wearing leggings as pants?