Are Leggings Pants? The Case for Both Sides


I possess more than a few unpopular opinions. I dislike burritos, don’t find Parks & Recreation funny and have never enjoyed reading The Great Gatsby. But there’s one thing I find myself arguing about more than anything else: whether or not leggings are, in fact, pants.

While leggings have been around for hundreds of years — and were originally made of two separate pieces! — the garment we know them as today didn’t become popular until the ’60s. The question ever since: Are leggings actually pants? There are points to be made on either side of the debate, but I trust that after you hear me out on this, you’ll agree with me.

Argument A: Leggings Are Pants

Here’s my logic: It all depends on the opacity. If you are wearing leggings that don’t reveal the color of your underwear (should you be wearing any), then you’re good to go.”Whenever you’re trying to determine whether a pair of leggings can be pulled off as pants, first feel the fabric — it should feel thick,” advises Lexie Sachs, Senior Product Analyst of the Textiles Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “If it feels like the equivalent of jersey T-shirt fabric, it’s probably too thin.” She recommends trying them on in good lighting and bending over while looking in the mirror to test the opacity.

Once you’ve figured that out, it doesn’t matter what size you are, nor what you’re wearing with them; the same classic pair of black leggings can look fantastic with a tunic, a T-shirt, a crop top or three different knit layers. It just depends on how you style the outfit.One big reason I love wearing leggings as pants: By nature, they conform to my body. If your weight tends to fluctuate quite a bit the way mine does, wearing stretchy clothes saves both energy and money. Going denim shopping is infuriating, and I don’t always feel comfortable wearing skirts or dresses, so a simple pair of yoga pants or leggings is the perfect solution.

I know some folks think that leggings are simply too tight to be worn on their own. The thing is, it’s not exactly a secret that you have a figure, and if you’re wearing tight jeans or a form-fitting dress, you’re already “revealing” it. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to show off your body! Plus, if you’re going to do so, you might as well do it in the comfiest possible way, right? It’s a win-win.

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