Yesterday, as I was eating lunch and perusing pics from New York Fashion Week on Instagram, a woman walked by me in leggings and a top. A regular buttonup top that you could wear tucked in, layered under a sweater, etc. And so went a post on my Facebook page: Leggings are not pants.

Now first. If you know me or have worked with me, you know I don’t really subscribe to many hard-and-fast style rules. I think if you are comfortable and you feel good in what you are wearing, it will show. There are some tips and tricks to make clothing more flattering for you (like did you know pulling your top down past your hips actually makes them appear wider? Try having the top hit at the widest point of your hips. Try it now. In front of a full-length mirror). With that being said, there are maybe a handful of do’s and don’ts out there that I currently hold to be true. I say “currently” because clothing is fluid. There can be many iterations and reinventions of the same garment. For example, jeggings — wait for it, wait for it…that collective gasp from the fashion world — are now being fashioned out of more denim-y material so they look less like leggings with a zipper and pockets sewn on and more like real, substantive pants.

Disclaimer done. Back to the leggings. Fewer clothing topics garner more outcry than leggings. There is a 382,000-strong Facebook page dedicated to eradicating from society leggings as pants. What are these things? How can we wear them? What is appropriate? ARE THEY IN FACT PANTS?


Leggings are not pants. They just aren’t. Pants can be worn with t-shirts, buttonups, etc. Leggings simply cannot be worn with a regular ol’ top like you would with a pair of jeans or trousers. It helps me to think that leggings are just a step — a very, very small step — up from tights. Would you wear tights with just a top?

Ok, ok, I know that, you say. I don’t do that. I wear mine with longer tops. Like a sweater that covers my backside and frontside (please, please ladies, do not forget the importance of the frontside). Lift your arms up. Is the garment now up around your bellybutton? You move in daily life. Your clothes should still make sense when they move with you. If your top barely covers your front and backside, when you move, it will move up too.

Go tunic. Something that hits mid-thigh works.

Well, you say, my leggings are made of thicker material. They are faux-leather. They are velvet. They are thicker, much thicker, than tights. Are they still primarily a stretch material? Then they are still leggings. They still hug you in areas you don’t want the world to see. And, I don’t think I need to tell you that I am not referring to your backside.

See above about going tunic. Or dress. No skirts — we aren’t 7 years old.

And with that, I reaffirm my stance on leggings not as pants.

But then there’s this