My body has a weird thing where it cycles up and down about 20-30 pounds every few years. Before you start with the OMG YOYO DIETING IS SO UNHEALTHY, let me reassure you that I don’t diet, and can only attribute these fluctuates to random stuff like geographical location (no, really), relationship status (really, really), stress levels, what medications I’m taking, and so forth. It’s maddening, but I try to let my body do its thang while maintaining a non-weight-dependent healthy lifestyle.
Aware as I am of my body’s tendency to pull random shit, I tend to buy clothes that can fluctuate with me. Ie, a lot of stretchy jersey things, skirts, and dresses. Pants are harder. I had 3 pairs of pants from the GAP that I bought in 2009-10 that consistently fit me really well at my heaviest weight, and were loose but still flattering at lower weights. Unfortunately, following a recent weight gain cycle these damn pants, which had been loose 3 months prior, no longer fit me. I frustratedly tried to figure out what the hell in my closet still fit me in comfortable and flattering ways. I have a lot of pretty dresses and things but I ride my bike everywhere and I need comfortable, utilitarian things for my day to day fashion.
I was at Forever 21+ with a friend and I told her “I give up, I’m just going to be one of those fat girls who wears leggings every day.” I wore leggings and teeshirts every day as a kid for lack of options, and I had prided myself on becoming more fashion forward as an adult. This felt like some sort of defeat, like I was giving up on looking good. People LOVE to snipe about people wearing leggings as pants. And to that, I will say: FUCK YOU. I am reclaiming leggings as pants.
I think the negative association with leggings as pants has to do with the two major demographics that wear leggings, and in both cases it has to do with body shaming ass and thighs. The first demographic are generally very thin women (every sorority girl at IU wears a uniform of black leggings and boots all winter long), the second is fat women. In the former case, women are criticised for shamelessly flaunting their “perfect” thighs and ass, in the latter it’s because of fat women shamelessly displaying their “imperfect” thighs and ass. Maybe it seems like TMI to some folks either way, too much like wearing tights without a skirt. (My boyfriend refers to leggings as “tights” FWIW. And for the record- footless tights are NOT leggings.)
My work-around has been to wear my leggings with $5 mini stretchy skirts from H&M, or wearing leggings with longer tops. But I’m not gonna lie- if I’m going to the gym, or in my back yard or some other casual situation, I am wearing them as pants, and y’all can suck it.
I’ve also branched out beyond black leggings to crazy patterned ones. This makes my exile from pants to leggings somewhat more tolerable to have some goofy options. Forever 21+, ASOS Curve and Target have some nice options, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover the wig shop behind my boyfriend’s house carries a bunch of insane patterned leggings in my size. They can be difficult to build an outfit around, but it’s worth the work.
So- leggings as pants- taboo? Or ripe for reclaiming? Sound off in the comments.