Leggings and pants: The neverending debate

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The leggings-pants debate seems like the chicken-and-egg debate, yet people still want to offer fashion opinions on this topic. Aren’t we done talking about this? Many BYU students have been turned away from the Testing Center for wearing leggings, and this style choice may be a larger Honor Code discussion in the future.

A Reader’s Forum editorial from Feb. 10 offers another opinion about leggings.

Currently the Honor Code states that “clothing is inappropriate when it is sleeveless, strapless, backless, or revealing; has slits above the knee; or is form fitting.” Leggings fit the form-fitting category, but many other clothing choices could be considered form fitting.

Many see no harm in leggings and even praise this fashion change. Others, however, stand strongly in their opinion that “leggings are not pants.” The rest of the world has its opinion too:

GAP's "soft dressing" style term refers to those who prefer casual, comfortable clothes, even if it includes track or yoga pants. (GAP Blog)
GAP’s “soft dressing” style term refers to those who prefer casual, comfortable clothes, even if it includes track or yoga pants. (GAP Blog)

Yes

1. Jason Donnelly’s article “10 Reasons Why Anyone Who Says Leggings Aren’t Pants Is Wrong …” quotes the dictionary entry on pants and links Audrey Hepburn and the Berlin Wall to leggings.

2. Feminspire argues that “leggings are the best type of pants.” It also quotes Merriam-Webster’s dictionary entry for pants: “an outer garment covering each leg separately and usually extending from the waist to the ankle.”

3. GAP re-invented the pants revolution with its term “soft dressing,” which describes people who take their track and yoga pants “way beyond the gym.”

4. Some have joked that married men and women at BYU no longer have to dress to impress. New York Magazine’s “The Cut” fashion website considered why people wear sweatpants or comfy, casual clothes and linked their decisions with open rebellion. “When Sweatpants Become a Form of Protest” covers Beyonce’s partnership with Topshop’s athletic streetwear, Dior sneakers, Zuckerberg fashion and wearing pajamas in public.

No

1. The Facebook page “Leggings are NOT pants” has more than 350,000 likes and posts photos and memes about the debate.

2. Oregon-based Christian blogger Veronica Partridge swore off leggings because she said they give men lustful thoughts and Partridge wants to honor God and her husband the right way.

3. CNN’s Lucie Zhang wrote on “The right way to wear leggings in school” and said that, no, leggings are not pants, but they fill a niche in women’s fashion.

The "Leggings are NOT pants" Facebook page posts memes and photos arguing against wearing leggings as pants. (Tumblr)
The “Leggings are NOT pants” Facebook page posts memes and photos arguing against wearing leggings as pants. (Tumblr)

4. Some schools have banned leggings for being see-through, and Lululemon had to recall its sheer leggings in March 2013.

5. Montana lawmakers defined business formal fashion in its dress code guidelines. It declared that “leggings are not considered dress pants.”

Maybe

1. Cosmopolitan‘s style editor Charles Manning said that over the last few years, the line between what is a pant and what is a legging has been so blurred that it feels wrong to write off all leggings as being gym – or innerwear – exclusive.

“For me, it really boils down to the thickness of the fabric and how you style them,” Manning told Cosmopolitan. “If your leggings are flimsy enough that you can see through them in direct sunlight, then they’re not really pants; they’re underwear. Instead, keep your look relaxed, and layer up.”

Manning suggested wearing a longer top that covers the waistband and adding a long jacket. He recommended creating “some visual interest” so the leggings don’t dominate.

For those who choose to wear leggings, certain fashion rules are advised, such as wearing longer shirts or jackets to cover the waistband area. (Reddit)
For those who choose to wear leggings, certain fashion rules are advised, such as wearing longer shirts or jackets to cover the waistband area. (Reddit)

“And please,” Manning begged, “no shiny leggings. Ever. They just look cheap and overly tight, and that’s no good.”

2. College Fashion’s article about the clothing controversy pulls arguments from both sides. On one side, leggings are comfortable, simple and have a comfortable throwback style. However, some argue leggings reveal too much, offer less support and convey a message of laziness.

The article recommends wearing leggings with thick fabric and staying “safe” by wearing a long shirt.

Though there is a right time and place to wear casual clothing, leggings that are not see-through and worn with proper styling seem acceptable by the children, teens and 20-somethings of this generation.

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