A leggings epidemic

Rachel Chen, Featured Columnist

     There was a terrible rumor spreading through the halls of Wilson Middle School – leggings were going to be banned. As far as we were concerned, there was no logical basis behind this ban. As long as our clothes were in dress code, why would it matter if we wore leggings underneath? Thankfully, our teachers were aware of how upset we were and set out to clarify rumor.

     “We checked and I just want to make it clear,” our assistant principal told us at lunch one day. “Leggings are allowed, as long as you are wearing them under something that is fingertip length or longer. You cannot wear them as pants.”

     Laughter echoed through the cafeteria. Leggings as pants were so elementary school.

     Today, things have changed. Those same girls who found the idea of wearing leggings as pants appalling then are some of the girls who wear them daily now.

     I understand that leggings are comfortable, easy to wear and let you feel “stylish” at the same time. However, and I’m know I’m not the only one who feels this way, leggings make a person look like they are not wearing anything – or in the words of a friend, “It looks like you just changed the color of your skin.” They are skin-tight but do not constrain your body at all, an awkward combination. I can deal with yoga pants, but leggings are like bike shorts. They are too tight and too revealing, even though they don’t actually show any skin.

     The problem with our style today is that our pants are getting tighter. When skinny jeans became popular, I remember people complaining about how hard they were to put on. But they were stylish, so people dealt with them. Leggings seem to be a reaction to the tightness of our clothing as girls try to balance comfort with style – it makes sense. No one wants to feel restrained all the time, so girls try to wear practical but fitted clothing to be attractive or remain in style.

     However, people forget that we wear clothing for a reason – to cover ourselves. While leggings cover skin, they don’t cover your body movements or your bottom, meaning that even those who don’t want to see your butt shaking when you walk up the stairs will have to. I have seen girls wear leggings that are so tight the shape of their butt is obvious. Any attempts to be classy, like pairing these leggings with boots, fail when I realize how violated I feel. I do not need to know what your butt looks like. Even worse are the panty lines, which are obvious when your “pants” are skin-tight. Underwear isn’t meant to be seen, and I’m sure the majority of the school body doesn’t want to see them either.

     I suggest a solution: buy pants that fit. Jeans are always in style and they can be comfortable too, as long as you buy the right size and don’t force yourself into a pair that is two sizes too small. For those who really want to wear cloth pants, sweats are loose enough to keep things out of sight. If you are really insistent on wearing leggings, at least wear athletic leggings, which are usually made of spandex blends that give more structure than regular cotton leggings.

     However, most people still wear these cotton leggings, which can be too tight, but also too loose at times. While leggings are skin-tight, after being worn multiple times they start to sag and bunch up in awkward places, especially in the back. The effect is just sloppy overall. It looks almost as bad as when the leggings are too tight.

     I am not suggesting that leggings should be banned or that wearing them makes you any less honorable of a person. Leggings are fine, as long as they are worn the way they were meant to be worn – as thicker tights that can go under shorter skirts or longer tops. The bottom line is that leggings are like tights, and tights are not pants.

      Even though we already have many dress code rules and I do not think we need any more, I hope that Plano will make better clothing decisions. So the next time you get dressed, please put some real pants on.