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Leggings Are Not Pants: An Essay

10/25/2010 05:47 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Just because something is trendy doesn't make it right. Unless you're six or on a ski slope, leggings are not pants. I'm bombarded with shiny black thighs and the indentation of female buttocks and it makes me wonder: where does one go dressed like that? To the gym? Surely not the workplace or out to dinner with a beau.

The first time I saw this fashion statement I thought I was witnessing someone on their way to a body casting appointment. Without a doubt, plaster of paris would soon be covering the bottom half of this good Samaritan to make prosthetic limb molds for the needy. Between donating her physical form to charity and reading to underprivileged children, I mused, it's no wonder she forgot her pants.

Look down. The pants you have on might actually be leggings if you can: 1) count the wrinkles on your knee or, 2) they're made out of Lycra, Spandex, or nylon.

The purpose of pants is to hide our nakedness. Leggings as pants fail to achieve this objective as much as dipping one's naked body in paint would also fall short of an appropriate covering. Although your skin may be sheathed, we're seeing quite a bit of you.

Somewhere far away in a mansion with marble floors, a beret-wearing fashion designer who looks like much like Alladin's Jafar, is snickering into a glass of rare wine. They told him it wasn't possible; his leggings as pants idea would fall flat, women would never subject themselves to such level of ogling. Jafar was right. Women may have the vote but what we really want is sexual/curious attention from strangers.

But they're comfortable. So are my pink lounging slippers but somehow I manage to keep them at home. Many people (read: unemployed) find traditional pants to be too stifling for everyday wear. In that case, I suggest a more fitted version of the sweat pant known as yoga pants. These coverings provide the comfort of leggings and allow your skin to do something a synthetic second skin doesn't: breathe.

Every morning mothers around the world solemnly explain to their 2-year-olds why wearing pants- and keeping them on throughout the day- is not optional. Twenty-somethings, let's prove to the rest of society that we can be taken seriously. Instead of thinking "What would Tyra do?" as you choose an outfit, ask yourself if Michelle Obama could be considered a respectable First Lady to the antichrist (see how stupid that sounds?) if she dressed like an urban ballerina. Let's make positive choices. Let's wear pants.

Tights and thick nylons are very cute paired with skirts and dresses. In cold climates, they're a lifesaver layered under pants. Underclothes = leggings, bras, panties. Outer-clothes = pants, shirts, blouses, sweaters.

Unless you're 6. Or on a ski slope.