Leggings are not trousers

 Originally posted on WIWT in 2011.

Leggings are lots of things, but trousers they are not.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened, but within the last few years ‘someone’ decided leggings were making a comeback. It’s hardly surprising that the explosion in the popularity of leggings can’t be traced back to a particular designer, store or celebrity. Would you really want to admit that, yes, you were the one who inflicted this trend on the nation? That you were the one responsible for giving innocent bystanders a much un-needed insight into their fellow strangers’ cellulite issues? Or, better yet, a close anatomical look at their lady bits as they walk on by? It’s not something to be proud of.

I should point out that I am wearing leggings as I type this. But I’m also wearing a face mask (which, admittedly, I should have washed off 15 minutes ago) and I am bra-less. I am in my home, so it is OKAY. You can do a lot of things in the privacy of your own home and get away with it. I regularly try to push the boundaries with this; the internet is good for giving you ideas. But whilst the majority of us appreciate that the home is a sacred place for wandering about in our knickers and pretending we’re Beyonce, we wouldn’t liven up the commute home by walking around naked from the waist down.

And yet, and yet…my eyes are regularly being tortured by images verging on specialist pornography as women who haven’t got the “leggings are not trousers” memo continue to pound the pavements.

Leggings are not trousers.

I might just say that again, LEGGINGS ARE NOT TROUSERS.

Leggings are basically just 1000 denier tights. (I still don’t understand ‘denier’ so I am exaggerating for effect, but you can see my point). If you would happily go out in just a short top and tights, then by all means go ahead and go out in a short top and leggings. But if you think the thought of wearing tights as trousers is ludicrous, then you may need to rethink your relationship with our elasticised friends.

Far too often I am subjected to seeing every last detail of a woman’s backside (or worse – ‘front side’) because leggings are being worn as if they’re a pair of jeans. It’s not a size issue, leggings are unflattering on 99% of body shapes when seen in motion. This isn’t even a situation where we can say ‘What Would Tyra Do?’, as even Ms Banks has been papped in a pair. Posed cleverly on tippy toes with stomach pulled in and arse pushed out all sexy in the mirror (slutty American Apparel advert styleey) it’s easy to convince yourself that leggings can be sexy, but it is A LIE.

Here’s a typical AA optical illusion mind trick…


(Super hot? Definitely. But I have never once seen this look in real life)

And here’s what leggings look like 99% of the time I see them in the wild…


(Nude leggings are the worst offenders, FYI)

I will fully concede that if you’re going for a laid back casual look, leggings can be a lifesaver under long line tops and mini dresses. But that’s the only example I can think of where it’s ok for an adult to wear them in public. And I certainly can’t think of a situation where capri leggings can ever be justified.  Except perhaps on a dancer, but dancers can also wear tutus and leotards and beaded bras in public – so they’re not the best example of clothing in everyday use.

Working from home most days means that I own more than my fair share of pyjama bottoms, track pants and, of course, leggings. I am the Queen of Elasticated Waistbands. If ‘Elasticated Waistbands’ had their own country, I would be on their stamps. But I know that they’re not for public consumption, especially once they get to the famous ‘see-through on the bum and baggy on the crotch stage’ – i.e their comfiest. I might wear them on WIWT (shameless plug), but I don’t wear them on dates or to business meetings. Why? I’d rather the charming wobbly orange peel effect on my thighs came as a nice surprise once I’m naked, rather than a pre-warning whilst we’re still in the bar. (I should point out that that example applies to dates, I am yet to take my clothes off in a business meeting).

Need another reason to opt for skinny jeans (or ANY other kind of trouser) over leggings? According to world renowned scientific journal the Daily Mail, leggings can even make you fat. Something to do with making your muscles lazy, apparently. And if the Daily Mail says it then it must be true. *Ahem*.

Please can we all agree that leggings are not trouser alternatives? Yes, they’re comfy, but so are duvets draped across shoulders. (A look that I would happily rock on the high street, care to club together and make it a trend?). Leggings have their uses but must be approached with caution. It’s easy to cover your arse if you can’t bear to be rid of them, just COVER YOUR ARSE.


  1. says

    Amen. Leggings are just not trousers. This message needs to be displayed daily to the general public. On a billboard or tube ad perhaps….?

  2. says

    Apart from the ruining of my apertite (the nude legginds – urghh!) a very good, well written point!

    Now…. what about your thoughts on Disco Pants?! I’ve bought a pair and missed the return date but unsure the world needs to see my curves in 3D shine! x

  3. poppyd says

    Haha Beth, I may actually take an ad out on the tube!!!

    Debbie – I am not sure yet on Disco Pants, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to try them and have just bought a pair but not from AA…I’m not sure if they need to be AA to hold you in in all the right places?! But because it seems like a bit of a gamble I bought some similar ones from somewhere else. When they arrive I’ll post a tried and tested! I am hoping I can pull them off, they’re SO sexy x

  4. Bella says

    Completely agree. Leggings are leggings, to be worn under things. End of. Three cheers for Poppy for saying what needs desparately to be said! :)

  5. says

    I have to agree, leggings aren’t trousers. I have worn my super thick topshop leggings that look like jeans a few times with a shorter jumper than I normally would. But these are leggings that in my defence can pass off as those super soft jeans, and will NEVER show my backside!

    I think the culprit we are talking about here are the ones who wear the thin black ones and when they bend over you can see the details of underwear. Those knickers that say “sexy” on the bottom do not look good through you leggings/tights!

    FYI, it took me ages to realise that that woman is wearing nude tights and hasn’t just got nothing on, on the bottom.

  6. Andrea Obrien says

    Lets not forget those that walk around shopping in their sporting leggings. Yes you’ve just done gym. Yes I get that. But really. Are you that Exhausted that you can’t change. Or shower. Just saying.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *