Over the last year the legging fashion has caught on and more and more women have begun wearing fun patterned leggings as everyday leg wear. Multiple companies have sprung up to feed this fad and communities of wearers have cropped up around them, supporting each other and calling for more. More leggings! The patterns you can buy are crazy, fun, cool, classy—no matter your style aesthetic, there’s probably a legging out there that will appeal to you. And that’s cool!
During this time, there’s also been a counter current. People who don’t like women or girls wearing them. People who feel victimized by a sixteen year old in leggings and a t-shirt. People who believe that there are rules about what and where you can wear them. People who think you can’t wear leggings if you’re over a certain weight.
As an early legging adopter I have to tell you – I’ve seen a lot of the hate. The first time was a shocker. A literal shocker. I was at a convention and a pretty, sixteen year old girl attending with her family, happened to wear some awesome leggings. With a big t-shirt over them. The male attendees then went crazy on social media talking about how they felt victimized by this girl and what she was wearing. They were victims here! How dare she be pretty and wear leggings around them?
No, I’m not kidding. I wish I was.
I was…appalled and ticked and proceeded to wear every pair of leggings I owned at that point for the rest of the con. ((I now own enough leggings I could wear a pair a day for a month and probably not double-wear…Yes, I have an addiction.))
Another common set of hateful statements are usually made by people who don’t get the legging fashion anyway. These range from, a) you shouldn’t wear leggings if you’re over a certain size, b) you must always cover your butt and crotch areas, c) leggings are only for morning wear, when no one will see you.
Again, I wish I was kidding.
It all boils down to body shaming. Plain and simple. These rules and feelings of victimizing—body shaming. Those guys who felt persecuted by a girl in leggings? They can’t control their reactions to a pretty girl and therefore she’s to blame. Those women who say you should cover your butt? They don’t like the way their butt looks therefore you can’t show yours.
Yes, I’m probably over-simplifying the reasoning behind it, but almost every reason against why someone like me should not be allowed to wear leggings boils down to: someone out there doesn’t like my body and must therefore make me feel bad about the way I look.
Here’s the bottom line when it comes down to legging wearers:
- Are you comfortable?
- Do you like what you’re wearing?
- Does what you’re wearing make you feel good?
Those are the questions that matter. And I say this as a 200lbs woman with a moderate butt and lumpy curves. I am probably the kind of person the body shaming crowd really does not want to see in them because I do not fit their ideal body image.
What I love about some of the communities that promote legging-wear is the positivity. There’s one company that sells leggings which I think is at the forefront of body acceptance in both their motto and practices. I’ve seen people ask questions in multiple groups about some of these so-called legging rules and be flooded with a show of support and positivity. A lot of the other company cultures are the same way.
We are all different sizes and shapes. Chances are every one of us has something about ourselves we don’t like.
A photo posted by Sidney Bristol (@sidneybristol) on
I can’t lose weight. I spend hours on my walking desk (treadmill with a desk over it), I’ve bought into a lot of health fads, I can calorie count until I’m blue in the face—losing weight is a battle for me and I’ll never be skinny. So why spend my years hating myself? Yes, I know I’m at an unhealthy weight, I’m doing what I can to control that, but why should I hate myself? Actually, I love my shape. It took me ages to find that love. My childhood years were spent being moo’ed at by my parents, mocked by my friends and shunned by guys. It took me to my thirties to find that love, and no one, not a single dang person on this planet, can take that away from me. I like me. I especially like me in leggings. And I hope and wish that every woman out there finds something she feels great in.
For me, I feel great in tank tops. Yeah, my arms are fat, but I love tank tops. I love the way they fit me, I love the way I’m comfortable in them—I love tank tops. And recently I’ve come to love leggings. In part because I no longer have to fight with jeans, if I’m bloated today, the leggings just stretch to accommodate me. If I’ve lost 5-10 pounds, they still fit. Finding clothes to wear every day is no longer an I-hate-myself battle. So screw these silly rules!
What I’m trying to say is, wear what makes you comfortable. If you want to cover your bottom, if that’s what makes YOU feel comfortable—do it. If you’re like me and want to wear a tank top with your leggings—go for it. If you hate leggings, by all means, don’t wear them.
What matters above everything else is, how do you feel about yourself and your body?
Wear something that makes you feel good about you. And if that’s not important to you, that’s totally fine, too! There are no rules, no regulations, no one waiting to stamp your access card at the closet door or at any store that I’ve seen.
The haters are always going to hate, even if you’re perfect, so you do you—and be happy.