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A Treatise on Leggings

Arts & Culture | April 7, 2010

Fellow Jumbos, we need to talk. There’s a growing epidemic on campus, and I want to bring it to your awareness so that you can take the appropriate measures to protect yourself. This disease is particularly dangerous because it is easily mistaken for its innocuous cousin. That’s right. I’m talking about leggings masquerading as pants.

Tufts is clearly full of smart, interesting people, and it is time that we started dressing the part. I think we need to establish some boundaries for what’s appropriate to wear in public and what should stay hidden away in the safety of your dorm room. Now, I have nothing against leggings themselves. They can be very helpful layering tools or can add an interesting edge to an outfit. However, let’s not forget that leggings are basically footless tights.

Would you wear tights as pants?  Probably not. So why are leggings becoming an acceptable alternative to pants? Pants are constructed from a thick, durable fabric that skims over all of your business. Leggings are made out of extremely thin, often sheer fabric, that reveals more than it hides, and trust me, as I’m hiking up to Olin, I do not need to become that familiar with your lady parts. If I can see your panty line or if there’s some camel-toe action, it’s probably not okay to wear in public.

I know that the line between acceptable and indecent use of leggings can be blurry, so I’ve come up with a few general guidelines to help everyone avoid public exposure. After all, NQR only comes one day a year, and if your private bits are on display every other day it’s just not as special anymore.

Now, the rules are very simple.  In fact, there are only three of them.

1. If you are wearing leggings, you need to wear something that covers your butt with an inch or two to spare. That’s it. Why does your booty need to be covered? Well, when you’re wearing leggings and your butt isn’t covered, everyone can see all the details of your behind. Don’t believe me? Check yourself out in a mirror next time before heading out and ask if that’s appropriate to wear in an environment where your 60-year-old chemistry professor hangs out. It’s basically the equivalent of wearing a bikini bottom out in public, because that’s about how much leggings hide. So, throw on a long button-up shirt or an oversized cardigan, or even a tunic. You get all the comfort of leggings with the added advantage of being able to run into said professor without feeling insanely awkward.

2. When wearing leggings, make sure that they’re actually opaque and not ripped or covered in cutouts. I know it sounds silly, but you’re already kind of pushing the line of good taste by pretending that leggings are pants. It’s socially acceptable now, but when you add in sheer leggings, leggings with cutouts, leggings that are full with rips and tears, you start going beyond that line. Sheer leggings are pretty much the same thing as tights without feet. Would you wear sheer tights and a slightly oversized t-shirt out in public? That’s a trick question. The answer should be no.  The same goes for leggings that show extra skin. Those leggings are already hugging all your curves, including some that should stay private. When you show even more skin on top of that, you start heading towards a dangerous, Pretty Woman sort of place.  Julia Roberts can pull that look off, but the rest of us should leave that to the movies. As my grandma would say, it’s better to leave something to the imagination.

3. Never, ever wear leggings with Uggs. I know, it sounds amazingly comfy. But, leggings are inherently extremely casual, and though when they’re styled correctly they can be worn in place of pants, when you pair them with something else as casual as Uggs, it doesn’t work.  Uggs are a necessity for Boston weather, I understand, but I think we can all agree that they’re only appropriate for when it’s in the 40’s or below outside. When it’s less than 40 degrees outside, why would you be wearing leggings? It just doesn’t make sense

4. Exceptions to Rule #1: That’s right, there’s an exception. I’m not that unrealistic. You can wear leggings with a regular shirt when, and only when, you’re heading over to Gantcher or the track for a workout. Leggings at the gym are totally acceptable as long as they follow Rule #2. Wearing sheer leggings or leggings with cutouts to the gym is just impractical.

If you can get into Tufts, I’m pretty sure you can handle those three rules. I know I might sound like a crazy leggings tyrant, but I think that, as a campus, we can step it up. A lot. Why not look as awesome as we are?