Uh… What? : Tights as Pants

Dude, your butt is showing.

How many of us really want to hear that when we walk down the hall in the office building?  Pretty much no one.  We all have dreams about showing up somewhere in public naked, and it never ends well.  So why are we as a fashion society encouraging people to move towards that nightmare?

Working in a high school, I see a lot of trial fashion.  I love that students feel free to try out different trends, patterns, colors, and shoe heights.  I do not, however, love it when ladies waltz into my room not wearing any pants.  Uh, sweetheart, you forgot half of your outfit.  How about something to cover your bum?  I’m not sure when it caught on as the cool thing to do to only wear tights as pants, but I think someone was way off base when they decided to start that trend.


Essentially, it all started with leggings.  I can remember being in grad school in Providence, watching the undergrads walk around with leggings, Uggs, and see-through blouses.  Bestie Al and I would just shake our heads.  How did these girls not know how to get dressed properly with all of the money most of their families had?  It didn’t make sense.  But then it caught on.  It spread like a disease, robbing young ladies of their butt-covering pants and appropriate length skirts and leaving them with skin-tight translucent film over their legs that leaves unsightly underwear lines.  It’s an epidemic, I tell you!


Why, Christina, why?!

From all of the fashion blogs I’ve read and YouTube videos I have watched, it seems like it has progressed from wearing leggings as pants to wearing just tights.  There does seem to be a rule, though, that it’s okay as long as part of your butt is covered by a big sweater or shirt.  If I had tried to walk out of the house wearing something like that when I was in high school, my parents wouldn’t have let me go anywhere.  I would have been missing half of an outfit!  You wouldn’t wear just a long sweater that only covered half of your bottom without tights, would you?  Then what makes wearing it with see-through tights any different?  It’s just a thin layer of fabric, people, not the coverage you seem to think it is!  It doesn’t give extra warmth, coverage, or modesty; it’s just a sad attempt at trying to pass the school dress code.

Also, if you are self-conscious about your body shape, why would you want to highlight some of your problem areas?  Leggings under a dress or skirt is great.  They add some coverage, some layering for added warmth, and they can shape any leg imperfections you think you have.  Take that dress or skirt away, though, and you are just left with a giant panty line and some highlighting of the thigh jiggles.  The only way to get rid of those underwear problems is just to get rid of the underwear, which is not something I want to know about anyway.  As for the jiggling, trust me, I know.  I’ve looked at what my booty looks like when I just wear leggings around the house.  Yes, it may sound hypocritical to say that I am guilty of wearing leggings around the house, but it’s my house, not the public.  B already married me, he knows what my body looks like, and if my booty shakes a little while I vacuum, too bad.  He’s stuck with it for the rest of his life.

So please, people, let’s be honest with ourselves.  Leggings (unless fully lined and opaque) and tights do not qualify as pants.  Please put something else on over them.  Clothing is your friend!  And friends don’t let friends leave the house without pants.


9 thoughts on “Uh… What? : Tights as Pants

  1. AMEN. My sister tried to talk me for months into buying a pair of leggings now that they’re “back in style.” But they just make me feel like I’m in the fourth grade again.

  2. I think nylon spandex leggings do look better as an accessory covered up by a sweater or tunic since they are a thinner, shinier material like hosiery. But cotton spandex leggings, esp. the ribbed, cable knit, and similar thicker fabrics, can function just fine as the statement piece of an outfit with just a jacket, camisole, etc.

    Where I shop, the leggings are always in the same section as the pants, not in the nylons department with pantyhose and tights. At places like Kohls or Wet Seal they are sometimes even on the same racks and shelves as the jeans and tee-shirts. I’ve noticed many teen clothing catalogs even suggest wearing leggings alone as pants or with a longer top.

    The oft stated albeit remarkably trite argument that leggings are not pants is incorrect. Capris pants are technically a style of leggings, and yet they are considered pants. Yoga pants are closely associated with leggings, but with a boot cut, and they are classified as pants. And of course the dictionary definition of “leggings” reveals that they are indeed pants, not an undergarment.

    And when it comes to the pool or the beach, girls don’t even have a choice of non-revealing swimwear. Girls bathing suits are actually expected to be form fitting. So unless we agree that girls swimwear is publicly indecent and inappropriate attire, then I think leggings are here to stay and for good reason 🙂

    • I think your comments are valid, but I don’t think you read my article completely. I’m not against leggings as pants; I wear them as pants myself. I am against wearing tights and super thin leggings as pants. I teach public school, and when you can tell when a student is wearing patterned underwear because their leggings are too sheer, it’s not pretty. Lined leggings and thicker leggings are absolutely fine. See-through pants? No.

  3. The first pic is a woman wearing leggings not tights and they dont look see thru. Whats wrong with Christina wearing that outfit for her appearnce on the David Letterman? Would you expect the NYC Rockettes to wear something different then the costume they are know for if they appeared on Letterman? Ill never understand why entertainers are sudenlly being criticised for the outfits they wear. Are they supposed to dress the same as everyone else? They are entertainers arent they?

    • I understand your point, but I’m not sure you get mine. As a teacher, I see lots of girls wearing these “pants” that are way too see-through for public, and while I believe that people should be allowed to wear and rock the fashion trends they so choose, there is a line of appropriateness. Have corset tops been in? Yes, but that would never fly for a high schooler to wear around school. Outside? Sure, if their parents decided it was alright. My kids aren’t going on Letterman. My kids are still learning what it means to be appropriate in the image they project to the rest of the world. Dressing like everyone else doesn’t have to be final decision, but making sure that you are appropriately dressed is a must.

      Also, as I have said, I am not completely opposed to leggings as pants. They simply must be thick enough to qualify. And really, the Rockettes aren’t trying to pass off tights as pants. It’s a dance costume. Let’s be real.

    • @mark Actually you can tell by the “shine” from her leggings that they are in fact tights in the first pic. And if she were wearing bright underwear we could would be able to see them, especially in person.

      @Erin H or you could wear a thong underneath and avoid panty lines.

  4. Pingback: Feedback, Jack | A Wife of Material

  5. Most people that have issues with these pants are because they can not wear it themselves. A women should be able to express themselves any which way they want with either leggings, yoga pants or these sheer pants you speak of. With that said I do agree that school is not the appropriate place especially with teenagers and their hormones.

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