Fashion Police Ruling: Leggings are not pants, and neither are tights

leggings are not pants

Leggings are not pants: American Apparel

As regular readers will know, our “Leggings Are Not Pants” ruling has been in effect for quite some time now. When even American Apparel take it upon themselves to sew warnings into the waistbands of their clothes, advising their customers that what they’re buying is NOT PANTS, it seems clear that the message just isn’t getting through. For the benefit of those just joining us, then…

Leggings are fine.

Leggings are good. But leggings ARE NOT PANTS. This means that leggings should only ever be worn with long tops – and when we say “long” we mean “if it doesn’t cover your butt, even if you bend over and touch your toes, it’s too short.”

These long tops, however, are not without their own risks, and lately The Fashion Police have been disturbed to notice a frightening new trend: TIGHTS AS PANTS. It would seem the logic has been that if it’s OK to wear leggings as long as your butt’s covered, then, why, it must ALSO be OK to wear tights under similar conditions. So it is that over the past few weeks, we’ve witnessed  women walking around in public wearing nothing more than a pair of tights and a top of some description: some of which cover the butt area, but most of which only just skim it.

leggings are not pants


Readers, this is WRONG. God knows, the leggings are only barely decent as it is, but at least most of them are totally opaque. Tights, though? Not all tights are completely opaque. Even opaque tights tend to be a little bit see-through when stretched, and most of the people we’ve seen committing the “tights-as-pants” crime have only been clad in 40 or 50 denier, making them look, not “edgy” and “fashionable” as they presumably think, but like they just plain forgot their pants.

We know from the reports we’ve received from readers and friends that we’re not alone in having witnessed this atrocity, so we’re begging you all: please, WEAR PANTS. Or skirts. Or a dress. Just wear something that prevents us from having to see your underwear when we have the misfortune to be walking behind you. We’re starting to run low on eyeball bleach, so in a bid to explain WHY we’ve made this “leggings are not pants” ruling, we’ve prepared the diagram below, which we hope will be of help:

leggings are not pants

Remember: LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS. Got it? Good.


  • January 7, 2010


    I couldn’t agree more! I love leggings but only wear them with dresses or long shirts.
    .-= Linda´s last blog ..NYC New York Color Light Beam gloss – light up your lips! =-.

  • January 7, 2010


    Amen, Captain! :)

  • January 7, 2010

    Rock Hyrax

    I’d suggest a rule of thumb (if it has feet don’t treat it as a pair of leggings) but that wouldn’t stop the footless tights from being misused in this way – in fact someone will ultimately combine “leggings = trousers” with “[footless] tights = leggings” and we’ll end up with a new look: sheggings.

  • January 8, 2010


    The seated girl looks like she’s wearing a turtlenecked leotard with the tights, which is a fine look for the dance studio, but not the street.

  • January 8, 2010


    I cannot agree more.
    Gah… The image of a girl wearing tights (and they weren’t opaque) with a t-shirt still haunts me. If this is the new trend, then people, bloody wear leggings, because…tights? They cling to much to the body. And I end up seeing more than I’d like to. Not that I’d like to see their body… but it’s just like a car crash. It’s horrible yet you can’t look away.
    I feel like a part of me dies whenever I see someone wearing tights or leggings as pants. It’s amazing how much women are obsessed with showing off their curves. I mean, what the heck are skinny jeans for?
    PLEASE, WOMEN OF THE WORLD, STOP WEARING FOOTLESS TIGHTS AS PANTS. It’s disturbing to see women’s butts jiggling way too much inside of them, and I don’t want to know exactly where your crotches are. Cover yourselves up, dangit.

  • January 8, 2010


    Just the other day I found myself explaining the difference between leggings and tights to a coworker… and I’m a costume and fashion designer! No one should have to explain that to a grown woman.

    (p.s. love your site!!)

  • January 8, 2010

    All Women Stalker

    I have to admit. I’ve committed the tights violation. BUT! I was wearing a dress top. So I won’t go too hard on myself. =p

  • January 8, 2010


    The other day a saw someone wearing tights with a not-long-enough plaid shirt and when she bent over (only slightly) her shamrock-print knickers were clearly visible through her not-quite-opaque-enough tights. Painful doesn’t even begin to cover it.

  • January 8, 2010


    Well said! I so want to take out an advert on a billboard or something, broadcasting that rule.
    .-= Fi´s last blog ..Outfit: Cold Comfort Farm =-.

  • January 8, 2010



    It’s an entire campaign regarding the law you’ve just made here, FP: You are not alone!


    • January 10, 2010

      Lala Lu

      Saw it, kinda cool. :)
      .-= Lala Lu´s last blog ..Today I’m listening to…… =-.

  • January 9, 2010


    Why would anyone care enough to create this article. If someone wants to dress foolishly, let them. Have fun and talk behind their back too!

    I hate the new style of not wearing hose/tights at all with skirts. Bare legs and high heals look ridiculous to me. I really think that skirts have lost their flare since girls stopped wearing leg wear with them.

    Tights are sexy when properly worn! Bare legs are boring. And fake tans and tattoos look more ridiculous.

    A leg man’s opinion.

    • January 9, 2010

      The Fashion Police

      Why did you care enough to write this comment? Or to read this blog in the first place? Why do you care enough about bare legs to want to tell people your opinion on them? Seriously, I don’t think you’ve really grasped the concept of blogs, Binky – or of the internet in general. No one is actually trying to stop people wearing what they like here – it’s just a place to discuss fashion, which is something the people here are interested in. And given that the site is called “The Fashion Police” I’m not really sure why you’re bothering to read and comment on it if you don’t think these things should be talked about.

      And just FYI, not all women dress to please men, or care about what men find “sexy”.

    • January 10, 2010

      Lala Lu

      Some of us don’t care about what you think, did you ever consider that? Have you ever worn tights, hm? I don’t think you know how uncomfortable hose is. So shut your mouth because we don’t care about what a “man’s opinion” is.
      .-= Lala Lu´s last blog ..Today I’m listening to…… =-.

      • October 23, 2010


        hey lala i am a straight crossdresser and i love leggings and hose they are comfortable to me but i agree on the topic at hand it does look tacky if u have on a shirt that doesnt go below the waistline i only where mines with dresses and cute long shirt but i agree with the disscussion leggings are not pants thank u ladies for allowing a man who and understands and respects fashion i would love to post pics and yall tell me yea or neh (non nude ofcourse)

      • November 20, 2010


        Um, things posted on the web where anyone can see/comment on, should be open to opinion (however silly) without someone being told to shut up because their comment is somehow invalid. Sheesh.

    • November 15, 2010


      The only man I am to please is my own! I think wearing leggings or tights as pants is disgusting but I personally like wearing leggings under a tube dress (that covers my butt) while my man loves my legs and has asked me to go bare legged on more than one occasion.

      90% of what I wear is because I like it and its comfertable to me not to impress my man.

      *yes I’m a girl

      • November 15, 2010

        The Fashion Police

        I think many women are the same – or the ones I know are, anyway. That’s why I get so tired of all the men who come on here and leave comments saying, “If you girls only knew how much we love the sight of you in things like this, you’d be wearing the hideous clothes we like aaaalll the time”, as if women are a collection of simple-minded idiots who only exist to please men.

        And the clothes men leave these comments on are invariably just anything that’s very tight/low-cut/revealling – like we couldn’t gave guessed that!

  • January 10, 2010

    Lala Lu

    lol. I did that when i was 5 and mommy let me dress myself!! Was I the only one?

  • January 14, 2010


    This looks like a pic from American Apparel… I wouldn’t be surprised.

  • March 21, 2010


    A girl in my med school class wore leggings as pants to a bar night. she chose to ride the mechanical bull, the centerpiece of the bar, which is very well lit. everyone could see her lacy red thong underwear through her leggings, it was disgusting. I have serious concerns for the future of medicine

  • April 24, 2010

    John Mikel

    I’m from Montreal Quebec, and all I see these days are girls between the age of 12 to 25 wearing black opaque or shiny tights as pants. For one thing this is a very growing trend among young girls. It really tends to leave nothing to the imagination, because it’s so form fitting. I think girls, especially skinny young girls tend to wear this because it’s just way more flattering to wear because they fill them out much better than jeans.