COLUMBIA — Considering all the events of this year, and even in this week (Hello, attempted-to-blow-up-airplane-and-failed terrorist guy), it is a sad statement that the status of tights as pants in today’s sartorial climate must even be considered. And yet, here I am, dedicating an entire column to the subject.
I feel that I should blame the hot mess on Lindsay Lohan for pushing the pro-tights-as-pants agenda onto an unsophisticated public filled with young girls who don’t remember the early '90s. But Ms. Lohan has had enough trouble lately, so we must not point fingers. We, as a fashion- and image-conscious society, must take responsibility for our own actions.
I would like to be very clear: Tights are not pants. Those $10 black leggings found at Target are not pants. Lace footless tights are not pants. Jeggings (a combination of jeans and leggings, which also made it onto the New York Times list of 2009 buzzwords) are not pants. If the potential NotPants could be worn while playing Mercutio in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the NotPants are really not pants.
The Web site tightsarenotpants.com (which also has a press kit to spread the Gospel of Tights are not Pants) is dedicated to fighting the plague of NotPants. “Tights as pants leave nothing to the imagination. Tights as pants are the fashion equivalent of Too Much Information,” the manifesto says. “This gratuitous divulgence of assets repels where the tights-as-pants wearer presumably hopes to entice.”
As such, tights and other suspect leg coverings should not be worn without proper coverage. They cannot be worn with normal tops, because they do not qualify as pants. If you can’t wear the top without pants, you can’t wear it with just tights. You need to put on a skirt or, gee, I dunno, some real pants. Maybe even some trousers.
For example: Wear your tights under a dress that you could wear without tights and not be arrested for indecent exposure. They’re very functional for keeping legs warm in winter and hiding a shaving lapse.
Not to mention, except on the most perfect of female forms (read: no one), tights are just not flattering. They emphasize a woman’s shape in all the very wrong places. There is no figure forgiveness. There is an extremely high risk of VPN (visible panty line), and even higher risk of VW (visible wedgies). These are all things to be avoided.
Tights are even admissible as leg coverings in sport, or dance, and maybe (and I do mean maybe) even worn ironically to an '80s party. I wear tights to go jogging. They’re very practical for winter. And, I wear my leggings as pajamas. I get it, really: Leggings and tights are comfortable. They’re stretchy and soft and not constricting at all.
But, under no circumstances are they ever to be considered and worn as pants. Because they are not pants.
Erin K. O'Neill is a former assistant director of photography and page designer for the Missourian. She is also a master's degree candidate at the Missouri School of Journalism.