There are a lot of fashion leggings in existence right now. What are “fashion leggings,” you ask? They’re leggings that you can wear to the gym, but also to dinner with family, a night on the town with friends and maybe even to a Giambattista Valli show, given the designer’s newfound affinity for Nike.
Yes, leggings, those seemingly innocuous spandex bottoms that have found themselves banned from an Evanston, Illinois middle school and at the center of a United Airlines controversy, have been fully embraced by the fashion set — and not just for purposes of travel. Even Karl Lagerfeld, denouncer of sweatpants, showed kneecap leggings — albeit sequin-embellished ones — at Chanel’s 2016 Metiers d’Art show. Stateside, style soothsayer Kim Kardashian has a new go-to uniform: some form of barely-there top, coordinating leggings (capri or full length; velvet, glitter or matte, depending on her mood) and (again, if it suits her) a longline, strong-shouldered blazer of the four-figure, hard-to-find, vintage variety.
And Giambattista, Karl and Kim aren’t the only ones championing the leggings-as-pants trend. Over the past few seasons, various designers, stylish celebrities and industry insiders have made the case for putting our off-duty leggings to work, welcoming the body-con bottoms into the ever-growing athleisure fold. Generally speaking, the chicest outfits with leggings play with proportion and lean heavily on accessories. (When tight-fitting bottoms are involved, a voluminous or well-structured top is needed to balance things out.) See what we mean in the slideshow above, bench your suffocating high-waist denim, take your leggings to the streets.