When leggings (whose fashion history dates back to the '60s) made their most recent comeback about a decade ago, everyone and anyone shamelessly wore the skin-tight piece with overzealous abandon. Much to our chagrin, some were even worn with blatant disregard to opacity, outside the gym, and in lieu of traditional bottoms—an alarming and widespread practice that went on to launch a nationwide debate on whether leggings should be worn solo.
Since then, thanks to the sheer volume of legging dos and don'ts that materialized soon after, they have been universally accepted as a layering tool rather than a standalone piece. Black matte opaque ones are typically preferred, and they're to be worn under tunics, dresses, skirts, and generally any piece long enough to cover the derrière. The fashion world was at peace—or so we thought.
Leave it to today's It girls to shake things up. When Kendall Jenner first stepped out wearing leggings as pants about three weeks ago, we brushed it off as an oversight, as a one-time mistake that any young, naive 19-year-old model could make (pictured, top left). A week later, she wore a leather pair and purposefully styled them with a half-tucked top and a fringed leather jacket (right). And it's not limited to street style—recently, she has carried her new fashion habit over to her jet-setting style, wearing the second-skin piece with nothing else but a Yeezus sweatshirt.
And now, her BFF Gigi Hadid has taken note and adopted the trend. She's worn her zip-up Blue Life Fit leggings ($175; shopplanetblue.com) on three separate occasions—once to the gym (understandable), once styled with a white crop top, sneaks, and a preppy sweater draped over her shoulders (above, left), and once on a night out with just a black top, a moto jacket and booties (above, right).
Though not a runway model, Kim Kardashian, too, has been a proponent (or victim?) of this polarizing phenomenon. She donned a Kanye West X Adidas Originals design for her hubby's debut New York Fashion Week fashion show earlier this year, which consisted of a sheer bodysuit. Ok, so not technically leggings, but the idea is one and the same. More recently, she stepped out with Nori in tow and showed off her best assets in just black leggings, a graphic tee, and a moto jacket.
Admittedly, only models—and Kim K—can really pull a look like this off, but these instances do have us wondering whether this signifies the beginning of a leggings resurgence, or if it's just among the model set. But even if you can wear it, should you? And, more importantly, can this fashion don't be turned into a fashion do that everyone can get behind? We guess, only time will tell.