Perhaps one of the most common wardrobe dilemmas is choosing between jeans or leggings, arguably two of the most popular bottoms today. Because both are comfortable and flattering in their own ways, it’s understandable why it may be challenging to make a choice. If you often encounter this problem, why don’t you shop for denim leggings as a compromise? Better yet, learn more about these two wardrobe essentials so that you can make a better-informed decision.
With that in mind, this piece will give you an overview of the history of jeans and leggings, the pros and cons of wearing each, and when it’s acceptable to use one over the other. Hopefully, all of this information will be enough to reduce your anxiety and stress when choosing the most suitable bottoms for any activity.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Wearing Jeans
In the 1870s, Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss created sturdy pants made of denim that could last even in the harsh environments that miners and laborers often had to work in. After several decades of improvements, the jeans eventually became a symbol of disobedience and rebellion to support gender equality and the rights of the working class.
Today, jeans are no longer only work clothes or symbols of defiance but in-demand fashion staples for the young and old. To help you better understand this type of bottoms, let’s explore the pros and cons of wearing denim jeans:
- They offer unlimited options. Jeans come in a wide variety of styles to fit all sorts of moods and activities. Whether you want to create a longer silhouette and a slimmer waist or accentuate your behind, you will never run out of design, length, and waist options with denim jeans.
- They provide better lower body protection. Denim is a thick and strong fabric that can keep you warm during the cold season. It is also less revealing than leggings, which means you can wear them with cropped tops or short blouses without worrying about showing your curves too much.
- They’re quite durable. Because they are originally designed to withstand rough activities, jeans are sturdy and long-lasting. It will take several years for you to wear out a pair of quality jeans.
- They’re incredibly versatile. Jeans have been a fashion must-have for decades because they’re a great base for creating all sorts of stylish outfits. Pair these bottoms with a professional top and high-heeled shoes and you’re all set for the office, or match them with a cotton sweater and sneakers for a casual and relaxed vibe. Essentially, when it comes to styling denim jeans, your imagination is the limit.
- They’re low-maintenance. One of the best things about denim jeans is the fact that you don’t have to wash them after every wear. Also, cleaning them doesn’t require special detergent or incredibly involved washing techniques. Just throw your jeans into the washer, and you’re good to go.
- They’re not environmentally friendly. The environmental impact of creating jeans is hard to ignore, as the use of dyes in the production process results in the pollution of local waterways. The cotton crop used to create a single pair of denim jeans also requires about 1500 gallons of water to grow. Moreover, metal accessories like buttons and zippers used in pants production are also practically impossible to recycle.
- They can get pricey. Although you can find low-priced jeans online, they are often poor-quality counterfeits of trusted brands. Genuine jeans are often expensive, mainly because of the high-quality fabric used to create them.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Leggings
The first stretchy leggings made their appearance in the late 1950s after the invention of the highly elastic synthetic fabric called Lycra. Since then, leggings grew in popularity until they became a full-blown fashion trend in the 1970s and the succeeding decades. This is all thanks to style icons like Madonna and Cindy Crawford, who were both known for wearing them in their respective signature looks.
After fading from relevance for a couple of years in the early 2000s, leggings are now back and will most likely stay as more and more people prefer to wear them as bottoms for their daily activities. If you’re thinking about wearing leggings all the time, here are some advantages and disadvantages that you should know about:
- They’re comfortable. Leggings are undoubtedly comfortable and feel like a second skin. Unlike jeans that somewhat restrict the movement of your legs, leggings’ stretchy fabric moves with your body. You can bend, stretch, or even do splits without any hindrance.
- They’re very versatile. Leggings, especially those in solid and neutral colors, can be paired with different tops and blazers to create all sorts of looks. For instance, you can wear them with a long button-down shirt and ballet flats for a casual Friday, or don them under a short skirt or dress for a chic vibe.
- They offer plenty of style choices. There’s always a pair of leggings for your needs, as they come in a wide variety of cuts, colors, patterns, and materials. Some even have additional features such as moisture-wicking and temperature control technology to keep you cool and dry during the warmer months of the year or intense physical activities.
- They can be quite revealing. Because leggings cling to your lower body perfectly, they show off your curves more—perhaps a little too much, in some cases. That’s why most style experts suggest that you wear them with long tops, skirts, or dresses to cover up your more sensitive areas.
- They’re rather controversial. Although leggings are undeniably popular as everyday wear, a lot of people are still under the impression that they are undergarments and not pants. As such, you should be ready to receive a few disapproving stares when you go out wearing them in public.
When You Should Choose Leggings over Jeans
Although you can wear leggings to work and on all kinds of occasions, it’s best to choose them over jeans on days when you plan to exercise. Apart from boosting your inner fashionista, the right pair of leggings can also provide better muscle support, complete freedom of movement, and better blood flow so that you can carry out intense physical movements effortlessly.
Leggings are also perfect for relaxing at home, running errands, walking the dog, and attending casual meet-ups. Because of their elastic waistband and ultra-comfy material, wearing a pair of these must-have bottoms is essential for all types of long-distance travel.
When You Should Choose Jeans over Leggings
Just like leggings, jeans are very versatile. As long as you find the right top, shoes, and accessories, you can transform your ordinary jeans into an outfit suitable for different places and events. Nonetheless, if you’re not sure whether to choose jeans over leggings, you may want to consider the occasion and the kind of top you’ll be wearing.
Opt for jeans if the situation requires a look that’s more conservative and socially acceptable. You should also choose jeans over leggings if you’re after better leg protection, especially when it comes to bugs and mosquitos. You may not realize it, but mosquitos can penetrate skin-tight garments and clothing pieces made with spandex. Denim, on the other hand, offers maximum protection because they’re typically made of thicker fabrics.
Moreover, you may want to choose jeans if you plan on wearing a shorter blouse or top that may not go past your waist. This is because lots of leggings are ultra-tight and can accidentally show off your panty lines as a result. Meanwhile, jeans are often made of much thicker fabric that can prevent such embarrassing fashion accidents.
It’s hard to say whether jeans or leggings are the absolute best bottoms for all occasions. As you can see, each one has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. And although there are certainly instances where it would be best to choose one type over the other, the tips above are simply suggestions. At the end of the day, the “better” option will depend on your own needs and what characteristics of your clothing you value the most. After all, what matters most is finding the right bottoms that will make you look and feel good every time you wear them.