By Jennifer Craven
Attention, ladies: I’m all about this Marie Kondo purging and organizing method. But there’s one thing that she won’t touch in our wardrobes—the legging stash. Yes, it is completely necessary and customary for women to hoard these beautifully stretchy wonders. Much to the confusion of perplexed men everywhere, each and every pair holds a very specific purpose. So let me give you the rundown.
The thin ones: Who can resist a pair of $4 leggings? Not you. So you bought a three-pack for less money than your morning coffee and muffin from Starbucks, thinking that they would actually be quality grade pants. But they’re not.
The thick ones: These are the leggings that give you a little extra support and feel a little heavier, which is nice for cooler days…and for times when you want to make sure nothing shows through. The thick ones are also your office-appropriate go-to for casual work days.
The ones that are so worn, but oh-so-comfy: They’re pilled, the knees are thin, there’s a hole in the seam, but they’re the most comfortable pair you own because of the gazillion times you’ve worn them. Saturday mornings have never felt so good.
The black ones (x10): Owning just one pair of black leggings is laughable. Haven’t you ever heard of laundry? When one is being washed, what are you supposed to wear? Certainly not one of the 25 other options you own. Several backups in basic black are a necessity.
The high-waisted ones: Two words: Tummy. Control. Enough said.
The sexy ones: These are the ones you bought from a Facebook ad where the 21-year-old model had the body of a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Who cares if you’re not going to be strutting the runway anytime soon, because wearing these gives you a little sass in your step. They’re also a favorite of husbands worldwide.
The wild print ones: You felt bad for your high school acquaintance trying to make a dime as a new legging consultant, so you bought a pair with palm trees and neon lightning bolts. They’re loud AF and match virtually nothing in your wardrobe.
The sporty ones: With a spandex content of 15+ percent, these puppies make your ass look like J.Lo (ok, maybe just one of her backup dancers). They might be sporting a top athletic logo, or maybe a knockoff version, but either way they make you feel like you could go for a run (to the mailbox) or kick butt at Crossfit—even if you never leave the couch.
The ones for when you lose weight: They’re holding a nice little spot in your drawer as your “goal leggings”—the ones you’re planning to rock when you hit that target weight.
The ones for when you gain weight: They’re your “fat leggings” for when you know you’ve put on a couple pounds. They make their annual appearance from Thanksgiving through New Years.
The cotton ones: There’s nothing softer than cotton, and even though they stretch out a bit at the knees, they’re too comfy not to wear. Plus they’re the perfect layering piece under sweater dresses or tunics.
The ones in the trendy color: You know, that time you told yourself you were going to give black a break and “try something new,” but actually never wore them and continued to wear a string of dark neutrals every day. Whoops.
The maternity ones: Yeah, so you haven’t been pregnant in nearly a decade, but those over-the-belly leggings still fit like a well-loved glove. Perfect for bloated days.
The ones with the pockets: Probably one of your athletic pairs that you wear when you’re not being athletic, the ones with the pockets make you feel like you’re young and trendy…and c’mon, you need a place to put your phone during all those burpees you’re (not) doing.
The ones with the flattering seam lines: Whoever designed these leggings deserves a medal for making your legs and tush look about 3 sizes smaller than they really are. Between strategic color blocking and seams that create just the right optical curves, these are the ones you wear when you know you might *casually* run into someone.
The cropped ones: Ankle length, mid-calf, capri…a woman needs variety! And let’s face it, leggings are a year-round essential, so why not be prepared for all weather conditions?
The fleece-lined ones: Speaking of weather, there’s no way on God’s green Earth that you’re giving up your most comfortable “pants” just because it’s a polar vortex and there’s a foot of snow on the ground. That’s where your fleece-lined ones come in. Toasty.
The non-black neutral ones: Even a die-hard black legging lover needs a change of pace, which is why—thank God—you have heather gray to switch it up. When you put these ones on, you feel a little sassy, like you’re being bold in a subtle way.
The crazy expensive ones: That one time you gave in to the pressure of the must-have hot leggings that cost an arm and a leg, and dammit if the hype wasn’t true. They’re freaking amazing, but you can only afford one pair.
The “going out” ones: These are your “dressy” leggings, for occasions such as girls nights or even a special date. They’re likely sparkly, faux leather, stirrups, or have some other detailing to kick up the notch from your basic alternatives.
The ones with the stains: You wear these ones for DIY projects, home makeovers, baking marathons, or as a new mom with a baby who projectile vomits on the daily. No sense ruining a good pair, so these stick around…forever.
The ones that make you nostalgic: Maybe it’s your alma mater printed across the rear (oh, college days), or some other tie to the past that makes you feel young at heart. Whatever the sentimental reason, these leggings will never leave your possession.
You see? You really do need all those leggings in your drawer(s). They do spark joy, and we’re not hearing otherwise.
About the Author
Jennifer is a mom to three young children who enjoy leaving socks around the house and dropping goldfish on the floor. Her work can be found at The Washington Post, Scary Mommy, Her View From Home, Motherly, and Huffington Post.