Overcoming my fear of wearing leggings

Overcoming my fear of wearing leggings

I wore leggings to work today for the first time, and it was not just the first time wearing them to work, but the first time wearing them EVER. I know there is some controversy over wearing leggings in public, as pants instead of workout attire, and so forth. I get that, and totally understand it. To some degree, I agree. However, today I wore them with a long sweater (mid-thigh) and black leather boots. Considering up until lately—now that I am trying to step out of my comfort zone—I simply did not think leggings were an option for me. I did not have the long and lean legs that look so fantastic in them. So, I attempted to hide as much as I could when putting together outfits.

The legging issue really became an issue in the past few months, as I started to attend a barbell fitness class at my local gym. My workout attire has always—I mean always—included shorts. Why? They are comfortable, and I feel like my legs can “breathe.” When I, on the rare occasion throughout the years, attended a yoga or Pilates class, I would wear my loose yoga pants to avoid flashing those on the mat behind me (yikes!).

As the expression goes, “all good things must come to an end.” While attending yet another barbell class a couple weeks ago, I realized that my form was terrible during the squat sets. This was something I was forced to address after just a few classes, which is when I figured out that I was squatting in a way to avoid my shorts from hiking up and flashing everyone behind me. Having now overcome my hatred of squats and lunges, giving up the class was not an option. As I looked around the room, as inconspicuously as I could, I noticed I was the only woman wearing shorts, and I now understand why.

This past weekend, I attended another barbell class. This time, in a pair of my loose fitting, mid-calf yoga pants (more like a sweat pant). What I found was that I did not spend as much time thinking about how to not flash the class, but rather was able to focus on the exercises themselves. The only issue I found at this point was that they were too thick and did not let my legs “breathe,” like I prefer, which means the problem as still not solved.

My thought pattern exposed:

…Performing this group class properly and effectively cannot be done in a pair of workout shorts—even the ones with the attached underwear (which I had). They hike up and show far too much of my backside.

…The thicker-style stretch pants are an improvement, but not a permanent solution, at least not for me. But, since almost every woman in the room seems to select these, it must be the better option.

…I have avoided the thinner, fitted leggings because I was afraid they would show too much of my legs, which I have never been much of a fan of.

(Yes, I know this doesn’t make sense since I wear shorts—just one of those insecurities I struggle with—we can discuss in a separate post.)

…I have also avoided the thin fitted leggings out of fear of the dreaded camel toe, which I still have had to deal with even with my looser style stretch pants. Wouldn’t the fitted leggings be worse?

Turns out—they are not. Apparently, the trick is to find the correct fit and brand that works for you. Originally inspired by needing to find a solution to my workout problem, I then became super excited to finally pair my longer sweaters with leggings and leather boots, as I mentioned above. This may sound small to you, but it was huge to me.

I am now a week into wearing my first pair of thin fitted leggings, and I must say that I am IN LOVE! They are awesome—thin and comfortable. My legs can breathe. As I mentioned in the beginning, I wore leggings with a sweater and boots to the office on Monday. Two compliments and one strange look later, I was a bit disappointed I couldn’t wear them the next day (I only have the one pair so far). As soon as my knee heels—and now my wrist—I will attempt them at my next barbell class, but I have no concerns at all.

Now, let’s talk big picture for a moment. This, for me, feels like it has given me a small sliver of liberation and accomplishment, in that I am no longer hiding my legs, which are one of my greatest insecurities. I overcame a fear. I did it, and it felt good. It might not be “leggings” for everyone. Maybe there is something you have wanted to try but keep talking yourself out of. I encourage you to do it. If you don’t like it, then don’t do it again; but you might surprise yourself!

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