Over the past year or so, millennials have had to hold on to their fashion choices, white-knuckled and fighting, as Gen-Z have come for them one by one. First, they tried to kill off skinny jeans, leading to a generation-on-generation social media brawl that topped any thus far in the 2020s. And now? They’ve officially taken down their casual counterpart: the legging.
If there’s one thing late 20 and early 30-somethings thought they could rely on, it was slipping on a pair of black leggings with a sweater on a Saturday morning and not needing to wonder if they were making a fashion faux pas. What could be offensive about a classic pair of leggings? Gen-Z and fashion people alike are arguing that it all lies in the hem.
If you’re suspecting that a relic of the early aughts is back, you’d be correct. Flared leggings—or yoga pants, as those of us born before the year 2000 would call them—have officially entered the world of weekend wear once again. The trend has been slowly trickling onto the scene since early 2022 when it was spotted on the likes of Rihanna and Hailey Bieber, and as of late, they’ve been trending on TikTok as the casual pants of the moment.
Before you scoff at the idea of pulling on a pair of yoga pants in the year 2023, take a breath. Is there a place for them in our wardrobes again? The signs are all pointing toward yes. As with all trends that reemerge, 2023’s take on yoga pants has evolved slightly from the ones our moms had to pry from our bodies to wash back in middle school. They no longer feature a band that says “PINK” in block letters across the back, and the hems are slightly tighter—and often even split—to give a more modern feel to the old favorite.
As a sceptic myself, I have to admit that when I recently put on a pair for the first time since 2006, I was reminded how much more flattering they are than my classic leggings. They tricked the eye into thinking my 14-year-old body had a butt (it didn’t), and I was happy to see that the same thing is true now (it still doesn’t). I’ve also found they look better with a wider variety of top options than my classic ones do, as they don’t call for something extra-oversized to balance out proportions and feel like you aren’t naked. The resulting outfit feels a little sportier, a lot more forgiving, and honestly, like a refreshing change after a decade spent wearing plain black leggings.