The Debate Over the United Leggings Ban Just Won’t Die

The Washington Post's fashion critic, Robin Givhan, is hashing the argument out on Twitter

Would you wear leggings on a plane? Getty Images

Ever since United Airlines banned two 10-year-old girls from boarding a plane on March 26, because they were wearing leggings, the fairness of airplane dress codes has been up for debate. Most people, celebs included, seem to think leggings do belong on a plane. That argument extends even for those who are flying on an employee pass, as the two girls were.

“I have flown united before with literally no pants on. Just a top as a dress. Next time I will wear only jeans and a scarf,” tweeted Chrissy Teigen.

Patricia Arquette piped up with: “Leggings are business attire for 10 year olds. Their business is being children.”

“We here at @united are just trying to police the attire of the daughters of our employees! That’s all! Cool, right?” Was Seth Rogen’s response.

“Sure, you can wear leggings on a plane. But please don’t,” was Robin Givhan’s alternative take on the matter. In fact, the fashion critic at The Washington Post used that exact phrase as the title of her March 28 story about the incident. The writer is strongly opposed to idea that a thin layer of stretchy material is a proper replacement for pants and offers plenty of sound evidence to support her stance.

Leggings, comfort or fashion? Getty Images

“Dress not for yourself but for the strangers whose personal space you will be forced to invade,” she wrote, going on to list the injustices we all face at 35,000 feet, including odorous passengers, impossibly cramped seats, postage stamp-sized tray tables, and so on. Glimpsing someone’s barely covered bum, Givhan mused, should not be added to that unbearable list. And it’s not a sexist fight, as she cites many male garments that are on United’s list of inappropriate clothing for travelers who are on an employee pass, including flip-flops, pajamas and visible underwear.

“[D]ressing for an airplane isn’t the same as dressing for Saturday morning errands or Sunday brunch. It’s not the same as dressing for any other public space. It’s tight quarters and a sealed environment, which is why most of us understand it’s horribly rude to freshen up with perfume, cologne or scented lotions on a plane. (What are you trying to do? Asphyxiate your fellow man?),” exclaimed the Pulitzer Prize winner, in this well-rounded argument.

However, the readers of her story (or perhaps just her tweet about it) are not having it.

In return, Givhan is throwing shade right back where it belongs.

However, we think this will settle the argument once and for all.

The Debate Over the United Leggings Ban Just Won’t Die