Sa'iyda Shabazz standing outside on a winters day with a large pink knitted scarf
Courtesy of Sa'iyda Shabazz

The Leggings That Pulled Me Out Of My Style Rut

by Sa'iyda Shabazz

As an adult, I had a complicated relationship with leggings. I loved that they were easy to wear, but I didn’t love the fact that they exposed my entire body. Every time I wore them, I felt like my butt was showing and everyone was staring at me. For this reason, I never wore them with a short-hemmed shirt or, God forbid, a crop top. I only wore them under tunics and with dresses, if at all.

Yet for the better part of the last few months, I have adopted leggings as a style staple. I've become obsessed with one pair in particular: my beloved LuLaRoe ladybug leggings. They're fun and whimsical, but they're also basic enough that they can be paired with tops in neutral shades. They remind me of the kind of clothing I wore before I became a mom, the person who always loved bright colors and fun patterns.

Facebook / LulaRoe Fashion Fix

Before my pregnancy, I didn't wear leggings very often. But I started wearing them again during my pregnancy, because it meant I didn’t need to buy new maternity pants. Leggings were stretchy and comfortable and weather-appropriate, as my growing stomach made my dresses too short.

By wearing my crazy leggings, I have reclaimed that little piece of my pre-mom self who liked whimsy and fun.

Once I had my son, I wanted to keep wearing leggings. But since the types of tops I was comfortable wearing over leggings weren’t easy for me to nurse in, the leggings were relegated to the back of a drawer. I spent the next three years of my life in jeans, but after a while, I got bored trying to find ways to make my favorite denim feel fresh.

As I started working from home more often, comfort became a big factor in my style. So I went back to my old friends: leggings. When I had to go out, I wanted to look put-together, and when I was home I didn’t want to hang out in my pajamas all the time, so leggings were a perfect middle ground. Then my friend introduced me to LuLaRoe, and I knew I had found my new thing.

Courtesy of Sa'iyda Shabazz

For those who don't know, LuLaRoe exists almost exclusively on Facebook. Independent consultants have a continuously changing inventory, but there are limited amounts of each print or color. The consultant set up groups on Facebook to sell their inventory, so usually buyers shop from multiple consultants to get access to more inventory.

For the most part, I wore plain black leggings during my pregnancy and after I had my son. But the more I began poking around different groups, the more I realized that plain black leggings (and other solid leggings, for that matter), were probably the most coveted piece of clothing on LulaRoe, so the odds weren't high that I would find a pair. I wondered if I should take the plunge and try a pair with some sort of design or pattern.

When you're a mom, it’s easy to feel like your identity has faded away.

The first pair of patterned leggings I got had ladybugs on them and I was IN LOVE. They were absolutely adorable, and I was surprised at how comfortable I felt wearing them. They allowed me to express the whimsy and fun in my fashion sense that I felt like I'd lost following the birth of my son. that I was seeking.

When you're a mom, it’s easy to feel like your identity has faded away. Fashion becomes purely utilitarian; solid colors, basic prints like plaid and stripes, and neutral shades become your uniform. I had gotten stuck in a style rut, and the ladybug leggings pulled me out.

As the months went by, my collection of patterns grew. I became a leggings junkie. My favorite patterns include foxes, sandcastles, milkshakes, unicorns, flamingos, and florals. Collecting leggings has become a bit of a sport.

Facebook / LulaRoe Fashion Fix

At 31, I’m beginning to realize that it’s OK to dress for me and what makes me feel good, as opposed to dressing purely for comfort's sake. Being comfortable doesn't necessarily mean you have to look frumpy, and you can still be stylish and put-together even if you're wearing what some people consider leisure wear. My leggings have reminded me that clothing is more than utilitarian; in fact, it can be a form of self-expression. If that means plastering my ass with ladybugs, then so be it.

By wearing my crazy leggings, I have reclaimed that little piece of my pre-mom self who liked whimsy and fun. I know that by this time next year, I'll probably move on to something new, but I’ll never forget how a pair of ladybug leggings helped me come out of my shell.