No to leggings? United Airline dress code isn’t just sexist- it’s unfashionable

With style becoming more casual, rules that target what female faculty wear are woefully out of step in 2017

The news that two young girls werent allowed to board a United Airline flight on Sunday night because they were wearing leggings has got the internet understandably up in arms. As guests of United staff member, the girls were subject to the rules of the company, rather than those for regular customers. These restrictions stress smartness, but are notably vague. A tweet by United was of the view that: Casual attire is allowed as long as it appears neat and is in good taste for the local environment.

Legging it Kylie and Kendall Jenner shopping in New York. Photo: Startraks Photo/ Rex/ Shutterstock

This haziness foliages a lot open to the interpretation of United staff and any gender biases they might have. While United have said their policy in itself isnt sexist, the girls father, who was wearing shorts, was allowed to board without an issue. In some intellects, leggings apparently qualify as casual garb, while shorts do not.

Dress codes that focus on womens clothes, while giving men more of a free rein, are increasingly being called out and rightly so. The United policy looks small potatoes when compared with the much-publicised dress code of the Trump administration. In February, it was revealed that Trump wanted his female staffers to dress like both women and, even if that did involve jeans, the appear needed to be neat and orderly. This prompted a social media backlash, with Twitter users posting images of female soldiers, surgeons and cosmonauts with the hashtag dresslikeawoman. While, judging by recent images of prominent female Trump staffers, including his daughter Ivanka and KellyAnne Conway, garmented neat and orderly, that has had little effect, other campaigns have induced change happen.

After a woman was sent home from her job at the offices of PwC for not wearing high heels, MPs began calling for tougher action over dress code discrimination. This is 2017 after all, people. Other opposes also rumble on. While girls have been allowed to wear trousers at the US Senate since 1993, some girls at primary school still have to wear skirts rather than trousers.

All of this sounds ridiculous from a gender equality point of view but also from a style one. Such dress codes are woefully out of step with what women are actually wearing in the real world. Leggings are comfy for flying, sure, which is probably why these girls chose to wear them, but they are also fashionable. They are now worn by Generation Z idols such as Gigi and Bella Hadid, and Kendall Jenner, on the street, on dates and notably in airports. They are also on the catwalk at Chanel, MaxMara and Balmain. To think of leggings as merely something to exercise in, and therefore intrinsically unsmart, is old-fashioned the equivalent of dial-up internet, or a message without emojis.

Beyonces Ivy Park leggings.

Athleisure the hybrid of exert attire with what you would normally wear on the street is a buzzy term for what young women wear now. And its big business. The marketplace for the sector was estimated at 35bn in the US last year, with brands like Lululemon, Outdoor Voices and Beyonces Ivy Park big marketers. Leggings themselves are tremendously popular orders were up 41% in the US the last half of 2016.

In the 80 s the last time leggings were fashionable their popularity was linked to the rise of the aerobics culture. The rise of athleisure seems to be more of a proper shift. Attire over the past 10 years has undergone a mass casualisation, with dress codes in offices loosening up and lifestyles blurring lines that used to be hard and fast. These days, a cocktail dress is acceptable daywear, while pyjamas are a fashionable option for a party. If garmenting up to go on a flight was once a thing, its not one young girls would likely recognise. The world and what we wear has changed. Those United dress codes need to catch up.

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