I don’t remember what specific combo of frustration and busyness led me to wear leggings to the office one day recently, but I do remember it felt magical. With nothing but a stretchy band and Nulu(™) fabric holding me in, I felt freer, like I was dancing through my duties, rather than trudging through them encased in polyester and wool. My computer seemed to run more quickly; my sources were more responsive; the PR people were less angry.

Normally, I only wear leggings in the culturally appropriate setting of Clarendon, the Washington, D.C., suburb where I live. Whenever I see adult humans out and about, they are wearing leggings. Their sweat has been wicked away. Their barre-weary haunches have been compressed by elite performance mesh. Leisurely, but athletic: This is how Clarendonians live.

Work is another story. Most everyone at my office is nicely dressed, from the occasional TV-ready suit-wearer to our fashion-conscious female editors. Occasionally, some mayor or other VIP stops by. Leggings are not part of this world. In fact, when I told my colleagues I was working on this article, several of them came to my desk, in their traditional slacks, and registered their complaints. “Tights are not pants,” people told me.