Yoga pants. If you're in North America, you probably know what I'm talking about. If you live elsewhere in the world, you might not. Sometimes they're also known as lounge pants, though yoga pants make them sound so much more active and sporty.
How would I describe them? Maybe like this: stretchy, breathable fabric, comfortable waistband, form-fitting around the thighs and flared at the bottom.
Where I live, just outside Vancouver on Canada's west coast, yoga pants are everywhere: almost every woman I know and pass on the street seems to be wearing them: to the mall, to the coffee shop, to the playground, to the grocery store. Some supposedly fashion-conscious people judge this popular item of clothing rather harshly, saying that yoga pants are too revealing (hugging every hip- and thigh-curve), too casual, or just too unflattering in general to wear outside the house (or outside the yoga-studio).
That said, what really matters to me is that yoga pants are so very, very comfortable. And on a long flight comfort means a lot, making yoga pants pretty much the perfect pants for long-haul flights. They won't squeeze or pinch your stomach, and they won't squash the veins in your midriff and legs when you sit for extended periods of time. The wide, elastic waist-band makes them easy to wear and removes the need for belts. (Belts are a big no-no on flights in my opinion, since they are both tight when you sit down and can set off metal detectors.)
The wide leg below the knee makes them easier to wear than leggings (and yes, I'm one of those women who subscribe to the "leggings are not pants!" belief), and if you get them in black or another dark colour, any stains or spills will not be very visible (and will usually come off rather easily).
Last year was the first year when I traveled on our annual Canada-to-Sweden trek wearing yoga pants. It was a black pair of capri-style yoga pants I had bought at Costco and I became an instant fan: I will be flying in my yoga pants every long-haul flight. While I still love my jeans, and confess that regular sweatpants and even leggings do have their place, yoga pants are where it's at for me right now.
- For more tips on how to dress comfortably on a flight, check out my post 8 travel-wear tips for parents.