At a recent gathering of women, I was delighted to hear a stylish young lady proclaim that “Leggings are not pants!” I couldn’t agree more. Leggings are one of the most comfortable things you can wear, but there are ways to wear this go-to wardrobe staple well and ways that they ought not to be worn.
In most cases, I’m not a proponent of fashion rules of any kind, but I do believe in dressing modestly and when it comes to leggings it shouldn’t even have to be said, but please cover your butt and cover your crotch! Even if they are completely opaque, unless you’re wearing them strictly as exercise wear, don’t wear leggings with a short top. Longer tops, tunics and oversized cardigans are the perfect choice. Secondly, for a more flattering look, choose a loose fitting top to offset the narrowness of the legs. A clingy, tight all over look really isn’t becoming.
Personally, I’m not particularly fond of brightly patterned leggings, but if you do like wearing snowflakes, reindeer or other colourful prints on your legs, just go for something simple up top. Here, I’ve paired my only patterned leggings, Safari from cabi, with a top that I bought in Japan several years ago to create a comfy, evening at home look.
The skirt over pants trend is big this season. Growing up in the “olden days” when girls had to wear skirts to school, I remember wearing pants under my dresses on cold winter mornings and taking them off when I got to school. Perhaps that’s why I’ve had trouble adopting this look, but I do like the less bulky alternative of skirt over leggings.
Here, in a photo clearly taken before winter arrived in Alberta, I’ve paired a lightweight pair of leggings with a simple pencil skirt that I’ve had for years and the thrifted black lace top that I first mentioned here.
Wondering what kind of footwear to wear with your leggings? There are plenty of options. For a casual, sporty look try wearing them with a cute pair of sneakers. For a dressier look pair good quality black leggings with something more formal, such as a blazer, and wear them with a dressy pair of sandals, flats or pumps. Leggings worn with an oversized cardigan and knee-high boots is a classic look for fall and winter. A pair of knitted or crocheted boot cuffs, all the rage at the moment, add a bit of polish to the look.
The cardigan I’m wearing here was another thrift store purchase. The t-shirt, from Reitmans, was a gift from a friend, the leggings are from Jockey, and the slouchy black Brash boots are from Payless. I’ve had all these items for at least two or three years, but worn together they create a look that’s right on trend.
It’s a good idea to consider the length of your legs when deciding whether to wear heels or flats with your leggings. If you are short your legs will appear longer if you wear wedges, stilettos or high-heeled boots, but if you’re tall, like I am, flats will also look fine.
Just remember, though, whatever you wear them with, leggings are not pants!