In recent years, leggings have become a very popular trend for women. What was once seen as something to only wear underneath short skirts and dresses has now become one of the most popular and comfortable choices for pants! However, some types of clothing just do not pair well with leggings.
In general, leggings should not be worn with things like fancy blouses, crop tops, and other form-fitting shirts. Nowadays, it’s not very trendy to wear leggings under skirts or dresses, either! While sneakers and boots typically pair well, heels and flip flops should be worn sparingly.
To learn more about the do’s and don’ts of wearing leggings, keep reading below.
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Why Choosing What to Wear with Leggings is So Hard
If you wear leggings on a regular basis, you may have struggled with trying to find just the right top or shoes to match them with. You’ve probably gone through nearly everything in your closet, growing more and more frustrated until you finally found something that looks good enough to wear.
The reason it’s so hard to choose what to wear with leggings is that, traditionally, leggings are athleisure apparel. They were originally intended as either an alternative to tights or stockings or something to wear to the gym. Because of their casual origins, it can be challenging to make a professional or semi-formal outfit with leggings look good.
However, there are a couple of ways that wearing leggings can be made easier. You need to make sure they’re appropriately sized, as well as that the length is suitable for the top and shoes you’re wearing.
Choose the Right Size
First, make sure you’re wearing the correct size. As is the case with most clothes made for women, the sizing of leggings can vary widely. Some stores use a traditional small, medium, large, extra-large, and so on approach, while others use their own arbitrary sizing guidelines. If you’re able to, try your leggings on before you buy them to be sure they fit you properly.
The right-sized leggings will be snug, but not tight enough to show any imperfections. They should shape your body but not be tight enough that cellulite or any other lumps and bumps show through.
On the other hand, leggings that are too loose can look sloppy. They should hug your waist nicely, so make sure the pair you choose doesn’t leave any extra room in this area. They should also be snug fitting all along with your leggings and at the bottom, whether this is around your knees, calves, or ankles.
Choose the Right Length
Leggings come in several different lengths, including:
- ¾ length
- Ankle length
Each type is best suited for different occasions and apparel, so choosing the correct length can be key to knowing what to wear.
Full-length leggings extend slightly below your ankles. Because of their length, they’re often a popular choice in the colder months. This makes them an excellent choice to wear with boots, as well as long, flowy tops and tunics.
¾ Length Leggings
These types of leggings have become very popular for women to wear in the spring or fall when the weather is moderate. ¾ length leggings stop at the calf muscle and can shape the legs (especially the lower half) very nicely. They’re popular to work out in but are also appropriate for casual outings.
Ankle Length Leggings
Ankle-length leggings stop at the ankle, making them just slightly shorter than full-length leggings. The advantage over full-length leggings is that you can wear nearly any kind of footwear with ankle-length leggings because there is no bunching at the bottom that can make flats look unattractive.
Knee Length Leggings
As the name suggests, knee-length leggings stop at the knees. Along with ¾ length leggings, knee-length leggings are often referred to as “cropped leggings.” The difference is that these types of leggings are almost always made with workout apparel in mind, so you might have a more challenging time dressing them up.
If you want to go for a semi-formal or professional look, go with full-length, ankle-length, or ¾ length leggings. If you’re looking for more of a casual look, choose ¾ length or knee-length leggings.
What is Comfy to Wear with Leggings?
Before we get into what you should not wear with leggings, let’s discuss some of the most comfortable things you should wear with leggings.
As far as tops go, oversized blouses, cardigans, and jackets are your best options. For shoes, try wearing boots, ankle booties, or sneakers with your leggings. Below, you’ll find some tips on the most comfortable things you can wear with your leggings.
Oversized Shirts and Sweaters
Any oversized top is a great choice to wear with leggings. During the summer months, you can try wearing a large t-shirt. Leggings and an oversized t-shirt are a trendy streetwear combination right now. If you want something more sophisticated, try a flowy, boho-style blouse instead.
When it gets cold out, you’ll probably want to trade in your t-shirts and loose-fitting blouses for a nice, oversized sweater. If you’re wearing solid-colored leggings, try a printed sweater or hoodie. However, if you’re wearing printed leggings, stick with a neutral color such as black or white.
Cardigans and Jackets
While a tight-fitting shirt alone won’t look very good with leggings, you can get away with wearing one if you put a cardigan or jacket over it. Longer is usually better because you want your body to look proportional. Leggings extend the length of your legs, so make sure your torso matches.
The Right Shoes
Many of us struggle to find the right shoes to wear with leggings. In the winter, boots are typically the best. However, if you don’t want to wear a full boot, you can try wearing ankle booties with or without a small heel.
If you’re going for a more casual look, sneakers are always a safe option. Ballet flats and loafers are another safe bet if you’d like to look casual, but not like you’re on the way to the gym!
Do You Wear a Thong with Leggings?
One of the biggest problems women experience while wearing leggings is the dreaded “panty line.” Since leggings are so form-fitting, wearing everyday panties underneath them is typically not recommended.
In most cases, thongs or another kind of “cheeky” underwear are recommended when you’re wearing leggings. This way, you can avoid having your panty line show through your pants. It may even be more comfortable, as wearing a thong can avoid bunching, as well.
Make sure your leggings are thick enough to not show any of your skin underneath. You may also want to choose a higher-waisted pair of leggings if your thong’s band is high to prevent it from sticking out of the top.
What Should You Not Wear with Leggings?
There are a few types of attire that are not very well-suited for wearing with leggings. These include bodysuits, printed tops with printed leggings, tight shirts in general, crop tops, fancy blouses, skirts or dresses, certain types of heels, and flip flops.
8 Things Not to Wear with Leggings
If you’re wondering why it’s not a good idea to wear these things with leggings, below is a more in-depth discussion on why you should avoid them.
Bodysuits have come back into style recently, and many celebrities can be seen wearing them out and about. However, you may have noticed that you rarely see people pair their bodysuits with leggings!
There are a couple of reasons behind this. First, as we’ve discussed, you don’t usually want to pair a tight top with a tight bottom. While bodysuits may cause less bunching than shirts, they will still cause panty lines unless you choose a thong bodysuit. If you do like the look of tightness on both the top and bottom, a jumpsuit is usually a better option.
Printed Tops with Printed Leggings
While printed tops can be worn with solid-colored leggings, you should avoid doing so with printed leggings. Even if the patterns are similar, there will be just too much going on with your outfit for it to look good. Wear a solid color on top if you’re wearing printed leggings.
As mentioned, going tight on tight isn’t usually the best idea. If you wear a tight shirt, whether you tuck it into your leggings or pull it over top of them, it will make your midsection look bigger than it actually is. Any areas of insecurity anywhere on your body will be visible, so it’s typically best to choose a loose-fitting top instead.
One of the advantages of leggings is how long they make your legs look. When you pair them with a crop top, it shrinks your torso and can make you look disproportionate. While crop tops are great for loose-fitting pants and skirts, avoid wearing them with leggings.
Although you can dress leggings up in various ways, they still are, at the end of the day, athleisure clothing. If you’ve ever tried to wear a “going out” style top with leggings, you probably noticed that it just looks a bit off. Choose something flowy or longer instead.
Skirts or Dresses
Traditionally, a lot of people wore leggings under short dresses or skirts. However, this is now considered a very outdated style. Leggings and tights are no longer considered interchangeable, and it will just look like you’re wearing pants under your skirt or dress!
Some Types of Heels
Like fancy blouses, wearing certain types of heels with leggings looks a bit mismatched. Heels are definitely for more formal occasions, and leggings make your outfit look more casual. If you really want or need to wear heels, choose a shorter wedge, pump, or heeled boot.
Flip flops aren’t the worst thing you can wear with your leggings, but they won’t pull your outfit together as well as other types of shoes. Traditional sandals are a better choice than flip flops, and sneakers, loafers, ankle boots, and ballet flats are other safe choices.
It’s safe to say that the legging craze is not going away any time soon! While they are one of the most comfortable, easiest types of pants to put on, many of us have a tough time putting together a good-looking outfit while wearing them. If you need some help, follow the tips listed above! You’ll be dressing your leggings up like a pro in no time.