If you asked me a year ago I would’ve said, “No, absolutely not.” I know they’ve been all the rage for a while now but I just couldn’t embrace them as anything but an under-layer or athletic wear. On top of that, the world threw jeggings (the love child of jeans and leggings) at me and I just felt hands-down betrayed. How could the fashion industry do this to me? Did they not understand I have kids and a “mom body” to show for it?!!
Funny how lines blur and things change. I now wear jeggings (not jeans) almost every day. And, not only do I love my leggings, they actually pull together many outfits in a way jeans alone just never could. That being said, I still feel like there are rules that need to be followed or at least etiquette to uphold (yes, legging etiquette is a thing).
First off, they must be opaque. No show-through ladies. Now opaque doesn’t have to mean thick, fleece-lined material. But, if there is any hint of skin showing through, they are not pants. Those, we call underwear.
Seems obvious right? Not so much. You’d be surprised at how many women I’ve seen wearing a pair of clearly beloved leggings that need to be retired (beloved meaning they are now thin, overstretched, and displaying skin). Not cute or classy.
Next on the list is how you style or wear them. Use them as visual interest but don’t let them dominate your entire outfit.
Layering is the key. Be sure to wear a top that covers the waist band. They are not jeans, so no tucking your shirt in! Your top should cover most of the rise – the area between the crotch and waistband. I love to throw on a tunic which covers the rise as well as my booty.
At this point, start adding coordinating pieces. If I am wearing an especially busy or bold printed legging, I like to add a longer jacket over my top and maybe some knee-high (or over-the-knee) boots. You don’t see the entire legging and pattern. There is just enough exposed to draw interest and create appeal.
I also think it is vital to take colors from any pattern on the legging and incorporate those colors into the ensemble. I feel it helps balance the look. You could easily achieve this with a scarf, top, jacket, purse…really any accessory with the same pop of color.
Also, please be mindful of prints! There are prints out there that, while cute on their own, can be disastrous on the thighs. Be conscience of how the pattern looks on you. Does it give the illusion of a longer leg and shapely thighs? Or, does it make your legs look squaty and cut off? Using fashion to create optical body illusions is something to be considered.
Lastly, matte is our legging friend. Even runway models can’t rock a shiny legging.
So, are leggings really pants? At this point I would still say no. They have different rules than pants, when wearing them. However, I have definitely changed my mind when it comes to where they can be worn. I no longer think they should be restricted to the gym. In fact, I think they are evolving into wardrobe staples. A great pair of leggings can be life-changing, or at least, allow you to be fashionably comfortable for the day.
Quote to remember: Comfy not frumpy!