How to Wear Leggings - Styled By Sally

How to Wear Leggings

Before I share with you all the correct ways to wear leggings, let me first remind you of a blog I wrote back in June 2011…

There is a little fashion faux-par happening at the moment. I see it on the streets almost every day. I don’t understand it; I never will. It’s generating discussion and debate. There’s a Facebook Page with nearly 400,000 followers and a website naming and shaming the culprits.

I’m talking about the phenomenon called leggings as pants. When did it start? Who said it was OK? Why do women think it’s appropriate? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions but I have my suspicions.

No doubt some young, slim, tight bottomed celebrity was spotted wearing a pair of leggings as pants and consequently others followed. It wouldn’t be the first time a celebrity has started a style obsession (think Kate Moss and skinny jeans) but this time someone has to be held accountable.

Wearing leggings as pants is wrong. Plain wrong. And here’s why.

Leggings are not pants! Leggings are designed as underwear, not outerwear. Leggings are not made of fabric designed to be worn as pants. Leggings are meant to be worn under other things, like under a skirt, under a dress or under a tunic top and long cardigan. Leggings are designed to be worn no differently to a pair of opaques. Would you wear a pair of opaque pantihose with a t-shirt and cropped blazer? I think not.

One of the biggest crimes committed by wearing leggings as pants is the VPL- visible panty line. No one wants to see your underwear under your leggings. And there lies the problem. When you wear leggings as pants, you can’t avoid VPL. Whether it’s a regular brief, or worse a G-string, there’s no hiding it. That’s because leggings won’t hide a VPL. They are made of a stretchy, part elastane, part lycra, part cotton style fabric that is not designed to hold/suck/support the buttocks of any woman. So when you wear leggings are pants, you also choose to let the rest of us see your knickers of choice. And frankly, I’d rather not know thanks.

Leggings worn as pants is the most unflattering thing a woman can wear. Let’s face it, most of us have not been graced with a derriere like Miranda Kerr (not is this any excuse for Ms Kerr to do it either) so why would any woman want to make her bum and thighs look as unflattering as humanly possible? Leggings worn as pants will show any lumps and bumps, any jiggle or sign of cellulite. There’s just not enough support, structure and weight in the fabric because they are NOT pants!

If you want to achieve the look of a long, streamlined silhouette under shorter tops, choose a skinny black jean. Why? Jeans are made of fabric that will flatter your bum and thighs. Jeans will hide your wobbly bits. Jeans can suck you in and slim you out. Jeans are designed to be worn with any length top or jacket. Jeans have pockets on the bum, strategically placed to flatter. Jeans come in different shapes and sizes to compliment your shape. Jeans ARE pants.

Ladies, please spread the word. Leggings are not pants. If you know anyone who is guilty of this hideous fashion faux-par, please sit them down, read them this post, forward this to them. Together we can make a difference.



Taking all the above into account, here are some simple tips and ‘rules’ to follow when wearing leggings.

Consider your body shape-

  • As with any clothing, consider how leggings will enhance your shape. Do you have long legs and slim thighs that look great in something tight? Then a legging probably works for you. Worn under a long jumper that finishes mid-thigh, ankle boots and a chunky scarf, this would look great. Worn under a long shirt or tunic top that finishes well below the bottom with an even longer draped cardigan and a pair of ballet flats, that would work well too.


  • If your legs are not your best asset, if you carry your weight in your hips, bum and thighs, then leggings are going to be more problematic. Ensure you team a legging under a knee length skirt or dress (A-line works best) ensuring the narrowest part of the leg is shown.


  • Always have your leggings (footless) finish at your ankle- not your calf or anywhere near it. You want the eye to be drawn to your narrowest feature- this being the ankle.
  • Don’t allow leggings to bunch at the ankle. This is an easy alteration to get them shortened. A legging is supposed to slim and lengthen the leg line and bunching will do the opposite.
  • The heavier your legs, hips and thighs, the heavier legging you should choose. A thicker fabric will help support and contain your legs and avoid any wobble.

The Rules-

· NEVER allow your bum or crotch to be visible when wearing leggings

· Even if you have the best legs and bum in town, NEVER wear leggings as pants

· DO NOT allow your teenage daughters to wear leggings as pants

· Leggings look best with ballet flats; AVOID ankle straps with footless leggings

· Leggings work well with layers; i.e. draped or waterfall cardigan over tunic dress and boots (think Metalicus style)

¬∑ Leggings are not suitable for everyone. If you don’t feel comfortable in them or you feel exposed, trust your instinct and throw them out.


Leggings finish at the ankle- Sussan


Leggings work well with layers- Nicola Waite


Perfect look for leggings- Metalicus

The simplest way to look your best.

Online Stylist