What to wear with leggings: 25 Outfit Ideas & Style Tips

What to wear with leggings - faverie

Are you familiar with leggings? Do you already have a few pairs in your wardrobe? This popular clothing item is comfortable, practical, and versatile. They’ve been around for decades with good reason. 

Leggings can be worn to work at home, out with friends, and so much more. This article is dedicated to the basics of leggings, what to wear with leggings, how you should wear them, and what to be careful of when you’re choosing a new pair of leggings. 

When you’re done reading, you can head to your closet to figure out if you need to do some cleaning out of old leggings and purchase new ones that follow some of our guidelines.

Leggings fundamentals

The 1960s is when leggings became fashionable for dancers and people doing aerobics. In the 70s and 80s, leggings became more popular for everyday wear. Though they disappeared briefly from the fashion world, we’ve seen a dramatic shift back to leggings in recent years. Rightfully so, this is one of the most comfortable, versatile, practical, and affordable clothing items you’ll ever purchase.

This article is dedicated to defining what leggings are, how you dress them up, whether or not they’re appropriate for work, and when you should be wearing them predominantly. If you haven’t yet jumped on the legging bandwagon, we’re confident you’re about to after reading chapter one about leggings in fashion.

What are leggings?

Leggings are a form of pants that have been popular since the 1960s. Their general style is a high-waist pair of pants that have an elastic waist and stretchy fabric overall. Much softer and thinner than a pair of slacks or jeans, leggings are comfortable and cozy no matter where you’re wearing them. 

Leggings are predominantly a woman’s pant option. They are also made for little girls and teens. In basic black or different shades of color, leggings can be matched with so many other articles of clothing.

Back in the 1960s, dancers and exercise enthusiasts were the ones bringing leggings popularity. Leg warmers were often worn over the bottom part of the pant legs. 

Some variations had stirrups at the bottom that hooked under the foot to keep the leggings from riding up on the legs. They’ve changed very minimally over the years, with today’s leggings being very similar to what was popular decades ago.

Current fashion has combined leggings with jeans to create the jegging. Different from skinny jeans, jeggings are usually made of a very stretchy material that resembles denim but is much softer. 

You get the overall vibe of wearing denim, but you’re secretly much more comfortable. You can find leggings in cotton, rayon, polyester, and even a wool mix.

How do you dress up with leggings?

Though leggings originally started out as a very leisurely piece of clothing, women today are dressing leggings up for more formal occasions or even work attire. You need to be a bit careful about how you’re wearing leggings, not to mention the kind that you’re wearing if you plan on using them in a more formal manner. Some leggings can be very thin and see-through, which isn’t appropriate in most situations.

In order to dress up leggings, you’ll want to wear a top that is long. The goal is to show off the fact that you’re wearing leggings from the mid-thigh and downwards but modestly cover up your bottom and hips to some extent. 

You’ve probably seen many women wear leggings paired with a sports bra or workout tank top. This is appropriate for the gym, but it’s a fashion statement that you want to avoid if you’re trying to elevate your look to a more professional level.

Combine a basic pair of black leggings with a long, belted sweater. For your footwear, choose a high pair of leather boots that reach the knee. The leggings resemble a pair of tights or stockings with this look. 

You can also pair your leggings with a dress that reaches the knee. In this scenario, the leggings function similarly to a pair of tights or stockings would.

What to wear with leggings to work?

Planning your outfit for the office should be done very carefully. Your office may very well welcome leggings, but only when they are worn appropriately. Skip your workout leggings and choose a pair that is made from a thick material. 

You can even find leggings made of a twill fabric that look just like a skinny pair of pants. Some leggings even include pockets and grommets on them, making them look very much like work-appropriate pants compared to leisure wear. 

You can dress up this look with a button-down shirt, ballet flats, heels, a cardigan sweater, or a long overcoat. Just make sure that you’re creating a more modest and simpler look when you’re trying to put your best foot forward in the office.

A great outfit for work using leggings would pair together a sleek pair of black leggings, a long, white button-down dress shirt, and a black sweater-knit shawl. Because there is some length on the top of your outfit, your leggings will look appropriate in a business atmosphere. 

For your shoes, consider a pair of black heels, nude heels, a pair of ankle boots, or a pair of ballet flats. Accessories should be kept minimal but grab one of your best handbags to complete the look.

What are the best leggings to buy?

There are some rules to keep in mind when you’re going to the store to buy the best pair of leggings you can find. Regardless of where you want to wear this type of pants, you want your leggings to complement your body type, look appropriate, fit nicely and be comfortable. Let’s take a look at some tips for shopping for leggings.

Make sure they’re not see through

Some of the cheaper legging brands will make pairs of pants that are incredibly thin. To the point that when you bend over or move, people can see through them. There really isn’t a time or place where this is acceptable. So always shop for leggings that are made from a thick material that doesn’t allow light to pass through.

Comfort is important

The leggings that you choose should be ultra-comfortable. Since they’re so form-fitting, you want to make sure that you can move around in them without the waist coming down too much or the legs riding up.

Woman walking looking camera street

A lot of women prefer the high-waist legging style. It provides excellent coverage, holds your tummy in place, and looks very smooth under the rest of your outfit.

Pay attention to your body type

Leggings come in all different shapes and styles. No matter what your body type is, you should be able to find something that will work for you. If you’re curvy, choose a stretchy pair of leggings that have a high waist. 

You’ll also want to pay close attention to the thickness of your leggings in this scenario. If your leggings are stretched tight over your hips and bottom, this is when your pants can become see-through. Skinny females with slender hips can wear a traditional waistline or something that has a lower rise.

What should you not wear with leggings?

While leggings may be very practical and can be dressed both up and down, there are some situations when wearing leggings might not be the most practical option for your outfit. 

For example, the type of leggings that you’re considering might not fit into the situation where you want to wear them. We talked a little bit about how you can wear leggings to work, but you’ll want to avoid athletic-style leggings. This would make your outfit look too unprofessional.

You should also avoid wearing leggings to a very formal affair that requires a dress or business suit. You can dress them up, but they don’t replace professional attire. 

Skip the leggings for weddings, funerals, and important work events where you know that people will be dressed very professionally. You don’t want to look out of place or feel self-conscious about your look.

When and where can you wear leggings?

Leggings can be worn a lot of the time as long as you’re styling them properly. Feel free to throw them on whenever you’re dressing leisurely. They’re really comfortable and convenient for running errands, lounging around the house, taking your kids to school, sitting through a baseball game, or working out in the gym.

If you’re questioning a more formal event and whether or not your leggings would be a good option, think about the different clothing items that you have which would complement the leggings that you have. 

You probably have some great combinations of outfits that would make leggings an appropriate option for wherever you’re going. If you’re really in doubt whether leggings are a good enough choice for somewhere that you’re going, maybe skip them for now and put them on as soon as you get home and want to unwind.

Now that you’re an expert on the basics of what leggings are and how to wear them, we encourage you to keep reading through this article’s chapters to find out more about what you can wear with leggings, how to style them, and so much more. 

You’ll be coming up with your own legging-based outfits in no time. They’re not just for dancers anymore. Leggings are a staple in today’s fashion world.

What to wear with leggings

When you’re looking to create a comfortable yet stylish outfit for staying home, going out, or going to work, start with a basic pair of leggings. This wardrobe staple has been steadily gaining popularity for a number of years now, thanks to its versatility.

This chapter is going to take a look at some of the different outfits that utilize leggings as a starting block. We’re going to talk about a large variety of options to cover all of your bases.

Leggings come in a variety of styles, fits, and colors. For the outfits outlined below, we’ll stick with a more basic pair of leggings. If you want to branch out with your own personal style, feel free to do so with a fun color or print. 

Just make sure that you’re adhering to the different leggings rules that we talked about in the previous chapter (avoid see-through materials, make sure your leggings fit your body type, etc.).

Statement heels + leggings

The great thing about leggings is that they hug your legs very tightly and elongate whatever else you’re wearing. Your ankles and feet are freed up for a great pair of shoes. 

In this case, choose a bold pair of statement heels that show off your style preference and stand out as the focal point of your outfit. You can wear just about any shirt that you want with your leggings, from a ruffled blouse to a t-shirt and cardigan sweater.

Oversized denim jacket + leggings

Leggings pair really well with baggy items on top. Because they’re pretty much the tightest pair of pants you can wear, you want to cover up a little bit on the rest of your body. 

Choose a simple black pair of leggings and combine them with an oversized denim jacket. Underneath the jacket, you can stick with a basic black or white t-shirt or tank top in a bold color. 

As for your shoes, the options are endless. You could wear a simple pair of sandals, boots, or a chunky pair of athletic shoes that makes the entire look very casual and comfortable.

Tunic + leggings

If you’re looking to be adventurous with your legging choice, pick something that has a fun color or print. Over the top, wear a flowing tunic that will extend down past your hips and cover your bottom. 

You should keep your accessories simple and choose a pair of shoes that keep the look basic. A pair of ballet flats is a good choice, and you can even match them to your leggings or tunic if you have a few varieties available.

Ankle boots + leggings

To make your entire outfit look well put together and cohesive, wear a pair of leggings with a pair of ankle boots. The ankle boots don’t extend up so high that you lose the look of your leggings and top. 

However, boots with a little bit of heel on them will really stand out. For your top, you can keep it simple with an oversized button-down shirt. Or choose a tunic or boyfriend sweater.

Sports bra + sneakers + leggings

For an athleisure look, pair a high-waist pair of leggings with a matching sports bra and your most comfortable sneakers. Since this is a relatively simple outfit, consider trying out a pair of patterned or textured leggings. 

This gives a little more style to an otherwise boring look. Depending on where you shop, you may be able to buy a matching workout set that will look really nice together. 

Keep your colors coordinated for a sleek but comfortable look. This isn’t an outfit that requires a lot of prep, and a simple messy bun and no accessories are the way to go.

Faux leather jacket + leggings

Give your look a little bit of edge by wearing a pair of black leggings along with a simple V-neck t-shirt in black or white. Over your t-shirt, layer on a faux leather jacket. You won’t have to spend a ton on the real version, but you’ll get the same effect.

Woman posing leather outfit

If you really want to take this look to the next level, match your jacket to a pair of boots in the same color and style. Layer on some jewelry and head to your favorite club or bar for an evening out.

Turtleneck + flats + leggings

If you’re looking for a simple outfit that is also work-appropriate, start with a pair of leggings in a neutral shade. Ideally, black, navy, or gray are the best options. Over the top of that, put on a turtleneck that has some length to it. 

If you can find one, choose a turtleneck that has an oversized boyfriend sweater appeal. On your feet, ballet flats are the way to go. If you’re missing some color and want something that pops as part of your outfit, choose some flats in a fun color or print.

Over-the-knee boots + leggings

An outfit option that looks really great in the fall and winter combines leggings with over-the-knee boots. High boots look really fun, but they have to be worn with a pair of very tight pants. 

Otherwise, you’ll experience uncomfortable and unsightly bunching inside of your boots and at the top of them. Your leggings should tuck nicely into any over-the-knee boots that you own, and you can pair this look with a variety of shirts. 

Try a basic tank or t-shirt with a long, flowing cardigan sweater over the top. One of those really long sweaters that go all the way down to the knee or even longer. Everyone needs at least one pair of black boots and one pair of brown boots in their closet to mix and match with different looks.

Skirt + leggings

If you want to elevate the look of your leggings for a professional event or to go out on a date, consider wearing a skirt with your leggings. The leggings replace the need for stockings or tights, though they give the same appearance. 

We recommend sticking to a skirt that is knee-length or higher if you’re wearing leggings underneath. Otherwise, the pants will kind of get lost in the entire look. As your shirt, choose a simple blouse or sweater that stays around waist length. 

Skip the flats or heels for this look. Exposing your feet or ankles will look a bit awkward. What you can do is wear this look with some high boots or even ankle boots.

Short dress + leggings

Similar to the look of wearing a skirt with leggings, a short dress will give off the same sense of style. You want something that has some nice coverage on the top to balance the look of having your legs covered. 

Don’t choose a spaghetti strap dress or something with a halter neckline that will show off a lot of skin. This is another look where you’ll want to choose a fuller coverage shoe like a pair of boots.

Sweater + leggings

Woman sitting street hoodie

Get cozy and comfortable at home, or wear this look out to lunch with friends. Pair your favorite leggings with an oversized sweater. Depending on the style of sweater that you’ve chosen (you have a lot of choices here), you can choose from ballet flats, heels, or boots as your footwear.

Long t-shirt + leggings

In warmer weather, when you want to be comfortable but still stylish, wear a pair of high waist leggings with a long, graphic t-shirt. Your shoes can be anything from athletic sneakers to a simple pair of flat sandals. Stick with more comfortable options with this look, and you can skip the accessories for the most part.

Crop top + cardigan + leggings

High waist leggings are great because they provide you with a great deal of coverage, but you can still show a little bit of skin. Combine a pair of them with a crop top. To include a little bit more coverage, throw on an oversized cardigan.

High-waisted leggings + sports bra + hoodie

Give off a super cozy chic vibe with a pair of high-waisted leggings that match an attractive sports bra. You can wear a hoodie over the top of the outfit or simply carry it with you if you’re concerned that you’ll need an extra layer at some point during the day or evening.

Leggings + belted sweater

Similar to the look of leggings with an oversized boyfriend sweater, you can bring your waistline in a little bit by pairing your leggings with a sweater that you can wear a belt over. Some sweaters are even styled with this belted look already on them.

Now that we’ve discussed a large variety of outfits that incorporate leggings into the mix feel free to try these out or come up with your own ideas. You really can’t go wrong with a quality pair of leggings. They match almost any outfit and can be used in a variety of settings. 

Read on to find out more about the right way to wear leggings. We’ll give you some helpful tips that will prevent wardrobe malfunctions and make you look like you had a professional style before you left the house.

How to wear leggings

You have a lot of freedom when it comes to the various clothing items that you can pair with leggings, but there are some tips that we would like to share with you regarding how to wear leggings. There are some things to consider that you may not have thought of, which can make a big difference in your appearance and comfort level.

You might already have a favorite pair of leggings that you often grab when you’re planning your outfit. However, they may be worn out or just not the right fit for your body type. Maybe you’re shopping for your first pair of leggings after reading about how wonderful they are. 

They’re a practical investment for your wardrobe, as long as you know what to look for. From the right fit to the different clothing items that you should avoid wearing with leggings, let’s get started with some helpful tips.

Do wear proper fitting leggings

Leggings are meant to be fitted, but you should pay close attention to how they fit your body specifically. Choose a pair of leggings that fit your body without being stretched too thin. When the fabric of leggings is stretched too far around certain parts of your body, this can make them see-through. 

You should also avoid wearing leggings that are too large. This defeats the purpose of wearing leggings in the first place. They won’t look like leggings at all. If you need some tummy control, choose a pair of leggings that have a high waist design. You won’t have to worry about exposing anything when you bend down or move around.

Do use the right underwear

It’s really important that you have the right underwear on when you’re wearing leggings. You don’t want to wear a full coverage panty because it will show bunchy lines around your buttocks and thighs.

Two women doing yoga

Don’t skip wearing underwear because this could be too revealing if you accidentally wear leggings that are on the thin side and see-through. The best underwear to put on with leggings is a thong. It will provide you with coverage without having too much fabric for your tight leggings.

Do stick to solid colors

Leggings are most commonly found in black, but you can find them in bold colors and prints. Stay away from those really bold patterns like holiday-themed leggings, polka dots, or stripes. There’s just too much going on. 

Even with a slender body type that you want to show off, patterned leggings tend to look a bit tacky. Stock up on black leggings. They’re incredibly practical. You can also opt for basic shades like navy blue, grays, etc.

Do wear long t-shirts or sweaters

Leggings shouldn’t really be worn with anything overly short unless you’re wearing leggings for workout wear. The goal is to balance the look of tight leggings with something much baggier on top. 

Choose a variety of long t-shirts or sweaters that cover the hips and buttocks. You don’t have to choose anything too drastic but focus on a bit of length.

Don’t use see-through leggings

Cheap leggings can be very thin, which makes them see-through when you’re stretching them across your body, bending over, etc. It’s always a good idea to try on a pair of leggings before you buy them to see if they show anything. Feel free to move around in the fitting room to see if you can find any spots on your body that are too revealing.

Don’t wear leggings that are too loose or stretched out

The goal is to find the perfect pair of leggings that aren’t too loose but aren’t too tight either. Your leggings should fit snuggly on your body without being uncomfortable. It’s a good idea to purchase leggings that are true to your normal sizing. But some people prefer to go up a size to allow for ample room.

Don’t wear leggings with holes or loose seams

Leggings tend to wear out quickly because of their stretch-like quality and the fact that they’re often made of simple cotton or polyester fabric. Once your leggings start to develop holes or loose seams, it’s time to toss them. Leggings are generally very affordable to replace. So toss your old ones and purchase new ones when they start to look worn out.

Opt for Quality

Quality is important when you have a vast legging collection. Don’t be afraid to invest in various pairs from reputable brands that produce high-quality products. This will ensure you’re getting a pair that has a great fit, they aren’t see-through, and they’ll last through a number of seasons. The nicer pairs will be appropriate for work or dressy occasions.

Have Separate Leggings for Leisure and Formal Use

Leggings are ultra-comfortable, so you probably have a number of pairs for those days when you just want to lounge around the house. You should keep those pairs separate from the leggings that you wear to work or out with friends.

Woman posing sitting window

Keeping them separate will keep your nice leggings looking fresh and new. You can let those around-the-house leggings look a little more worn before you toss them.

Invest in Multiple Pairs

You’re going to love the look and feel of leggings. Invest in a number of pairs, each with a slightly different style or color. This will give you plenty of options to mix and match depending on where you’re headed for the day.

We hope that these tips regarding how to wear leggings have helped you with your own legging wardrobe. Everybody loves leggings, and it’s likely they’re here to stay. Start buying them for all of your outfit needs. Make sure you follow our rules for the best outfits and styles imaginable.


Have you learned something new about leggings that will change the way that you wear them moving forward? Let us know if the comments below what it is that’s made a difference in your opinion of leggings. 

If you have any questions, let us know. We would be happy to help. Share this post with all of your friends and family members that love leggings just as much as we do. They’re such a great clothing item to invest in (multiple pairs, in fact), as long as you know the specifics of how to select and wear leggings.

1 thought on “What to wear with leggings: 25 Outfit Ideas & Style Tips”

  1. I can’t wait to surprise my sister with that tie-dye mesh legging set for her birthday next week! She’s always been a fashion enthusiast, and this outfit combines her love for tie-dye and comfortable athleisure wear. I just know she’s going to rock it, and it’ll make her day extra special! She’d love to know that it’s crucial to wear the appropriate undergarments when wearing leggings since a full-coverage panty will create bunchy lines around your thighs and buttocks. Thanks a lot.

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