How to Wear Leggings | Casual Outfit Ideas and Styling Tips

Image of a pair of legs wearing leggings and a pair of winter boots with a dark banner that reads how to style leggings.

Some tips on how to choose leggings and what to wear with leggings for cute casual outfits.

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Leggings are a comfortable and versatile clothing item to have in a closet. Here are some tips for choosing and styling leggings for your favorite outfits.

Leggings are one of the most versatile closet staples. You can dress leggings up or dress them down. They can be great layering pieces for fall and winter, to help keep you warm.

A pair of black leggings is one of the most versatile clothing items that you can own.

Leggings are great, because you can wear them with almost any outfit. Leggings have long been a popular clothing item to wear with casual outfits, but they are being used as part of more dressy outfits. One of the best styling tips for wearing leggings is to style an outfit with leggings as you would style an outfit with pants.

Leggings can also make great clothes for traveling. They are stretchy and easy to pack, and you don’t have to worry as much about wrinkles. Plus, leggings are versatile and they can be used to create a variety of outfits.

How to Wear Leggings—A Few Styling Tips

When it comes to leggings, you can wear them with many styles and in many ways. Here are a few tips on how to wear leggings as part of a casual outfit.

1—Pair leggings with a long top.

Leggings look great paired with long tops. Look for oversized tunics, sweaters, or sweatshirts to complete a look.

2—Choose leggings made with thicker fabric.

Leggings made with thicker fabric tend to look more pant-like like everyday wear. They also tend to look more expensive.

3—Dress in layers.

Dressing in layers can make leggings look more like “real” clothes instead of athletic wear or clothes to wear around the house. Layers can include tops, tunics, cardigans, jackets, scarves, and earrings. These items can help create a look and make an outfit look more put-together.

4—Wear a longer length.

Leggings come in different lengths. A pair of ankle-length leggings can help you put together a nice casual or slightly dressy look.

5—Wear different shoes.

A pair of flats, sandals, or booties can elevate the look of a casual leggings outfit. During fall and winter, matching a pair of riding boots with leggings gives a great look.

Different Types of Leggings

Leggings come in different styles and fits, from athletic wear to streetwear to fashion leggings.

Here are a few examples of the different types of leggings that you may find.

1—Athletic Leggings

Athletic leggings are designed for workouts and athletic activities. Many types of athletic leggings are designed to promote airflow and comfort while working out. Often, athletic leggings feature mesh cutouts for increased airflow through the pant.

2—Cropped Leggings

Cropped leggings have a shorter length, with the length of the pants often stopping at or near the calves. Some prefer cropped leggings for working out or to wear during warmer days to help stay cool.

3—Fashion Leggings

Fashion leggings can be added to an outfit to make a style statement. Fashion leggings include faux leather leggings, velvet leggings, faux suede leggings, printed leggings, denim leggings, ponte knit leggings, and a variety of styles and designs that are great for building an outfit around.

4—Fleece-Lined Leggings

Fleece-lined leggings can help you to stay warm during winter.

5—High-Waist Leggings

High-waist leggings sit higher up on the body, which is great if your hips sit higher up on your body or you want more coverage between the top of the leggings and the edge of whatever top you are wearing.

6—Street Wear Leggings

Street wear leggings are designed to wear as part of an outfit. In general, these are not leggings to wear for running, jogging, or workouts. These are the types of leggings to wear with stylish sneakers or heels.

7—Yoga Pants

Yoga pants are designed as a pant to wear while doing yoga, but they are also popular to wear around the home, for running errands, and for hanging out with friends. Yoga pants may offer a looser, more pant-like fit, so they are popular for wearing for activities beyond athletics and yoga.

How to Choose Leggings

Choosing what pair of leggings to wear can be as easy of pairing your favorite black leggings with everything, or as fun as choosing a different color of leggings to match the different tops and other clothing items in your closet.

In general, great leggings are:

  • Comfortable. One reason that many people love to wear leggings is that they are comfortable, in addition to being easy to style for different outfits.
  • Breathable. Leggings made using breathable fabric are some of the best to wear, especially if you are active or moving around a lot.
  • Resistant. Great pairs of leggings are often resistant to bunching up, sliding down, or fitting oddly, in general. Leggings should fit snugly, but not too tight.

Here are some tips on how to choose what type of leggings to wear.

1—Fabric

Fabrics commonly used to make leggings include cotton, polyester, and nylon. These materials are often blended with stretch fibers or moisture-wicking materials to make leggings.

Cotton is a comfortable and breathable fabric when dry, but it tends to hold moisture and that can make cotton uncomfortable to wear when it’s wet.

Polyester tends to dry more quickly, but it can hang onto smells in an unpleasant way. Even so, polyester leggings or leggings made using moisture-wicking materials can be more comfortable to wear for walking, workouts, or other athletic activities.

Nylon leggings are durable and lightweight. Nylon has a tendency to shrink, so follow instructions washing and drying carefully.

Spandex, also known as Lycra or elastane, are used to add stretch to the fabric when making leggings. A higher Spandex or Lycra content can help prevent leggings from bunching and give them a smoother appearance and fit.

Wool leggings can be great to wear for colder weather, especially when layered with a sweater and boots. Fleece leggings can also be a great choice for fall and winter.

Leggings are sometimes confused with footless tights. In general, leggings may differ from tights in that leggings are made from thicker or more opaque fabric that offers more coverage.

Fit

Leggings are meant to fit close to the body, but you should be able to feel comfortable and move around in them. If leggings are too snug, then size up to get a more comfortable fit. High-waist leggings may offer a more comfortable fit if you find that your leggings tend to roll at the waist when you bend or sit down.

Length

Leggings come in different lengths. For more casual looks, cropped leggings or ankle-length leggings are a good choice. For dressier looks, consider wearing ankle-length leggings.

Comfort

Look for leggings that you find breathable and comfortable. You may have to try a few different pairs to find your favorite ones.

Activities

If you do a lot of moving around, then a pair of athletic leggings may be just what you need.

Occasions

For dressier outfits, wear darker colored leggings, like black or navy for evenings.

Go bold. Leggings come in many different colors to fit almost any style or look you can imagine. For fun outfits, choose leggings in different colors or prints.

How to Style Leggings

Here are some tips on what to wear with leggings.

Tops

For workouts, some pair leggings with a sports bra or t-shirt. For everyday wear, tunics, sweaters, or hoodies are often the tops of choice.

Here are some some tops that look great with leggings outfits for casual or evening wear.

Fall and Winter

  • Sweaters.
  • Blazers. Pair a blazer with leggings for a more polished look.
  • Cardigans.
  • Button-down shirts.
  • Blouses. A cute and flowy over-sized blouse makes a great look with a pair of structured leggings. Add a pair of heels or booties for a stylish look.

Spring and Summer

  • Tunics.
  • Sleeveless tops.
  • Blazers.
  • Lightweight cardigans.
  • Kimonos.

What Shoes to Wear with Leggings?

Fall and Winter

Booties, knee-high boots, and riding boots are great to wear with leggings during fall and winter. Choosing boots in the same color as your leggings can help to elongate the lines of your legs. Heels can be a good choice for a dressier look.

Spring and Summer

Ballet flats and sandals are great shoes to wear with leggings during spring and summer.

What to Wear with Leggings—Outfit Ideas

Crop Tops

A sports bra and athletic leggings can be a good look for working out. A tank top adds more coverage. A hoodie adds more warmth. A headband or hair tie helps to keep your hair out of your face.

Blazers

Wearing a blazer with leggings can make an outfit look more polished. This look works especially well with ponte knit leggings or yoga pants.

Cardigans

An oversized cardigan layered over a tunic or t-shirt dress is a great look to wear with leggings.

Sweaters

A sweater almost always looks good with leggings. An oversized, yet slighted fitted sweater is a great look to wear with heavier knit leggings or faux leather leggings.

Dressy Tops

Pairing fashion leggings or yoga pants with a dressy blouse is a great way to dress up leggings for special occasions or going out with friends. Accessorize with a clutch bag, a pair of booties or heels, and your favorite jewelry.

Tunics

Once the weather warms up, it’s time to pull out colorful tunics to wear with your favorite leggings. Style the look with statement earrings and flats or sandals.

Sweatshirt

Leggings matched with a sweatshirt, socks, and sneakers is a great outfit for doing chores around the house or running a quick errand. Add a necklace or earrings for a slightly more put-together look.

This post was all about how to wear leggings as part of a cute and stylish outfit.

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Credits
  • Photo by Emma Dau / Unsplash
  • Photos used for illustrative purposes only.

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