What to Wear With Leggings

By Gail Marie

Leggings are tights without feet. Depending on how tall you are and the cut of the leggings you choose, they may stop anywhere from just below your knee to just above your foot at your ankle. Today you can find leggings made with a variety of fabrics, including a fabric made to look wet and another made to look like denim. Because they are form-fitting, leggings must be strategically paired with other clothing and shoes.


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Tunics are made from a variety of fabric, but the most common are knit jersey and sweater material. Pair your leggings with a tunic that comes down past your hips and rear. Wearing a shorter tunic (or shirt) that stops above your hips will make you appear ready for the gym versus a night out. Wear a belt with your tunic if you wish. The key is to look balanced--a roomy tunic with fitted leggings. One elegant outfit idea is a black tunic with black leggings and black high heel boots.

Dresses and Skirts


Dresses and skirts that fall at or above your knees work well with leggings. If your dress or skirt falls past your knees, you risk visually cutting off your legs. A close-fitting, jersey knit dress with a wide belt worn snugly at the waist works nicely with leggings. More billowy, bohemian fashions also look good with leggings. Younger women can look trendy in leggings paired with denim miniskirts.



For the best proportions, wear only roomy shirts that don't fall beyond the middle of your thighs. Aim for a silhouette that looks big over small. Avoid wearing a skin-tight shirt with leggings. Petite women should be careful when choosing a shirt to wear over leggings: make sure it is proportioned for shorter torso so that it doesn't look like you're wearing a dress over leggings instead of a shirt. Keep in mind that a monochromatic ensemble will elongate your look. Likewise, tall women need to make sure their shirts are long enough to cover their rear.



Choose from three can't-lose shoes to pair with your leggings: flats, plain pumps or boots. Ballerina flats are always a good choice. Give your look a rocker-chic edge by wearing booties with ankle-length leggings. Pair cropped leggings (those that fall mid-calf) with platform espadrilles that lace up around your ankle. Because leggings of this length can make your legs look shorter than they are, wearing them with a visually tall shoe helps elongate the look.



Besides the elongating benefit of a monochromatic look, you can also wear leggings that echo a color that already exists in your outfit. For example, if your outfit has touches of brown (including your belt or shoes), wear brown leggings to complement that aspect. Wearing a leggings in a contrasting color can look either fabulous or a bit scary. If you're willing to take the risk, go for it. Black leggings paired with bright-colored tops will draw the attention to your hair and makeup, away from your legs. The key is to accentuate your best features and diminish those that are less stunning.