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How To Wear Leggings

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How to wear leggings? It’s leggings season again and here are a few tips/tricks/rules to insure that you wear your leggings appropriately. Leggings are NOT pants.

ways to wear leggings

What are leggings?

Even though Dictionary.com defines leggings as “close-fitting knit pants”, I think the World English Dictionary definition of “an extra outer covering for the lower legs” is more appropriate for grown women. Leggings tow the line between being hosiery and pants. Leggings should NEVER be the sole piece of fabric covering you butt/crotch from view of the world.

Are my “leggings” actually leggings?

If you happen to buy one of those pairs of leggings that seems more tights-like, wear them as you would tights because under bright lighting they will become see-through.


If you buy leggings that are not the right size for your body (even though you are able to squeeze into them), they will also be more sheer than leggings are supposed to be. If you “muffin top” over your leggings or they feel uncomfortable in any way, they are indeed too small. Properly fitting leggings don’t leave lines on your skin when you take them off and should not show visible lines under whatever you’re wearing over them.

What to wear with leggings

  • Something that covers your @$$ butt (CYA)!
  • long shirts that end a little bit below your hips/upper-mid thigh
  • over-sized sweaters
  • tunics
  • mini-skirts/skirts
  • dresses
  • if you really want to look sophisticated, wear a bootie/ankle boot/boots that leave no room for skin to peak out
  • an extra layer (like a long cardigan, sweater, or vest) looks even better but the initial visible layer should cover your crotch area
  • Balance clothing proportions by NOT wearing something tight-fitting with your leggings.

Some people say that you should wear leggings like you’d wear tights or any other hosiery. I am not one of those people but it does help to give you some perspective if you visualize your leggings as hosiery to gauge appropriateness (if that makes any sense at all). When in doubt, feel free to email me a picture or find an honest friend to advise you. Follow these same rules for jeggings. Jeggings are not pants either.

Keep it classy out there ladies and feel free to share this post with your fellow woman. My hope is that we can work together to keep overexposure to a minimum this leggings season (think of this post as a PSA).

Did you like this tutorial?  There’s more where that came from in my How To Wear section of Fashion & Style.

For Outfit of the Day inspiration, check out my What I Wore posts.

What are your personal rules for wearing leggings?  Do you have any fashion/style related questions you want me to address in post?  Let me know in the comments (or email/tweet/facebook me).
There’s more where that came from! Holla ‘atcha girl -> :::: facebook ::: twitter ::: pinterest ::: google+ ::::

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Valerie Rowekamp

Valerie Rowekamp desires to live a stylish, soulful, charmed life while inspiring you to do the same. She's exceptionally resourceful, creative, passionate, and has been known to bust a move in the aisle of the grocery store.



17 Responses to How To Wear Leggings
  1. Suzanne Phillips
    October 21, 2012 | 8:38 pm

    I so love you for this!

  2. Missy Cox
    October 25, 2012 | 4:41 pm

    Love this so much!!!!

  3. Lizbeth Stern
    December 10, 2012 | 7:11 pm

    Love this! I hate when people were leggings like pants and don’t realize how bad it is.

  4. Kara M
    December 26, 2012 | 3:06 pm

    Amen. Amen and Amen!

  5. Amie im blonde
    January 12, 2013 | 6:04 pm

    hi im a girl and i want to know how to make a how to look beautiful blog like yours and please answer

  6. jess
    April 21, 2013 | 1:43 am

    so true! I just invested in a high quality printed legging from coxi.com.au and it was worth it.

  7. LuceBuona
    May 27, 2013 | 3:00 pm

    This post would do a lot of good to humankind if it became viral!

  8. Katrina Burkett
    June 26, 2013 | 8:43 pm

    I am so pleased and relieved that there are other classy people out there who understand this concept. I am a firm believer. Leggings. Are. Not. Pants. that picture is perfect too.

  9. Anonymous
    October 9, 2013 | 7:27 pm

    Leggings ARE pants. if they are see-through then they’re tights! not leggings! I wear leggings as pants, how they are meant to be worn, all the time! you know like those fake leather ones or the thick material one that can’t be seen through at any time. if you can see through them then they are tights not leggings, BIG DIFFERENCE

  10. Lecar Sacul
    October 30, 2013 | 12:40 pm

    Leggings are definitely pants. Look up Black Milk Clothing. Most of their clientele know how to wear them properly, in the right size, as pants. They do not go see-thru. They show off your legs and bum! Who cares? No body shaming, if I want to show the world the shape of my bum, let me. It won’t do you any harm.

  11. Lecar Sacul
    October 30, 2013 | 12:40 pm

    Amen sista.

  12. Taralil Mermaidx
    December 10, 2013 | 4:33 am

    if you have the bottom for it then i say wear them as trousers!!

  13. Talia S
    January 13, 2014 | 1:23 pm

    I wear leggings ALL the time. They are super comfortable and go with everything I wear. My mom knows that they are see-through leggings and leggings can sometimes be provactive. But she bought me some leggings that are thick enough so it is not see through.

    For me, leggings are the one pant that I feel comfortable in; with jeans I have to wear belts, and then it becomes all scrunchy and uncomfortable.

    To sum up, I agree with what you are saying, but I also think leggings are fine as pants as long as they are thick enough. Leggings are very comfortable and most people like to feel comfortable.

  14. Summer – Come Back! | JessE-B
    March 6, 2014 | 8:14 pm

    […] ‘certain’ situation, generally when your actually butt and lady-hood are covered – visit Charmed Valerie for the rules) and well I won’t have to worry about shaving my legs as […]

  15. Angela
    June 2, 2014 | 6:19 am

    this is so idiotic lol if leggings are see-through then they are in fact NOT leggings but tights, which are made for the long shirts, dresses, skirtdls, etc. leggings are pants… if they’re too small, they will stretch and expose your butt and look sheer, i agree, but that’s because you’re wearing a pair that doesn’t fit you. not because leggings aren’t pants. like i can’t believe i am actually sitting here trying to argue that they are pants because they are so obviously pants. and even more true than that is that JEGGINGS are ABSOLUTELY pants. what the hell is wrong with you? their jean-like appearance is literally so that they look like jeans but are comfortable like leggings. why would a product be made to look like jeans if they weren’t supposed to be seen as jeans and worn like jeans? now that’s just stupid and you have to know that that’s incorrect. LEGGINGS AND JEGGINGS ARE 250% PANTS AND THIS POST IS RIDICULOUS!

  16. Anon
    June 3, 2014 | 8:05 am

    Late comment I know, but I just can’t stand when people say “leggings are not pants”. Take this from a guy who can tell you what us guys find attractive. Leggings are very attractive if worn properly, basically like anything else if you don’t have the body for them don’t wear them. I find it attractive when a girl wears them with a sweatshirt/ tank top, or even if they cover there butt a little with a cardigan. That above options listed are DEFINITELY not recommended from us guys, they look like something an old person would wear (no offense), dresses and leggings are a no no. Simply once again, if you don’t have the body for them don’t wear them (at least in public, unless working out or whatever), just like you would do with any other clothes that don’t fit your shape…. What’s the difference with leggings?

    Hate me all you want but its usually the people jealous of a gorgeous body in leggings that wishes they could pull them off too, or old people also jealous. So once again, unless your going for the old person look, or even toddler/preschool look then don’t wear leggings with dresses. Leggings are pants, and a lot of guys would be dissapointed if this stupid dress/leggings trend started.

  17. Sami
    June 13, 2014 | 10:40 pm

    Just because something is not see-through does not make it okay to wear in public. If I wore tights that clearly showed my shape (I am a man) that would be disgusting. Leggings are great for allowing men to visualize your body and leaves nothing to the imagination. It’s tacky and tasteless and crude.

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