Style + Beauty

What to Wear with Leggings: 10 Polished Ways to Style the Tricky Staple


 (Associated Press)

Ah, the age-old question: what to wear with leggings? Sub-queries include: “Can leggings be worn in place of actual trousers?” (Nope!) “Can I wear them with pumps and a tank top?” (Uh, no.) And finally, “Can I wear those crazy, neon-patterned geometric leggings lining the walls at Urban Outfitters to work? (They’re a no-go.)

The confusion surrounding leggings is made all the more ironic by the fact that during the last few years, they’ve established themselves as one of fashion’s most prominent trends (they’ve even bred jeggings, the ubiquitous denim-legging hybrid.) But the fact remains that most of us are guilty of having no clue what to pair them with in order to create a sleek, stylish outfit.

Well, the confusion stops here, ladies. Read below to find out about 10 polished ways to style the tricky staple this fall, with a focus on what exactly to wear on top and on your feet:

With Plenty of Layers

Leather leggings aren't going anywhere this fall, and look best when paired with lots of layers on top. Try throwing a patterned sweater on over a monochrome button-up, then putting on a utility jacket or oversized blazer. This look also works with plain black lycra legging, too.

With a Basic Button-Down

When it comes to leggings (leather or otherwise), the simplest route is to pair them with a slightly oversized solid button-down. Try to stick to a darker color legging (black being the most obvious choice) and contrasting them with a blouse in a white, pastel pink (this season's "it" color), or other light tone. Throw on an oversized blazer and some oxfords to finish things off.

With a Big Chambray Top

Behind a classic button-down and a blazer, the loose-fitting chambray top is your next best choice for pairing with leggings. They key here is length: If it's too short (i.e., hip-length), it's going to look odd. Remember, leggings are not pants, so you shouldn't wear tops with them that you'd wear with your favorite pair of tight jeans. The chambray should hit at mid-thigh or so.

With Motorcycle Boots

One of the hardest things about wearing leggings is figuring out what to put on your feet, but when the weather cools down, it's all about the boot. No platform sandals, no wedges, no stilettos. Leggings look chicest in the fall and winter, and really work best with a great pair of moto boots.

With a Statement Boot

Perhaps the best way to dress up a pair of leggings, making them appropriate for Fashion Week or even just a nice dinner out, is to rock them with a pair of statement boots. The statement can be a fierce one, such as with cow-print booties, or it can be a little more subtle: a chunky ankle or knee-high boot with a thick high heel will suffice just fine.