Leggings: To Wear or Not to Wear?
At VienneMilano, we believe in helping every woman look and feel fabulous. While we believe that luxury hosiery is the ultimate fashion accessory that allows you to reveal your style and confidence in every occasion, we recognize other fabulous fashionable are also just as noteworthy as well — for example, leggings. To help us shed light on this stylish accessory, we reached out to our friends at the CAM Collective to help answer when is it appropriate to wear leggings? Here is Chai of the CAM Collection’s response.
Hello! I’m Chai Yang from CAM Collective! CAM Collective is a lifestyle brand for women by women. Collectively, with over 30 years of experience across multiple industries, we (Chai, Mai Der, and Aliah) discovered through our discussions with women across the spectrum of corporate America that women share similar challenges in almost every aspect of life. More profound was our realization that although similar problems were more than plentiful, solutions or guidance were not readily available. Our mission is to empower women to achieve their best lives with intent. Our goal is to provide women with practical products without sacrificing style and offer direction and lessons learned for challenges commonly and uncommonly encountered by women, which leads me to one commonly encountered challenge—leggings.
Leggings have become a bit of a uniform for me on the weekends and even on weeknights after work. As I was getting ready for work one day, I reached for a pair of leggings, an oversized sweater and riding boots without giving it a second thought. As I finished getting dressed and was ready to head out for the day, I paused in front of the mirror to make sure my leggings (and overall look) was appropriate for work. Ultimately, I decided it was, given the casual nature of my work environment. Given the questions surrounding leggings and how to wear them, we’re going to tackle what leggings are, the different types, how you wear them and when it’s appropriate/inappropriate to wear them, including at work.
Let's start with the basics. Leggings are skin-tight, typically footless bottoms that are thicker than tights and are made from spandex, lycra, nylon, polyester, cotton or other fabrics. Because there are so many comfortable, stylish, and flattering options, they have become a fashion statement and wardrobe staple not just for the gym, but for nights out with your girlfriends and even to work. The right pair of leggings can make your tush look toned, lengthen your legs, and accentuate the right curves of your body. Given this allure, it’s no wonder leggings are so trendy!
Brands make leggings for pretty much every situation, which makes it easier to find the perfect pair for you. For example, there is the cotton variety, which is soft and breathable for everyday comfort. There is the moisture-wicking variety made for intense workouts that are thin – but not see-through – and that keep their shape when you wash them. There is also the patterned or printed and leather/faux-leather variety that is chic and functional and worn as a substitute for pants. The list goes on. Given all of the options and their status as a wardrobe staple, the obvious question is, “can you wear leggings as pants?” And the answer is – it depends on the situation.
It’s completely appropriate to wear leggings as a substitute for pants when using as activewear or lounging attire. A pair of leggings with a fun, active top or cute sports bra, for example, makes a great gym outfit. Similarly, if you’re running around the park with your kids or going on a walk outside, leggings can be the perfect option.
However, if you’re going to wear leggings outside of these purposes, proceed with caution. Worn on their own to work, they can look unprofessional and can even come across as sloppy given they’re often associated with leisure activities. Instead, opt to use them as a substitute for tights or as a layering piece under dresses, skirts, or long sweaters with booties or riding boots. If you love leggings but hate to layer or wear long sweaters, choose a fancy pair of leggings such as Ponte leggings. The thickness of Ponte creates a less revealing and more professional look. But what about pleather leggings you say? I certainly love a good pair myself. Unless you work in retail or a laid-back-anything-goes environment, save the pleather leggings and crop top for nights out.
Leggings Dos and Don'ts
- Wear your most comfortable pair to run errands or when traveling
- Slip on a pair of leggings for a workout
- Dress up your leggings for a night out
- Layer your leggings for a casual outfit or causal work setting
- Choose leggings as your go-to pants for work unless your work environment expressly allows them
- Wear leggings if you want to come across as professional and polished for a first impression. There are more appropriate clothing options than leggings for a stellar first impression at work. Think pleated skirt and blouse, jumpsuit with a blazer, ankle-length pants, and wrap blouse.
- Pair thin, revealing leggings with heels for formal events (when we say revealing, we mean all your goods are on display; yes, we do mean front and backside)
- Hold onto your leggings until the color is questionable. I get it; it’s your favorite pair. However, nothing screams sloppy like a pair of faded leggings.
Below is one of my favorite legging outfits for nights out or even in a casual work setting. This look allows you to maintain comfort while also looking put-together and chic. Notice that the leggings are paired with a loose-fitting top for contrast, a long sweater which covers the tush, heels and a long statement necklace.