In defense of leggings as pants: 5 rules.

Dec 14, 2012

in Shop, Wear

leggings as pants: example 1

You guys I feel compelled to address an issue that’s been flying around the Internet unchecked. The rumor that it is not OK to wear leggings as pants. This is entirely false. Leggings as pants is one of the most wonderful inventions of all time. In fact, some weeks I wear leggings as pants exclusively and I have never once apologized for it, and I never will. But ladies, with great freedom comes great responsibility. So please, some guidelines to follow so you can stop ruining it for the rest of us who are tastefully enjoying our stretchy comfort.

    You know those people that say you should only wear yoga leggings to yoga? They are wrong. Lulu is excellent, or if you wanna go local and support small biz NeshNYC makes some awesome styles. Yes they’re expensive, but they are not see-through (the number one faux pas of legging/pants novices). DON’T buy your leggings at Target or the dollar store or any other such discount store. Spring for a quality pair and they will happily last you years without anyone seeing your thigh/cheek flesh in public.
  2. Wear something TUNIC LENGTH on top.
    There are a very small percentage of women who can actually wear leggings as full pants. If you wear something dress length you will look frumpy like you should just be wearing tights, and if you wear something shirt length (even hip) you WILL NOT look like Kate Moss. Trust me. Tunic length is the place to BE. If you are confident and fit, you can show a teeny bit of butt cheek in the back because hey you’re a sassy lady who’s wearing leggings as pants; but please, the length in front should cover your lady parts.
  3. Choose appropriate FOOTWEAR.
    Do not wear sneakers. Do not wear sneakers. Do not wear sneakers. Let me be clear, you cannot wear a running shoe, a Ked, a Converse, a Shape-up, or anything with a rubber sole. If you enter advanced leggings as pants status, you MIGHT be able to pull off some Toms. But please, consult a professional for clearance before doing so. Instead, go for a nice tall boot, calf to knee high but NOT over the knee, you are not Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.
  4. Stick with a SOLID COLOR on bottom.
    When you are buying yoga leggings avoid anything that looks too athletic. No piping, color blocking, or weird stuff—black and grey are your fail-safe’s here. You can add personality elsewhere, like by having an actual personality.
  5. Lastly, HAVE FUN ON TOP.
    You know what you like, go for it. Patterns, colors, shapes: do it all. Wear make-up and jewelry, do your hair just like usual. Horizontal stripes are a-ok here. Because the whole silhouette is so streamlined a busy or bold pattern doesn’t make you look heavier, it just adds interest that says “HEY, I’M ROCKING LEGGINGS AS PANTS AND YOU DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE BECAUSE I LOOKED SO FUCKIN’ GREAT.”

the. end.

And please, tell your friends by tweeting this message

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emily December 14, 2012 at 9:58 am

Loved this post! Though as a curvy girl who is currently rocking an above the knee tank dress over capri length leggings with a cardigan and a scarf, I’m super happy with my look and not frumpy looking at all…. even though I know what you mean (#2). Most dresses I have at home do look too frumpy to wear with leggings but a couple of my dresses work great. Those then are my go to outfits on weekends.

I see one woman around town who seems to think thin, almost-see-through leggings with a short (above the butt) shirt is an acceptable outfit when really, those of us who have to stand behind her and grimace at seeing her underwear would agree with you about going for at least a tunic-length top!


Beckie December 14, 2012 at 11:55 am

I’ve tried the whole dress thing, but I guess most of my dresses consist of summer flowy sundresses that I try to wear year round. Which just kind of ends up looking a mess. Good for you for makin. it. werq!

We’ve all been behind the see through leggings girl. They should be ticketed.

emily December 14, 2012 at 11:58 am

just realized….it’s my at or below the knee dresses that look frumpy.
when it’s above the knee, all is well. perhaps I should refer to those dresses as my tunics instead :)

Beckie December 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Pro tips Emily, pro tips.

marie February 19, 2013 at 10:06 pm

traveling tomorrow…had it all right except i had picked sneakers to wear with it. i will go re-think that asap.


Beckie February 19, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Yes! A nice flat boot or if you’re going somewhere warm (jealous btdubbs) a fancy sandal will look much chicer!

Callan Peel February 20, 2013 at 8:39 pm

You are awesome! I just found your page while searching for what to wear with gray pair of leggins, and you made me crack up for a good few minutes. Keep doing what you’re doing. :)

What I really am leaving a comment for……………………….please make an Instagram! I don’t like twitter, so Instagram is where its at. Plus, Instagram is more unique/artsy than lame old twitter. Plus, tweeting is just annoying. I mean seriously, if there was a bird tweeting incessantly outside your window– you’d be annoyed! To end with: please, please, please x100, make an Instagram! :)


Beckie February 21, 2013 at 10:32 am

Thanks Callan! You can find me on Instagram @cubicle57blog. Link is also in the sidebar above. See you ’round the internetz!

recie March 24, 2013 at 11:16 am

you SUCK at this thing, because i wear convurse shose with leggings and i do not look like an idiot! i sudjust you fix this site because you just lost one of you veiwers. bye……………………….


Beckie March 24, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Gurl. Wha had happened is… this is very general. If you can rock a converse with a legging go to it! I am not blessed, I always look homely. Dewitt. Hope to see you around.

BoreedTeen:) November 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I wear coverse with leggings as well, mind you I’m a slim teenager not some obese 50 year old..

Anna April 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Thanks for the insight! Found you on google after doing some googling trying to find the perfect pair of leggings. Love your post but have to say I don’t agree with all the guidelines… a lot of it just depends on person and style. I love wearing sneakers and Tims with leggings and get compliments all the time! I have a pretty athletic figure with a butt and thighs, so def no Kate Moss, but I love wearing shirts above the waist with leggings and find it very flattering. Anyway, just wanted to add my two cents – you don’t have to be super skinny to be creative with your legging looks or try to hide your body! Just… no camel toe. =)


Beckie April 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Sounds like you are an advanced leggings as pants wearer. Congratulations :)

lane April 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Converse and keds looks fine with leggings. Its the running shoes that drive me nuts, unless you’re actually running.


BoreedTeen:) November 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm

I agree.

Becky June 19, 2013 at 1:24 am

I loved your advice. I hardly wear leggings because I couldn’t get the great quality but now I am rocking them all weekend. The thigh high dresses work great with leggings. Anything below the knee is messy.



Deb September 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Great tips. Do you have pics of this look ? Can you be too old for this look?


BoreedTeen:) November 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I do think you can be too old for this look, I’m sorry but I don’t want to stroll down the town then see some obese 50 year old trying to pull off the leggings look…

Margarita Ortega October 22, 2013 at 7:40 am

Where do I get leggings that are not see through? Does the ones at Macy’s work they’re around $69.00 and up.


Beckie October 22, 2013 at 8:05 am

Hey Margarita! I always do a little stretch test :) If I can stretch the fabric a bit and not see my hand in the light then you’re probably good. Especially if they’re good and thick and hold their shape. Crucial for fall/winter temps!

kimberly November 4, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Hello! I happened upon ur neato site here- also looking for good advice on leggings- (so hard to avoid the camel toe grrrr) Anyway had a couple bits of info I thought could be relevant here- 1st you ever so correctly referred to the “stretch test”- I’d like to add to that and mention that anyone with a J-Lo booty needs to stretch it extra and be extra attentive- If you’ve got a lot goin on in the hiney the leggings will have harder work to do back there!! Also- there are a ton of really great leggings CHEAP on ebay- I just bought a great pair of fleece lined red ones that are super warm and comfy- as well as being the perfect thickness and free of both muffin-top AND camel toe for $8!!!! They come in tons of colors and there are tons of listings:) Ooh and one other thing you can do is add a pair of opaque capri tights under thinner leggings to get better coverage:)


BoreedTeen:) November 12, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Ebay = dodgy… Topshop all the way.

Deyani December 28, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Are crop tops not allowed? Just want to know.


Deyani December 28, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Like high waisted leggings…

Noor May 9, 2014 at 11:39 pm

I enjoyed reading this post! I was googling quality leggings when your blog post popped up (reason being, i am currently wearing a pair of old leggings and i can start to see a bit of my skin now…horrifying).
Thanks for the reference sites to invest in a pair of nice, long-lasting, pair of leggings :)

Check me out on instagram if you have the time ! @NoorB_


Noor May 9, 2014 at 11:42 pm

Oh and I forgot to add to the last comment:
Although I love wearing my leggings with knee high boots, I really do enjoy pairing them with Toms, Dr Martins, combat boots, flats, sandals :)


Beckie December 29, 2013 at 12:58 am

You sound very brave. I like this, like Selena! If you can dream it you can do it :)


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