Follow College Fashion on Twitter!

Is Wearing Leggings as Pants Ever Okay?


Leggings as pants
The “leggings as pants” trend on display | All photos courtesy of ELLE: 1, 2, 3, 4

What’s not to love about leggings? They’re comfortable. They’re slimming. They’re great at making lazy outfits look sleek and stylish. They’re inexpensive. And there’s something so retro fabulous about them. I for one am a huge fan. But one of the most prolific fashion rule to emerge over the last few years is the danger of wearing a pair of leggings as pants. From Blair Waldorf to Conan O’Brien, it seems like everyone has a passionate opinion on the right way to wear this humble garment.

But as with most pressing debate in life, nothing is black and white. What if you’re wearing a tunic? What about running tights or yoga gear? What’s the rule on jeggings? Aren’t really tight pants pretty much the same thing? Is it ever OK to wear leggings as pants? Or, why is wearing leggings as pants so frowned upon? 

I’ve researched both sides of the argument, and have developed a few guidelines of my own to help steer me in the direction of what I feel good and confident wearing. After you read, leave a comment and tell us where you weigh in on this argument. Ready to debate this out? Read on, girlfriends!

Arguments In Favor of Leggings As Pants

With heavy fabrics, interesting styles, and the popularity of “skinny” cut pants, it’s understandable why some people would embrace the idea of wearing leggings as pants.

First of all, they’re super comfortable. The elastic waistline will feel good on your body all day long, no matter if you’re sitting at a desk studying for finals or lounging on a couch watching movies with your girlfriends. I love each and every pair of jeans that I own, but nothing compares to the stretchy goodness that a nice pair of cotton leggings can provide.

Second, a quality pair can support your hips and backside enough to function as a pair of pants. Take jeggings, for example — I mean, some of those babies even have pockets and zippers! As long as the leggings are thick and supportive, I don’t see a need to discriminate against a piece just because it’s less structured than others.

Also, leggings have been a staple of chic girls’ wardrobes for decades. Remember how beautiful Audrey Hepburn looked in her signature pair of cropped ankle-length leggings and ballet flats, paired with a crisp white button-down shirt, or a black turtleneck? My mind also goes to ’80s bombshells like Cyndi Lauper and Paula Abdul wearing brightly-colored, high-cut leggings with spikey stilettos. The legging is such a cool throwback item!

Lastly, you have to admit that the right pair of leggings can make you feel super sexy and ultra cool. Both the shiny and matte lamé leggings from American Apparel are so badass that just wearing a pair will make you feel like Catwoman! Dark-colored leggings are very flattering and will make your legs look miles long, especially when worn with a pair of heels.

Arguments Against Leggings As Pants

On the flipside, I can definitely understand why many girls regard leggings as pants as a huge fashion faux pas.

Generally, leggings aren’t the most supportive piece in your closet. They’re easy to spot panty lines though, and they don’t do the best job of, well, giving your tush the lift and shape it deserves.

Second, not to get super graphic or anything, but, well, wearing leggings as pants puts you in the danger zone of accidentally ending up with a frontal wedgie-type situation. Wardrobe malfunctions are never a thing you want to spend the day worrying about. They’re distracting to think about, not to mention pretty awkward — for both for you and whoever happens to witness them.

Another big reason some girls are against leggings as pants involves the potential for revealing too much. If the leggings aren’t thick and opaque, they can easily be see-through, and if said see-through leggings aren’t covered by an appropriately long top, they can give passersby a full-on view of your anatomy. This isn’t a fashion statement that most of us want to make, nor is it something we want to be subjected to on our 7AM walk to class.

Lastly, wearing leggings as a pair of pants is just…well, a tad bit lazy. Not that that’s totally a bad thing — obviously, if you’re studying and just vegging out with friends, looking sharp isn’t going to be your first priority. But, some girls liken leggings to sweatpants or yoga pants, and think they should be saved for days that you’re running late or feeling a little under the weather. While I definitely think leggings are usually better than wearing sweatpants or (yikes) pajamas in public, I can see where it’d be a little bit sloppy to constantly wear them.

Girl wearing leggings
Photo Credit

Finally — My Tips and Tricks For Rocking Leggings as Pants

Taking the best of both worlds, I’ve compiled a few rules of thumb for rocking a pair of leggings. Check them out below! (And for more, see our post on how to wear leggings.)

  • This is very obvious, but the safest way to wear leggings is with a tunic that hits about mid-thigh. This way, you’ll get the look of leggings, but still have plenty of hip, butt, and crotch coverage. Always a good thing!
  • If you want to be bold and wear leggings with a thigh-grazing top, be sure to go for styles with thick, opaque fabric and a good amount of support. Like I mentioned before, the very stretchy lamé versions from American Apparel are a small miracle.
  • I know this is kind of awkward to talk about, but you want to make sure to have full coverage (and at least an inch or two of some wiggle room) covering your crotch. This part of the equation is completely non-negotiable.
  • However, if you happen to be so bold, you can be a little more relaxed about how covered your backside is. Of course, this depends on how comfortable you are with your body, your personal body shape, how thick and structured your leggings are, and what sort of a top you’re wearing. If you have doubts, recruit an honest friend to tell you how you look.
  • Jeggings are tricky. Some of them look just like real jeans, so it’s sort of a delicate line to walk. Personally, I find them to be a little to thin and unsupportive to wear with shirts shorter than tunic length, but if you have a great pair that you love, more power to you!
  • Dark-colored leggings are absolutely the most flattering. I’m not saying they can’t be worn, but I’ve yet to see a pair of white or nude-colored leggings look right.
  • For a relaxed yet chic look, pair cotton leggings with riding boots and an oversized knit sweater. Finish with a top knot or a loose side braid.
  • Leggings are the perfect thing to pair with a dress that’s just a little bit too short to wear alone. If your dress is getting close to knee length, though, opaque tights will look much more chic with it than leggings.
  • For a sexy look perfect for a night on the town, pair stretchy lamé or coated leggings with a longish tank top or silky blouse. Finish with edgy jewelry, your tallest pair of heels, and a box clutch.
  • Wear black leggings with a chambray button-down and wedges for a breezy model off duty sort of look.
  • If you dare to wear a regular-length top with a pair of leggings, balance it out with a long scarf and cardigan. You could also channel the ’90s and tie a sweater or shirt around your waist for coverage.

How do you feel about leggings as pants?

What are your thoughts on wearing leggings as pants? Would you ever wear leggings with a regular-length shirt? Do you think leggings come off as too casual for many occasions? What are the rules you follow to avoid a faux pas? Where do you fall on the legging debate continuum? We want to know how you feel about this issue! Let us know with a comment!

Posted on on March 7, 2013 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , ,

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

118 Responses to “Is Wearing Leggings as Pants Ever Okay?”

  1. 1
    March 7th, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I think it’s great that we’re being open-minded on both sides on this issue. Though I’d personally only wear leggings with a long-enough top, the argument that leggings are tight and revealing is a bit shaky, in that there are plenty of other tight articles of clothing we’re okay with wearing (ex. bodycon anything, skinny jeans). Hopefully this article’ll help people cool off on their opinions and be more understanding of the other side. Good work!

  2. 2
    March 7th, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Love your story! I am a big fan of leggings and love to wear them on my lazy days. Typically if I wan to wear leggings to work and still look appropriate I wear a longer dress or double up. Like yesterday I wore opaque leggings (tights) with my target leggings over them and I was not only warm enough but I had the support I needed. Paired with a front and backside covering shirt (thigh grazer) and a boyfriend blazer. Like you said just make sure you are covered and you can’t see through the leggings.

  3. 3
    March 7th, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I personally love leggings, but there is one girl in particular that comes to mind. The issue with the way she wears them wasn’t really mentioned, so I’ll just say it: Full-blown, in your face, gigantic WEDGIE. And not in the front. From the front, her outfits always look really cute, but from the back…. Yikes. I see this a lot with yoga pants too. They’re just so tight that you can see between their cheeks. Definitely not cute.

  4. 4
    March 7th, 2013 at 11:12 am

    The problem I have with leggings as pants is that I’ve yet to see a pair that don’t end up either causing some serious genital cleavage or go pretty much see through when someone bends over. Now, maybe I’ve missed seeing the actually appropriate ones because I thought they were just skinny jeans/pants, but it does seem like a fairly unwinnable battle. That being said – I would suggest the following simple tests to determine if a pair of leggings would actually provide enough coverage:

    1) Do you have to wear thongs with them to avoid panty-line? This is pretty self-evident; if the only way you can avoid panty-line is to not have any lines where they would show, your leggings are too thin and/or tight and therefore won’t cover anything. This is not to say that your leggings should work with all underwear – we all have that pair that won’t even work under most suit pants, never mind leggings.

    2) Wearing a pair of non-thong underwear that contrast your skin, can you see a light/dark difference when you bend over? If you can, your leggings are too thin to provide proper coverage. Don’t fool yourself, bending over will happen, and wearing matching colour briefs just makes people think they’re looking at your actual butt.

    3) Wear whatever type(s) of underwear you’re most likely to wear with the leggings, then move around in the leggings for five minutes. Go up and down stairs (or pretend to by stepping on and off your couch or coffee table), bend over, sit down and cross and uncross your legs. Do anything you might do in a typical day and do more. And do NOT readjust your leggings at all during those five minutes. Then go look in a mirror. If the leggings are riding up and causing any kind of noticeable cleavage down there, they’re too thin and/or tight and they will absolutely do this to you during the day, which means you’ll either be constantly picking/readjusting, or you’ll be showing that all off.

    Now, I love leggings, but I would never wear any as pants because I have yet to find a pair that don’t fail at least one rule. I might even consider some if they only failed rule 1, but that rule always seems to indicate that they’ll fail both other rules too. Now, if other people want to wear leggings as pants without long shirts despite failing my rules, that’s entirely up to them. I have, however, had a few friends try the rules and realize that they really weren’t OK with what the leggings they’d been wearing actually revealed. I wonder how many people aren’t aware of their true exposure wearing leggings as pants and wouldn’t be OK with it if they were.

  5. 5
    March 7th, 2013 at 11:34 am

    The only times I’ve worn leggings as pants have been at home lounging around, in-door rock climbing, and Halloween costumes (I put together a pretty cool Ziggy Stardust costume one year). Otherwise, I usually wear an oversized tunic/sweatshirt with them or put shorts or a skirt over them. They’re chic, yet comfortable. I think some of the different patterned and leather-type leggings can be doable as pants. If you can balance it out proportionately without the wedgie/camel toe issue, then I think it can be pulled off.

  6. 6
    March 7th, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Heck I’m rocking leggings right now. And looking around campus, it seems about 1 in 5 girls at least are too. It’s midterms week so I’m also wearing a longish shirt with a tank underneath, a baseball cap and not a speck of makeup. Generally I save leggings for days like this. I definitely feel that longer shirts are necessary though. Not necessarily full coverage, but at least half.

  7. 7
    March 7th, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Buying leggings with thicker fabric (like a ponte knit) is key. Those cheap $7 Target leggings are always see through.

  8. 8
    March 7th, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Wearing leggings= you MUST have your crotch and booty covered! There are tons and i mean TONS of forums and websites created by guys, dedicated to showing pictures of women’s butts in leggings and yoga pants (my guy friends showed me this).

    It’s gross, and I don’t want some creepy random guy taking a picture of my rear, or thinking sexual thoughts about me… So i always keep it covered! Plus it’s really no different from wearing tights as pants, or spandex as pants, and who would do that?! Keep it classy!

  9. 9
    March 7th, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Personally, I don’t think that leggings should be worn as pants unless if their top of choice is covering their butt. Almost all the girls on campus at my school are wearing them.

  10. 10
    March 7th, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I kind of wish that leggings could be worn as pants because it would make life SO much simpler, but the fact of the matter is that I haven’t seen a single person pull that off yet! So I believe that covering most of your butt and all of your “frontal cleavage” as you put it (hahaha!) is a must. Also, it hides your possible panty line as well! All dignity stays intact!

  11. 11
    March 7th, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks for this article I used to be against leggings as pants but I’ve started to come around but I have seen the issues that you covered that made me weary of going full out so to speak. Thanks for sharing both sides along with styling tips.

  12. 12
    March 7th, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    There is potential for poor judgement with any type of clothing – skirts show vpl as well, lots of bottoms aren’t supportive, and camel toe has existed long before the advent of modern leggings.

    These leggingxpants hybrids aren’t the same as sheer tights or pantyhose, their distant cousins. They’re here to stay, so let’s accept them and recognize their flaws as the mistakes of their owner, not of the pants themselves.

  13. 13
    March 7th, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    i don’t really see the big deal. i have a pair of exercise leggings that are thick and opaque. i’m not wearing them with crop tops, but that’s because i don’t wear crop tops. i’ve seen girls wear crop tops with leggings and rock them. most of my shirts come down to at least mid-butt, which covers the front. which is good enough for me. honestly, why are we staring so much at girl’s crotches and butts? that seems rude :p just let people rock their leggings, and be glad they’re not in sweats.

  14. 14
    March 7th, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    ack, that being said, i’ve seen a few girls in skin colored leggings with camel toe. i think we can agree that skin color leggings should probably be avoided. with or without camel toe.

  15. 15
    March 7th, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Just no. I’ve seen girls with perfect figures wear leggings with short tops and even without crotch outlines, something about the outfit just doesn’t look right. It’s not because it’s revealing either, because I have no issue with that. It just looks odd, just like how a pair of leggings with a knee-length dress looks odd.

  16. 16
    March 7th, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    The idea that I’d wear something or not wear something because some dude on campus would think something about me is a little messed up. I don’t dress for other people, I dress for me. I’m not wearing outfits because it pleases anyone else, I’m not here for visual consumption by other people, and I’m certainly not in charge of the gross thoughts or actions of other people. Also, to modify MY behavior to prevent nastiness from people who have no respect for other’s agency and privacy is kind of victim-blamey and I hate it. Men who take pictures of women in leggings without their knowledge and permission are the problem, not the women in leggings.
    That said, do your thing, ladies. Rock whatever you want, as long as you feel good in it.

  17. 17
    March 7th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Since a lot of the time I see people “allowing” leggings on thin, attractive or fit girls and not on bigger or average girls, I would say the answer, for the sake of body positivity, should by always. Wedgies and genital cleavage aside since I think that IS too much, tight clothing showing body rolls or jiggly thighs should never be a reason NOT to wear something. If someone is comfortable with their body and likes their comfort, it’s not our job to crush that by policing them. Camel toe is yeah, inappropriate, but I think we need to be careful about saying when someone can wear something and make sure we’re not trying to tell them *who* can wear what.

  18. 18
    March 7th, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I would only wear leggings as pants if my shirt fully covered my behind. But still, I’d so much rather wear jeans and feel fully covered than wear leggings. My sister wears leggings all the time and doesn’t cover her behind, and usually it just doesn’t look good.

  19. 19
    March 7th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    The winter leggings from American Apparel are so thick they do not cause any of the problems mentioned above. Highly recommend checking them out.

  20. 20
    March 7th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I really like this article. Personally I’m not a huge fan of the leggings as pants trend, seen too many girls who don’t know how to wear it right. These tips are really helpful and makes me want to try leggins out more. Thanks!

  21. 21
    March 7th, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I don’t wear pants to lift or shape my butt, and I don’t agree that leggings are lazy. Comfort isn’t always lazy. I think to wear them as pants you’d have to take in account the thickness of the leggings and how tight they are. If you can see a panty line/patterned panties there should be a longer shirt. If someone can wear it right, it shouldn’t be a problem.

  22. 22
    March 7th, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    In my opinon, i think leggings as pants are okay as long as the butt isn’t hanging out! Yoga leggings are a different story though! Yoga pants material is much more thicker and opaque. Those can be worn in place of leggings if you plan on wearing a shirt that doesn’t cover your butt. :)

    I’m still in high school (but love College Fashion haha) and my school doesn’t allow leggings as pants unless your shirt is fingertip lenght. To get my fix of wearing leggings, i just wear yoga leggings cause they kind of look the same! :)

  23. 23
    March 7th, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    @Elle, I totally agree – I see this ALL the time on my campus! What’s worse, they wear them with short tops (belly-button length). I don’t have a problem with leggings as pants, as long as they’re worn properly (just like any piece of clothing, really. I’ve seen this with dress pants too, and it’s disturbing).
    Reason why I don’t wear leggings as pants though is because I find them INCREDIBLY uncomfortable. They’re either tight or they fit well but fall down, among other reasons. I’ve tried lots of different kinds, expensive and cheap. I’d rather stick with my jeans I can wear belts with!

  24. 24
    March 7th, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I’m my opinion, leggings should never ever be worn as pants.

  25. 25
    March 7th, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    It’s not a good look, and I doubt it’s “here to stay”. Leggings as pants is the kind of thing you’ll look back at in 20 years and be mortified by. “I wore THAT?!”

  26. 26
    March 7th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    I agree, as long as you’re wearing leggings/jeggings with a shirt or dress that is mid-length, it’s fine to wear pants as leggings. What really bothers me is when a girl is wearing leggings and a short shirt and it shows her “frontal wedgie”. It’s just not a good look ladies.

  27. 27
    March 7th, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    If the butt and crotch is covered then they are fine. Otherwise, no. I don’t want to see your butt and/or cameltoe. Honestly, while I like to lounge around in leggings and wear them for workouts, I wish the trend would die. They just aren’t flattering on many women and it just seems like very few people actually know how to wear them.

  28. 28
    March 7th, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    I’m more of a tights person myself. I haven’t worn leggings since middle school, especially since my high school was all “NO LEGGINGS!!” But I can admire the style. I personally will never risk that wardrobe malfunction.

  29. 29
    March 7th, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Lots of people look great in leggings, and they’re really comfortable, but I personally think it looks like you forgot to wear bottoms.

  30. 30
    March 7th, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    I think there are a lot of issues that can occur with wearing the almighty legging. That said, I personally find them to be amazing. I have severe abdominal discomfort issues and bloat to an insane degree during the day (literally to the point where I look pregnant. Lovely, eh?) and having leggings is a GODSEND.

    I work in a very relaxed office (construction setting) where I’m allowed to wear leggings if I need to. I always keep a pair in my bag just in case abdominal discomfort strikes when I’m wearing pants or jeans with no give. I always try to wear a long top with some good finishing pieces like a scarf, earrings, and boots so I don’t look too messy.

  31. 31
    March 7th, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I’m on the fence about this. I think leggings look better (classy!) when not worn as pants: either with a tunic or under a skirt/dress, etc. But as a dancer, I’m wearing leggings as pants a lot. So, only in the dance studio?

  32. 32
    March 7th, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Nope, to me leggings look like tights and when you wear them as pants you look like you forgot to put a skirt on. It’s just lazy.

  33. 33
    March 7th, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I frequently wear leggings as pants around campus, but I usually try and wear a shirt or cardigan that covers my bottom, just to be safe. I think that when worn correctly (with cute flats or riding boots and a cute top), they can look kind of trendy and cute more so than “lazy.” I’ll admit, I have days (like today!) when I just wear a t-shirt, giant cardigan and leggings and look kind of lazy, but most of the time I try to class them up a bit. I do agree that when they’re see-through, or when there is an excess of camel toe/wedgies, they can look kind of bad and aren’t suitable as pants. But when there’s full coverage, they’re fantastic!

  34. 34
    March 7th, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    I feel like leggings as pants can only work on girls that are very thin and don’t have alot of curves. Idk, that’s just my personal opinion, because I have curves myself and don’t feel comfortable wearing leggings as pants. I do love jeggings though, the ones at AE look just like jeans and they super comfortable.

  35. 35
    March 7th, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Just for the record…Audrey Hepburn wore cigarette pants, not leggings. I don’t think leggings as pants are a problem if they’re thick, opaque ones. Though I do think they’re more flattering with slightly longer tops, like ones that cover at least most of your butt. If they’re the right fabric, there’s really not much of a difference between leggings and yoga pants. It’s just like skinny of boot cut jeans. A friend of mine wear cheap ones though, I’ve told her that I can see her underwear and skin through them (I’d want to know!) but she continues to wear them, looks a bit tacky to me.

  36. 36
    March 7th, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    I love wearing leggings. Honestly, if they are opaque and you look good in them (aka have the right body type), there should be no rule against it. As with all clothing, leggings have to be worn the right way. When I wear leggings I fall somewhere between the regular shirt length and the mid-thigh (though I’m never on the ends of the spectrum).

    What I don’t understand is why everyone is so “okay” with yoga pants and not leggings. Yoga pants have an extra band at the top (almost always completely covered by a shirt) and are looser from the knee down (I didn’t know that showing the outline of your calf is suddenly controversial?). They’re the same thing – so society needs to stop judging people who wear one of them instead of the other.

  37. 37
    March 7th, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    To me, I think people shouldn’t wear leggings as pants because that’s like walking in a short white shirt with nothing of a bottom then your underwear. But I mean if you wear leggings the right way then I guess they could be use as pants. But I seen WORST then people wearing leggings as pants. In my school one girl made a big fashion no-no which she even said she will never do again. Ready to know what she did? she wear TIGHTS as Pants ! One outfit was a long regular shirt with black tights and boots (which cover the front and back but she had trouble covering when she try walking up many stairs). The second Outfit was her wearing a nice sweater that reached her hips with two pair of tights on for pants. All day she was walking around showing everything. Good thing her friends told her that and put on her jacket that at least covered a little. She even told herself that Tights don’t make a great pair of pants and now she sticks with real pants or leggings.
    Do You Think Tights Can Be Worn As Pants Collage Fashion?
    I don’t think so. But what do you think?

  38. 38
    March 7th, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    i’m still in high school and almost every girl i know wears leggings as pants! i live in canada, where its too cold for shorts and skirts even in spring, so leggings are a cute, simple, and weather-friendly way to cover up without COVERING up (do i make sense?) i think as long as covering your front and your butt isn’t “eating” the fabric, you’re good to go. i own four pairs of forever 21 black leggings that i wear 98% of the time haha!

  39. 39
    March 7th, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    I’ve always said no to wearing leggings as pants…however those photos that you lead with, their outfits were so cute! I know this might sounds a little judgmental but I think it depends on your body type. Not everyone can do this, the girls in the photo yes but everyone that actually ends up wearing them in daily lives mostly shouldn’t be half the time. Sorry but we were all thinking it! It’s a good topic to blog about because everyone has an opinion about this and they are usually very passionate about it!

  40. 40
    March 7th, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    I think the main rule as others have said is to make sure it covers your lady bits (lol), your butt, and possibly part of your thighs that perhaps jiggle a little more than other areas.

    Now I’m not knocking on heavier girls, I myself am officially unfit and average weight (now been going back to the gym though!…I’m a used to be fit girl who hit grad school enough said lol), but I’ve also noticed that leggings as main legwear does not do so well for women with more jiggle than tone in the legs…it just doesn’t do that type of girl justice. There’s nothing wrong in the belief of “big and beautiful” but I believe that means choosing things that make you look good for your body. I used to wear leggings with tunics all the time for example but now that I’m really un-toned in my thighs, legs etc. I don’t so much anymore. On the otherhand there are bigger girls who are extremely toned and fit and leggings look amazing on them so specifically what I mean is stay away if they don’t support your legs and allow for lots of jiggling with every step. Jeggings for example provide much better support (a good quality pair) than the 10 dollar pair of leggings.

  41. 41
    March 8th, 2013 at 12:12 am

    I think leggings as pants are ok with a long tunic top, but I’ve never seen them look flattering with a shorter top. Skinny jeans or thick jeggings are worlds better.

  42. 42
    March 8th, 2013 at 1:59 am

    I can’t stand seeing women wear legging with a top that isn’t long enough to cover their butt and front area because I think it is plain lazy and unfashionable. If girls want to wear leggins with a short top do so at home.

  43. 43
    March 8th, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    thank you so much for the article. i stopped wearing leggings a while ago because i was so disgusted of how some girls look on them. i agree with every thing you said and i wish every girl out there can read this article. great job!

  44. 44
    March 8th, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    I typically wear long shirts with leggings.

    They’re are comfy and cute!

  45. 45
    March 8th, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    this link provides most of the reasons why I don’t wear leggings as pants

  46. 46
    March 8th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I like leggings as pants, but they have to be a very specific pair and type and quality of leggings paired with a very specific type and length of shirt. All the example pictures you have above seem okay to me, although the shirts in 2 and 4 seem a bit short for how much bum leggings show off. A good quality pair of leggings can look good one anyone of any body type, just the same as a bad pair of leggings can look really bad on anyone.

  47. 47
    March 8th, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Sara, awesome link, CF should have probably posted that for everyone to see.

  48. 48
    March 8th, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Audrey Hepburn didn’t wear leggings. She wore hot pants. Hot pants are similar to leggings except they are high rise (belly button height) and are usually made of thicker fabric. Hot pants are a great alternative to leggings, and look particularly good on short girls with little waists because they accentuate the middle and elongate the legs. The thickness prevents any see-through-ness or crouch problems, though panty lines may still be an issue.

    I have no idea why more people don’t wear them. They’re as comfortable as leggings, but you can wear them with crop tops or tucked in shirts without exposing too much. They’re not even expensive. I’ve found pairs at Target and Forever 21.

    ***Originally, the term “hot pants” referred to very short tight high waisted shorts, but since longer versions were created those are now just called hot shorts.


  49. 49
    March 9th, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I’m comfortable with my body–in fact, I love my body! But that doesn’t mean I show it to everyone! No way would I wear leggings as pants.

  50. 50
    March 9th, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Leggings are not pants! Pants are pants! Leggings are an undergarment. Even if you like to expose yourself in this way, to get a more removed social perspective, consider this: would you ever let your daughter leave the house while forgetting to put on real clothes? If you like the for the ease or comfort, just throw on sweatpants; they require the same or even less effort and they properly clothe the body, even if they still look sloppy.

  51. 51
    March 9th, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I wore leggings as pants….ONCE. Never again. I had a very very cheap pair of thin black leggings and thought hey why not. I wore a long-ish short and I felt SO awkward the whole day. Now I do wear yoga leggings, siince they are very thick and have a band. I think it really matters how you wear them. I’ve seen some girls wear them and look fabulous and others wear them and look so trashy I felt embarrased for them. Even with a short shirt I think it can occaisonally look ok. And I think looking lazy is different than looking comfy. Comfort is attractive and fine, lazy is trashy in it’s own way.

  52. 52
    March 10th, 2013 at 5:53 am

    Just NO. Unless your blouse is long enough to cover your backside. Seeing girls wearing leggings as pants totally looks awkward, plus the panty lines that seeps through, especially if your leggings are thin.

  53. 53
    March 10th, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    I used to be absolutely against wearing leggings as pants, but after finding a pair that go with everything, I find myself wearing my faux leather leggings as pants religiously. I usually only wear them as pants if I have a longer top.

  54. 54
    March 11th, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    There are ways to wear leggings as pants, with a little ingenuity.

    The first key is to layer leggings over black opaque tights: This ensures complete opacity, support, and negates the opportunity for any back or front wedges.

    I think that leggings in public should also be paired with very sharp looking details. Wearing leggings with a hoodie is easy, but it also goes to a level of over-the-top sloppiness that I don’t personally find appropriate. Leggings with a collared shirt, blazer, and scarf looks entirely chic. Or you can go the other direction and wear leggings with a leather jacket, and edgy accessories for a more punk rock look.

    In either case, I don’t think there’s a definite rule to fashion, and I certainly don’t think that the argument on a basis of being revealing is really valid with some of the other trends of the moment (crop tops, bustiers, cut out dresses, bodycon anything, jeggings, short shorts, etc.)

  55. 55
    March 11th, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    I think the key to making leggings work in public is proportion!
    I personally am known to throw on leggings as pants on my rushed mornings or cold days and I have actually seen many girls pull off the look.
    But just look at the photos at the top of the article. All the women are wearing leggings as pants, but they are also all wearing looser tops that don’t show off too much.
    I think that a pair of leggings can look fantastic with an oversize sweatshirt, long loose knit sweater, a nice shirt and cardigan but i don’t think it can ever look “right” with a tight shirt.

  56. 56
    March 11th, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Leggings have been my go-to for so long, I’ve stopped wearing jeans. I make sure that my front and back are covered, and I also opt for the thicker, cotton leggings so that there’s no issue with transparency or sheerness. I also make sure that the tops I wear with leggings are long enough. I’m pretty lucky though, seeing as I’m only 4’11”, because most tops will hit mid-thigh for me (if they don’t and I know I want to wear a top with leggings, I make sure to size up for a longer length).

  57. 57
    March 11th, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Personally, as long as my butt and any potential camel toe are covered I’m fine with leggings as pants. I don’t think tunics or dresses are an absolute necessity as long as you’re not being trashy and putting everything out in the open. A great tip is to buy long tanks from somewhere like H&M so they will hide your butt and give you a little more coverage!

  58. 58
    March 13th, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I think the real meaning behind leggings as pants is those people who DON’T wear shirts long enough to cover their butts and camel toes, and that no one has a problem with leggings as pants if you wear a tunic.

  59. 59
    March 18th, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    I like leggings with skirts, dresses, and tunics. They are fine as athletic wear but those ones are thicker and more supportive and with a running jacket and sneakers you have the “sporty look”. But to wear as pants seems sloppy cuz you have your “stuff” hanging out and it looks exactly as if you are wearing tights by itself. It’s unflattering to me. That’s just my opinion.

  60. 60
    March 19th, 2013 at 7:15 am

    I wear leggings all the time and so do many people in my school. They aren’t too revealing like said in the article. They make me look good unlike other pants

  61. 61
    May 4th, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    The only thing I wear to class are leggings with a t-shirt. They’re comfortable and that’s all I need for class. I usually throw on yoga pants with a normal A&F t-shirt and I’m done. I’m sure that I don’t have a frontal wedgie and I’m comfortable enough with my butt to leave it exposed. Leggings aren’t tights, therefore, they are pants.

  62. 62
    May 24th, 2013 at 8:38 am

    i disagree with alot of these comments ,
    as long as there thick good quality leggings and compliment ur figure then i believe it can look very flatterin with a nice crop top on a night out…
    we dont want no crotch lines or any thing like that but ive seen it compliment alot of girls and myself i like the look of thick black leggings with a nice crop top works well , but however i do agree that some people just fail at trying to work leggings, work it the right way or just dont work it at all! ;)

  63. 63
    June 15th, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    I love leggings:)
    I especially love running tights.
    The have flattering seams and are way more structured than regular leggings. they also have gussets so no crotch wedgie. Sometimes you can even get some that look like your everyday matte leggings such a the Nike Legend pants and Lululemon wunderunders! Some times i even just wear them with sporty jackets.

  64. 64
    July 17th, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Leggings as pants is definitely a controversial issue! Check out my opinion on my blog!

  65. 65
    August 2nd, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I wear leggings as pants all the time, even with shirts that don’t cover my whole bottom. I make sure that my leggings aren’t see-through and isn’t causing any wedgies in the front or back. They are best black for a more slimming look and go virtually with anything. The only type of leggings I wear are dark blue or black so people are shocked when I tell them it’s actually not jeans, but leggings. If you’re comfortable in leggings, wear them. If you’re not, don’t wear them and don’t judge. It’s that simple.

  66. 66
    August 9th, 2013 at 12:57 am

    I personally love leggings. They’re comfy and i can wear them on lazy days or dress the up. I love wearing legging with boots. Though I do agree that I have seen people wearing them in a distasteful way. That doesn’t mean that leggings are unfashionable. That can be said about other types of clothes as well there’s always a “right” and “wrong” way to wear anything, but just because you saw some other girl’s camel toe or pantie line doesn’t mean that’s how everyone who wears looks.

  67. 67
    August 25th, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Leggings are fine as pants. Most people just don’t know how to wear them. I’ve worn them almost always for the last few years, and I get compliments about my style regularly. In fairness, I am pretty stick thin, so there’s not a lot that tight leggings can do to expose my body (not that that should matter, as people should be able to wear whatever they want no matter their body type, but in relation to the stigma around leggings, I’m sure you know what I mean).

    But getting back to my point. People do not know how to wear leggings. There are different kinds of leggings. If they are thin and opaque, you must wear something long to cover yourself. If they are really thin and tight, and highlight your body a little too much, you must wear something long. But so many leggings are really thick. I have leggings that are literally thicker than some of my jeans, and they cause me absolutely no problems. They make my butt look great too. Quite frankly I’ve never heard of people needing “support” from their pants, but maybe that’s just me. I don’t think they are lazy at all. But I don’t wear them in a lazy way. They are not sweat pants. If you’re gonna wear them with some frumpy over sized top and running shoes, ya, you’re gonna look a little lazy. But that just comes down to styling them wrong.

    Like I said, there’s absolutely nothing about leggings in general that make them different than pants. It’s merely that most people don’t know how to dress themselves or style leggings, and therefore write them off as lazy, subpar versions of pants.

  68. 68
    September 17th, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    wear leggings made out of Terry….complete coverage!

  69. 69
    September 21st, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Leggings should never be worn alone as pants. They can become tacky, very easily. Also, anyone that weighs over 100 lbs or without perfect legs should stay far away from these glorified pantyhose. There is a huge difference in fads and Fashion Style.

  70. 70
    October 9th, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    I think people have a huge stick up their ass about this and need to let it go. Tights and leggings can look amazing as pants. Why are you policing other people’s bodies and fashion choices? Get over it.

  71. 71
    October 15th, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Leggings can only be worn as pants in an athletic situation… such as climbing or rowing!

  72. 72
    October 28th, 2013 at 1:24 am

    Crop tops NO, regular t-shirts, YES! Need
    a good pair of jeggings/leggings, not the thin material. Also correct size. I have thin legs, small butt & little bit of tummy, try and keep the tummy covered then feel good about dressing in regular t-shirt with jeggings, hate tunics.

  73. 73
    October 29th, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    The key to wearing them as pants is wearing the darker colors. Blacks, browns or even the fake denim are so much more flattering then the lighter colors because they don’t show the pantylines as easyily. I don’t rock leggings as pants all the time, just if I am at home or running around town cause they are so comfortable. If I am with my friends or whatever I wear jeans only because they seem a bit more put together.

  74. 74
    November 2nd, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    This is why we have to wear shirts that are knee length with leggings at my school

  75. 75
    November 2nd, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    #gstar school of the arts

  76. 76
    November 7th, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    What is this about having to wear “pants” for “support”?? Your bottom is not the same as your breasts, is it? Unless you are particularly old, overweight, or saggy, why do you need pants to provide adequate coverage?

    I maintain that as long as you are wearing a top that at least drapes down in the back and covers the waistband areas, and the fabric is thick enough that you can’t see your underwear or cellulite if you have it (God forbid!), then you ‘re golden. What is the difference? Do you really need a zipper and pockets in order to be considered presentable?

  77. 77
    November 11th, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I wear leggings as post if my shirt is big!

  78. 78
    November 12th, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Leggings should be worn with long shirts, sweaters, or tunics. Anything that covers the butt and the cookie box. Wearing leggins any other way…just looks plain stank! Let’s be honest here…

  79. 79
    November 14th, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I love leggings! There are more positives to them than negative! They’re so comfortable and can make any outfit look good. Although, I do agree that certain types of leggings shouldn’t be worn as a pants, such as those that are see-through. Great article though!

  80. 80
    November 19th, 2013 at 11:04 am

    IMO Leggings as pants depends on the person wearing them. I’m a thicker girl, I have a smaller waist but a large bottom (Latina hips :)) and I love leggings. Why? Because finding a good pair of jeans that don’t rise up to my neck, or look I have a penis (forever21 plus size I’m looking at you) or is really hard to find. I agree with some, if they’re too sheer, don’t wear them or even better, put 2 pairs on. The best thing about leggings are that if the thighs run out (I’m built very close together, thigh gap is something I’ll never have) I can buy another pair without a problem. I don’t have the money to spend on 100 dollar jeans, especially if I want them in different colors and patterns.

  81. 81
    December 8th, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    I would argue that wearing leggings with a tunic top etc. isn’t wearing them as pants. The problem is when people wear them with a shorter top and you end up seeing pretty much everything, especially if they’re made of thinner fabric (which most are). No one wants to see your underwear, especially to the point of knowing what colour they are and the fact that you have a wedgie (sadly, I’ve witnessed this more than once…). If they are jeggings or treggings or just very thick and definitely, beyond a doubt, have subjected them to testing under the brightest of lights with contrasting coloured underwear and they still dont show anything, and there’s definitely no camel toe risk (sorry lol) then fine, but otherwise always ALWAYS wear them with something that covers that whole area. PLEASE!

  82. 82
    December 29th, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    The argument is pretty much over – Women of all ages, sizes and shapes are now wearing leggings as pants.

  83. 83
    January 1st, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    First I think they come in handy when you’re losing weight
    2nd It’s much easier to find one that fits you then a pair of jeans, mostly of the time i don’t find one that does fit (I’m white but i have a big but and really really (and i mean really) long legs)
    So i think it’s much handier then finding a good pair of pants and not having to buy a new one while I’m losing weight…

  84. 84
    January 30th, 2014 at 9:23 am

    To be honest, I don’t like the trend. Leggings are meant to be worn under shorts, skirts, and dresses as a way to keep your legs warm. Nowadays, girls wear leggings with tee shirts, thinking that the shirt is a dress. This is how I feel about this.

  85. 85
    February 20th, 2014 at 3:24 am

    Personally i love wear legging all the time. I think you just have to know how to wear them. Altho all my leggings are very thick material because i tend to make my own so ik they fit right and wont show but i love pairing my favourite velvet leggings with a tank top and my favourite creepers or platforms and a side braid or beanie Im a comfort kinda girl and ik a lot of girl just like me. I hate wearing jeans and i have super long skinny legs, leggings just make them look so good. I always get alot of comments on my clothing in a good way but like i said i make my own leggings so there fitted just for my and i line the inside so there never see threw i just think girls need to learn to wear them better thats all. Plus since i have long legs i find it hard to find a pair of jeans that fit right length wise and i dont always want to spend 100+ dollars on one pair of pants

  86. 86
    April 2nd, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Jeggings have a similar style to skinny jeans. They are more comfy and stretcher so, I agree that it makes it less structured. However, when worn with heels and a tee or a blouse, I think it still looks suitable.

    Leggings on the other hand, have a thinner material, hence are more transparent, so I only wear leggings with a long top or old dresses that are too short and doesn’t have the right fit with tights any more.

    I tend to wear leggings as part of a quick outfit (with a jumper) to put on if I am not planning on going anywhere or if I just want to lounge around at home.

    Also, when worn with long boots, leggings can look like thick tights and keep girls legs warm!

    I have a variety of leggings and my favourite is the velvet type – warmer, comfy and thicker (less see-through!). Plain black goes well with all outfits, but adding coloured leggings for a causal day can add a bit more of a fun, fresh and youthful look and patterned leggings look nice too and can have the more outgoing look, but personally, tops that go over the tush makes the outfit more acceptable and less ‘cheap’ and careless.

    As with wearing leggings under shorts, it can look okay, but I’ve never really been a fan of the style because if shorts are too short and revealing, then wearing thin tights is all right, but adding leggings of a much denser material ruins the idea of shorts being able to show their legs and if leggings are worn to keep warm, then why wear shorts – a garment suited for hotter weather?

    With many clothes, it can also depend on the quality and the make of the product because if it is more expensive, you are usually guaranteed better quality, which makes the outfit look classier and if it is a slightly different material then there are different options of what to wear it with.

    Good article and I like how this argument has been analysed on both perspectives of the matter.

  87. 87
    May 17th, 2014 at 3:59 am

    When doing sports leggings er great. And for chilling at home. When you want to wear them on a night out, you better make sure to chose an elegant pair that has a bit of class.

  88. 88
    August 2nd, 2014 at 8:08 am

    I wear what’s appropriate regardless its name: leggings, bodycon, bustier top, slip dress. The lines of piece of clothing is basically so blurred right now. That top which resembles a corset? Is that an outer garment or under garment? Women from 1880 would basically laugh at Rihanna in their graves.

    Now, by what’s appropriate, it means not too much cleavage for business, no showing panties, panty lines, visible camel toes during broad daylight or anything that leaves nothing to imagination.

    So yes. I wear leggings as pants. I wear them with oversized t-shirts, tunics, button down blouse covering my crotch. I wear them during summer not in colder days. I find them comfortable and not as heavy as jeans.

    This is 21st century which means what’s a staple standard in 1980 (leggings as underwear) cannot be put into nowadays standard so long as it is still appropriate and covering your body anatomy. For instance, I won’t be caught dead wearing lace slip dress inspired for business meeting even with jackets on. It is too sexy. Hence: inappropriate.

  89. 89
    August 5th, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Just wanted to add that Aritzia’s leggings (though on the expensive side), definitely cover everything and are quite thick. If I’m just popping out to the library, I’ll put those on with a regular length shirt and it covers everything quite nicely!

  90. 90
    September 8th, 2014 at 11:34 am

    A beautition told me to wear stretch pants that I would look much better in them.

  91. 91
    October 16th, 2014 at 10:00 am

    In reality women of all ages, shapes and sizes are wearing leggings as pants. They are wearing them with long and short tops. Most women find them very comfortable. And for the most part women look very attractive, and some are sexy while wearing leggings. Yes, there are a few women look trashy or gross in them, but the same can be said about skirts or shorts or any other article of clothing.
    Personally I found that leggings worn with shorts, skirts or dresses as not being attractive. If wearing a skirt wear a skirt, if wearing shorts wear shorts, but do not wear them in combo with leggings (although sheer tights great with skirts and/or dresses). I love the feel and look of leggings when pared with tops that are no longer then mid-butt.
    The three most common problem sheerness, wedgies and cameltoes can be overcome by buying the leggings of the right material weight and cut for your body.
    I have basically given up on jeans. Anytime I have the choice of jeans or leggings I now opt for leggings.

  92. 92
    November 1st, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    There is only question about leggings that matters:

    Are they opaque or transparent?

    If they’re transparent, the wearer runs the risk of arrest for exposure. Make sure they’re not before going out.

    If they’re opaque, then the opinions of idiots don’t matter. Anyone (any gender, any sexual identity, and sexual orientation) has the right to wear what they like as long as it’s legal.

    Those who don’t like seeing people in leggings and lycra tights need to grow up, grow a brain and STOP LOOKING. Nobody is forcing them to look, they’re choosing to stare and stick their noses into other people’s business.

    The US really needs to get out of the 16th century with its prudish and juvenile attitude towards the human body. A hundred murders are seen per hour on TV and movies, and nobody bats an eye. A tight piece of clothing or glimpse of a natural human body happens, and everyone freaks out.

  93. 93
    November 9th, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    I wear leggings for comfort and the fact that jeans are too constricting even though they are the right size(which is hard to come by as is). All my leggings have thick material and can be dressed up and down are so damn pretty with all the designs now and i don’t have to stress about what shoes to wear. Even when I feel like crap wearing them keep me from looking how i feel so i’ll stick to them.

  94. 94
    January 19th, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Just curious: How do you all feel about guys wearing running tights at the Starbucks after a run? I think if you are looking at my package, that is you being creepy and has nothing to do with me. It is just the human body.

Links to This Article

Leave a Reply


* Comment Rules: CF is a positive place and our comments section is no different. Constructive criticism is fine, but if you're rude, we'll delete your comment. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name and do not put your website in the comment text, as both come off like spam. For more info, see our Comment Policy. Have fun & thanks for adding to the conversation!


* Want a custom avatar to show up next to your comments? Sign up for a free Gravatar.