Source: Fabulous After 40
It’s a classic debate, hotly contested for what seems like forever (or at least since the 80s): Are leggings pants? Many women who have slipped on stretchy, skin-hugging, oh-so-comfortable leggings would love to tell you they are, but just as many others will declare it a cardinal fashion sin.
Need some more fashion advice to keep on top of the trends? Here’s how to wear jogger pants, 8 ways to wear white even after Labor Day, and our denim styling tips. Just remember, comfort and confidence are key!
If you’re on the fence about the great leggings debate, here are some occasions where it’s 100 percent appropriate to swap out sturdier fabrics like denim or wool for a pair of formfitting leggings:
- Any type of physical activity
- Lounging around the house
- Traveling (comfort is key!)
On the flip side, here are some situations where leggings can be a serious fashion faux pas:
- Professional settings
- With a too-short top
- Too-clingy or nearly see-through material
- When they aren’t able to keep everything where it should be
That being said, there are exceptions to these rules! Here’s how to wear leggings and look fabulously fashionable doing it!
Leggings at work? You bet!
Leggings can be worn in a professional setting if they’re styled correctly. A long-length tunic, sweater, or dress shirt layered over leggings can easily portray a chic, polished vibe. A more luxe fabric like the faux leather of these leggings from Nordstrom can help up the style factor.
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As one happy customer noted, “They actually don’t seem like leggings at all; they are more like pants which is exactly why they’re amazing — especially since I’m not a leggings fan!” Just keep in mind that leggings are much more clingy than your typical work pants, so cover up from at least the mid-thigh to preserve your decency.
Leggings that look like pants
If you’re not a fan of the legging/long shirt combo, leggings can be worn with shorter tops – provided they’re the right kind of legging. Many leggings actually have pant-like features, like corduroy leggings from JCPenney, which feature a faux fly and pockets but still offer all the comfort of your favorite stretchy pants.
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Leggings with pant-like details also make leggings more appropriate for all ages, as this customer commented: “Love these pants. Very comfortable and warm for winter. The thicker corduroy fabric helps make wearing a legging type pant feel more appropriate for a middle age woman.”
Invest in durable legging fabrics
Because of their stretchy fabric and formfitting silhouette, leggings tend to wear out more quickly than other pants. If you spot a hole or notice the fabric is thinning, kiss those leggings goodbye.
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Another option is to invest in a more durable pair of leggings, like this pair from Macy’s. Made from a thick cotton, polyester, and elastane blend, they’ll provide full coverage (and no Visible Panty Line or “VPL”) for many a wear.
Leggings come with “control tops”
Finally, leggings have often been cited for lacking the structure of say, a pair of jeans. But designers have responded by releasing more “control top” styles of leggings for everything from fitness to work wear to jeggings (or “jean leggings”).
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These fabulously priced leggings from Kohl’s are made from ponte, a rayon, polyester, and spandex blend that’s a popular pick for leggings for its comfort and stretch. Tightly woven, this durable fabric is perfect for cooler weather and can help hold you in where you need it most — look for an extra wide waistband for a bit more tummy control.
The proof is in the reviews: “I love the way they feel as they are not thin like some other leggings. Love the tummy control as the waist is nice and high which you can’t see when wearing a long top with them.”
It would appear then, that leggings can be worn as pants, provided you pick the right style and fabric for your body type and situation. With hundreds of colors, patterns, fabrics, and cuts to choose from, there’s sure to be a pair of leggings that belongs in your wardrobe out there!