10 Style Tips for Wearing Leggings

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1. mind your fabrics.

We all know that the standard rule for leggings is that they're not pants, but this is a bit misleading and outdated. Leggings can be worn as pants if -- and only if -- they're the right material. Look for pairs made with thick ponte knit or denim to ensure that what lies beneath stays out of sight.

2. learn to layer.

Leggings are made with fall layering in mind, so pair them with oversized tunics, roomy sweaters and long blazers. These slim styles streamline your lower body to balance bulky coats and jackets.

3. pay attention to proportion.

Speaking of balance, avoid wearing tight tops with these body-hugging bottoms. If you don't want your curves getting lost in a sea of fabric, layer a snug-fitting cropped sweater or vest atop a longer sheer blouse. This cinches your waist while keeping the outfit in proportion.

4. embrace neutrals.

Neutrals work for a reason: maximum versatility. Stock up on shades of black, charcoal, navy and heather grey. Just avoid shades that mimic your skin tone, as these can make you look nude from the waist down in public. (Never a good look.)

5. buy your size.

Resist the temptation to size down. Leggings should comfortably fit your body without digging into your hips or pinching your skin, so base your purchase on how the leggings feel rather than the size on the tag.

6. wear the right shoes.

Pay close attention to the footwear you choose to wear with your leggings. Flats, boots and brogues all work well, while platform heels and evening styles can prove more challenging.

7. use them to flatter.

Basic black is always slimming, but printed pairs with vertical patterns can similarly streamline your silhouette and elongate your legs.

8. use them as shapewear.

Many leggings are constructed with control top compression panels, which gives them the same shaping abilities as tights and hosiery.

9. dress them up.

Modern leggings are versatile enough for 9-to-5 wear or evenings out on the town. Style them with menswear layering essentials for an office-ready presentation, or pair them with flowing tunics and decadent jewelry for a fashionable date night.

10. dress them down.

Leggings are designed for comfort, so feel free to dress them down. Sneakers, oversized sweaters and cotton layering tees look casual-cool when partnered with this closet staple.