Leggings can be a stylish alternative to solid opaque tights, pantyhose and other leg coverings, and you don’t have to be a teenager to wear them. Restraint is the key to avoiding an overdone, too-young or badly proportioned look. Use these simple tips as a guide to incorporating this affordable, comfortable, chic style staple into your wardrobe.
Keep It Simple and Stylish
Avoid crazy patterns and opt for dark colors or other neutrals to avoid overkill. If you pair your legwear with other solids, however, a subtle pattern or stylish detail can add textural interest in the same way that patterned tights would.
If you’re young enough to not have to worry about looking overly youthful, you can get away with brighter colors and bolder prints. If you are a little older, you should be careful to wear bold colors and patterns with subtle solids.
Despite the assertion that rules were made to be broken, these style restrictions will help ensure that your leggings are in proper proportion to your other clothes. In general, think long — no short shorts, miniskirts or short tops.
Don’t sabotage your legging look by exposing your behind beneath a skimpy shirt. Too-short bottoms draw too much attention to your legwear, making it all about a fashion trend instead of making you look fabulous and pulled-together.
On the other hand, pairing these leg coverings with long or fuller-cut skirts also makes for a badly proportioned look. Capris and other longer pants are no-nos as well. Stick with a just-above-the-knee skirt or shorts length for best results.
You could also opt for a longer top or blouse, but don’t go as long as mid-thigh. If you feel less-than-polished wearing leggings under a long sweater or top, cinch the waist with a belt and throw on a pair of moderately high heels.
Living in the 80s
Pair these almost-pants with closed-toe shoes, ankle boots or medium-height slouchy boots, with or without a heel. Leggings always look great with ballet flats, but wearing them with slouchy socks or legwarmers can make it seem like you’re headed to an 80s-themed costume party. Avoid flip-flops like the plague, and stay away from open-toed shoes in general.
Like most fashion items, this type of legwear can be adapted to suit your style. Your choices of colors and fabrics are major determining factors, and maintaining the right proportions is crucial. Think of this piece as an alternative to tights or pantyhose in the cold-weather months to help put things into perspective.
- Photo Credit: title=”Red Shoes” by sean_hickin, on Flickr
- Photo Credit: title=”Hilary Duff” by Juicyhilz, on Flickr
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