There is no denying the appeal of a good pair of leggings. As the most comfortable pants in the rotation, these staples have gained serious popularity over the years, going from workout-exclusive to a common sight at the gym, on campus and at the office. And we’re so grateful. There’s simply no comparison to a good pair of comfortable, flattering leggings. Yes, we all love to lounge in our leggings. But we believe that, with the right pair, it’s totally possible to make your comfiest pants look chic and polished, too. Here’s how.
- Choose a More Structured Fabric—The first step in learning how to dress up leggings is to pick the right pair. Those soft, cottony, pajama-like pants you got at a home shopping party aren’t the best choice if you’re going for dressy. Instead, choose a pair of structured shaper leggings that provide some gentle compression at the top to smooth and suck in the midsection. And, as much as we all adore wearing fun patterns at home, stick to solid colors in black or navy outside the house. Skip the grays, as these tend to look more sweatpants-inspired than dressy.
- Pair Them with Heels—Who says you have to wear sneakers or flats with leggings? Not us! The most obvious way to give your softest pair of pants a little polish is to style them with some super-chic heels. For brunch or a fun night out with your girlfriends, choose some cute ankle strap heels. To get that ultra-trendy fall and winter look, choose some heeled booties that add a little height and drama.
- Pair Them with Loafers—Want a fast and easy way to make leggings office-friendly? Grab yourself a good pair of cute loafers. Choose a pair in leather, suede or a dazzling animal print (leopard or snakeskin, perhaps?) if you really want to give your bottom half some extra pizzazz. Leggings are generally ideal for showing off your fave pair of shoes because they don’t conceal in the same way wide-leg or bootleg cut pants do. Go bold with your footwear!
- Consider a 7/8 Style Pant—7/8 pants are somewhere between a crop and a full-length pant, and they are among the hottest legging trends of the moment (hot tip: they also serve petite ladies really well). We love them in the dress-up department because they create that sleek sliver of ankle that looks so polished with the right pair of heels. A pair of capri-length leggings will also help you achieve the stylish exposed ankle and calf look when it’s warmer out.
- Pair Them with a Button–Down—Button-down shirts scream classy and professional, so you’re definitely going to want to add a few to your legging outfit arsenal. Perfect for the office, meetings and more, the button-up and legging combo can be taken up a notch or two with some loafers, mules or low heels. For a flirtier option that’s better for brunch or dinner, choose a silky button-up or something in a fun, vibrant pattern.
- Layer Up—We adore layers because they ensure that we stay at the perfect temperature at all times and they help pull together otherwise not-cohesive outfits. If you want to add a dressy component to your legging looks, consider topping it off with a chic blazer (in work environments) or a nice, structured cardigan or kimono (in dressy social environments). This will help give your entire look a little bit of polish without introducing anything stiff or uncomfortable.
- Wear Them Under a Dress—Who says leggings can’t serve as tights? This look is the ideal option in the winter or when you want a little extra coverage on the legs. And if you’re like many women who feel self-conscious about your midsection, a pair of leggings in a compression fabric will do wonders at creating a smooth, flawless silhouette beneath any dress.
Comfort Is Confidence
Have you ever noticed that when you’re wearing something super comfortable, you just feel better about yourself? Our favorite thing about cute leggings—whether worn to lounge, work or play—is that they serve as serious confidence-boosters. Don’t be afraid to rock your fave pair of comfy pants to more dressy occasions. Just make sure to follow some of these awesome tips when you do!