One word: Pairings
Leggings are certainly one of the most controversial pieces of clothing that are just as much popular as they are shunned. From being becoming an essential staple to getting banned from schools, leggings are a love/hate topic, and there's a reason for that. It's a fine line to cross between well-dressed and under-dressed. Leggings will always be part of a pairings menu and ultimately, wearing leggings will be a hit or a miss depending on what other clothing pieces you decide to wear with them.
DO pair with slouchy sweaters & tunics
Adding a slouchy or oversized top adds balance to leggings. You can also try cardigans which have the same effect.
(Image from Women's Fashionizer)
DO NOT pair with crop tops or shirts short enough to see your bottom
In contrast, a fitted or crop top does not add balance to leggings. Wearing too many sleek clothing pieces won't add up.
DO pair with strap sandals or heeled boots
Most people think that throwing something together with heels will automatically class it up. Generally, yes. In this case, no. Because of their second-skin like tightness, type of soft fabric and where they typically cut off on the ankle, leggings tend to look bizarre with certain heels. Go for a heel with a strap: the strap with hit just where the leggings end and will combine the two perfectly. Or, try a pair of open-toed booties- this will instantly elongate your legs. One of our favorites is the Mannzo bootie by Steve Madden (shown below).
One of my favorite trends right now are the over-the-knee boots. If these are paired with leggings and an oversized sweater, it becomes a match made in heaven.
In contrast, pumps will not look right. From where the leggings end and the amount of skin showing on your foot will give the illusion that the wearer is shorter.
(Image from Pinterest)
DO NOT pair them with ballet flats, sandals or flip flops
Now, just because I'm naming flat shoes doesn't mean that ALL flat shoes are a "no." Many times, flats paired with leggings will make the feet appear bigger than they are, and sandals do no pair well with leggings. If you want to try a flat shoe, Try Everlane's Leather Street Shoe (pictured below) These shoes have been spotted on stars like Gigi Hadid and pair exceptionally well with black leather leggings.
DO pair with a long vest or trench coat
This is the easiest way to make the torso appear longer, because the sleek bottoms worn combined with a long coat or vest will pull the eye upwards (this illusion works the same way with vertical stripes).
(Image from Just the Design)
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT pair with a sweatshirt
I get it- being comfortable is important, and I'm all for the chilled-out sweatshirt look, as long as it's with something else. Try jeans, please. As soon as the leggings are on and the sweatshirt tops it off, the wearer will look like they were caught on laundry day.