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It's hard to imagine anything as comfortable as a pair of leggings. Soft and stretchy, they feel almost like pajamas, but they can look gorgeous with the right shirt, shoes and accessories. However, for a simple piece of clothing, they can be quite controversial. Certain situations aren't leggings-friendly and some people think wearing them without a shirt that hides your derriere is one of the gravest fashion sins. Check out some of the most asked questions about this wardrobe staple and you'll know just how to rock them.
Leggings go with almost anything. Wear them with a women's sweater in the fall, under a dress in the winter, with a tee and jean jacket in spring and a sleeveless top and strappy sandals in the summer. If your leggings are on the thin side, make sure your shirt is longer and that you're wearing underwear that won't show through – always do a quick check in the mirror before heading outside!
Navigating a business casual dress code and finding the middle ground between 'formal' and 'anything goes' can be tricky. Leggings can definitely work in this kind of setting, but you'll need to style them appropriately. Stick to solid-colored pairs and wear them with a smart top, like a long blouse that falls past your bum and a matching cardigan. You can also wear a skirt over your leggings or pair them with a tunic top.
That depends on the office! If you work in a casual setting where anything goes, you can get away with leggings, but make sure they're in good shape – no ratty clothes allowed. A business casual setting can be leggings-friendly as long as you wear them with an elegant shirt and ballet flats or boots; sneakers are a no-no. If your office has a formal or corporate dress code, you'll have to leave the leggings for the weekend, though.
Super thin leggings really don't work as pants – if you wear them with a top that doesn't hide your rear, you'll be sharing much more with the world than you realize. Some leggings are made from sturdier fabric and even have the detailing you'd expect on regular trousers, like back pockets, so they can work as a pair of jeggings. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and put on a long shirt.
We hate to break it to you, but leggings simply aren't formal. That doesn't mean a plain black pair worn with pumps and a silk top doesn't look gorgeous, but it's not exactly black tie apparel. Leather leggings look fancier than a pair covered in polka dots, but once again, they won't work for a fancy wedding, Christmas celebration or dinner where everyone else is dressed to the nines, so leave the leggings for the afterparty back at your place.
Whether or not you can wear leggings to an interview is a much-debated question! Some people think it depends on the company, saying it's alright if you're applying to a trendy boutique or creative agency. Others believe it's always a no-no. No matter what, never wear them for an interview at a formal workplace, like a corporate office or law firm. And if you do decide to wear them, make sure everything else you wear, from your shirt to your shoes, is super nice.
Even if you live somewhere with cold, snowy weather, you can still wear leggings in the winter. They're a great substitute for tights when you're wearing a skirt or dress, but they can work on their own with a long sweater or shirt; for maximum toastiness, layer your tops. Add some knee-high boots to cover your legs and a pair of thick socks, too. A coat that reaches down to your calves offers extra protection as well.
Rejoice: leggings are smart casual! This kind of dress code allows for clothes that are generally laidback, but not sloppy – so leggings and a pretty blouse are fine, but not that faded tee that you got for free at the car wash. Usually, denim is a no-go and so are sneakers, so skip the jeggings and high tops and make sure your look is polished enough to pass muster.
Treat your leggings gently and they'll last a long time. That means always washing them in cold water with a mild, bleach-free detergent – you can even turn them inside-out to minimize fading. And let them air dry, as exposure to intense heat can damage delicate fibers like Lycra. Don't use any fabric softener when washing athletic leggings, as it can diminish their ability to wick away moisture and ruin any antibacterial properties.