Yesterday’s post on leggings started a great discussion in the comments, so I thought I’d follow up with more information on how to apply this trend. I have seen all body types and ages pull off this look with style. From sizes 0 to 28 and petites to tall, it can be done. Here are some guidelines that might help:
- Dress or tunic style. You’ll want a dress that doesn’t cling and show through the detail of the leggings underneath. Thicker jersey knits, spandex knit blends and mesh work best. Fancier silk sack dresses will also work when paired with a heel. A-line patterned styles with empire cuts and front-knots work particularly well because they’re forgiving on the hip, tummy and thigh area. Straighter shift styles work well for those with apple and rectangular body types.
- Dress or tunic length. If you have slim thighs, wear your dress/tunic as short as mid-thigh length and no shorter. If you’re leg-shy or carry a little extra on your thighs, wear your dress around the knee (either just above, on, or just below). Do not wear leggings without wearing an extra long top, or as a substitute for pants. Those nightmarish ‘80’s fashion days are over.
- Leggings length. I like leggings best when they stop on the widest part of your calf because accentuating a shapely calf muscle is flattering. Somehow, this length seems to work whether you have small or big calves. Wearing leggings that stop below your knees but above your calf muscle will also work. Wearing them ankle length looks best paired with a high heel. Most leggings are ankle length which means that you’ll need to scrunch them up to your best length. This automatically makes them more opaque, which gives you extra coverage.
- Legging types. There are plenty of options to choose from. Footless tights are cheap and made of nylon. Brands like Hue, DKNY and Frenchi in plain colours will cost you between $6-$12 and you’ll find those in the hosiery section of any department store. Cotton lycra leggings will cost a little more ($22-$40) and you’ll find them scattered amongst the clothing. Once you get the dress right, you’ll get way with spending $6 on leggings.
- Shoe options. The look works with both flats and heels and will depend on your preference. If you feel a little flat-footed and short, opt for a heel. Ballet flats, wedges, fancy thong sandals and shoes with chunky heels are my favourite footwear combination for this look.
It’s fun to try a different look, especially if you feel in a bit of a rut with the clothes in your wardrobe, so give leggings a bash. If you still feel that the look is not quite “you”, you’ll at least have had a bash at something new.
A-line front-knot and empire cut dresses (left) are a “default” option for the leggings look. Sack dresses (right) also work magically with leggings (I personally prefer this combination with a small heel).