11 Leggings Outfits That Are Comfy and Sophisticated

All things Leggings

Leggings have become a staple in every woman’s closet. They’re one of the most functional pants, able to seamlessly transition from morning yoga to workwear to date night to lounging at home. Because they’re both comfortable and chic, leggings have also become one of the most beloved “new” work wardrobe essentials for work from home.

There’s a lot to love about leggings. Their versatility makes them easy to dress up or down, and they’re really flattering. They can help cinch the waist, accentuate curves, lengthen the legs, and create a gorgeous silhouette on every body type. The comfort level of leggings is important too because when you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing, you’ll feel more confident and radiant. But leggings aren’t just comfortable, they can also be polished, chic, and sophisticated!

Today, we’ll go through the basics of the different lengths, fabrics, and styles of leggings, and then we’ll show you a bunch of our favorite outfits that feature—you guessed it—leggings.

All about leggings

Leggings lengths

Full-length or ankle-length leggings cut off at the ankle. They’re the perfect height for tucking into boots or socks, and they give the illusion of slim, long legs when worn with heels or booties.

Capri leggings or 7/8 style leggings stop just above the ankle. They’ve become popular in recent seasons, particularly for petite ladies who want to lengthen their legs. When paired with heels, this crop with exposed ankle is a sophisticated option for both cold and warm days.

Knee-length leggings cut off just below the knees. These are a more casual legging type not typically worn in professional or fashion-forward settings. They’re perfect for when you might want a little extra mobility when working out or less fabric on your legs while sweating.

Mid-calf leggings fall between knee-length and ankle-length, about three-quarters of the way down the leg. These are a beautiful option for dressing up more casual outfits, like when worn with an oversized shirt and stilettos or with a fitted sweater and block heel open-toe shoes.

Footed leggings cover the whole foot, similar to thicker stockings or tights. They work beautifully in place of tights, particularly on cold winter nights, and they can pair nicely with ballerina flats, heels, dresses, skirts, or long tees.  

Stirrup leggings are like ankle leggings but they have an extra piece of fabric that stretches to the bottom of the foot, between the heel and ball of the foot. These are called stirrup leggings because they look like you’re wearing stirrups (and they were originally worn by horseback riders so their leggings would stay in place in their boots). They’re becoming more popular for sportswear and streetwear, especially because they help your leggings stay in place without covering the whole foot (so you can still wear open-toed heels or cozy socks).

Bootcut leggings have become all the rage recently. Like bootcut jeans, bootcut leggings end just below the ankle, partially covering the tops of your shoes. Typical bootcut leggings can instantly transition from relaxing on the couch with fluffy socks to next-level, work-ready with booties or heels. We particularly love bootcut leggings that have a short slit that reveal the front of the foot. Paired with heels, slit bootcut pants are a great way to lengthen the leg and create a polished look (even whilst wearing your favorite comfy pants). The slit is also a great way to show off the front of your boots, sneakers, or lace up sandals. 

Leggings fabrics

You can find leggings in just about every fabric imaginable.

  • Cotton leggings are super soft and great for lounging at home or for casual events.
  • Spandex leggings are stretchy and more water-resistant, perfect for the gym. They also act similar to shapewear in how they “hold in” the tummy and thighs.
  • Nylon leggings are popular because they’re durable, lightweight, and wrinkle-free.
  • Leather (and faux leather) leggings are sexy and trendy. They are a great option for date night, going to a concert, or showing off your sultry, rebellious side.
  • Suede leggings are comfortable, but they give an elevated and refined look (similar to trousers).
  • Bamboo leggings are my personal favorite because they’re highly sustainable and super Like, really soft.
  • Wool leggings are perfect for keeping you warm on cold winter days. They give an outdoorsy, cozy vibe that’s great for hiking the mountains or cuddling up by the fire.
  • Jeggings are a combination of denim jeans and leggings, giving the look of jeans but with added comfort.

Choosing sustainable fabrics

However, some of these leggings fabrics aren’t sustainable. Nylon is synthetic and directly derived from petroleum oil and coal. Spandex production is highly energy-intensive, and the degradation of spandex can take up to 200 years. Furthermore, spandex fibers end up in our waterways and can seriously harm aquatic life, reduce drinking water quality, and contribute to the negative changes in the ocean. Learn more about global efforts towards more sustainable fashion here.

Choose more natural leggings options like cotton, bamboo, and wool to minimize your negative impact on the environment. Check out these other eco-friendly fabrics here.

Quality matters

Leggings hug your legs tightly. So, the quality of the fabric matters. Low-quality fabric or ill-fitting leggings can itch, be uncomfortable, and make you look “frumpy.” They can even cause bad reactions to those with sensitive skin, or they can make you uncomfortable after waxing or shaving. The quality of the fabric matters to how you look and feel in your leggings. Investing in a quality pair of leggings will be worth the investment tenfold!

Legging styles

There are so many styles of leggings out there. Think of all the combinations just of the different lengths and fabrics that we’ve already talked about! Then consider the colors and prints too. You can find leggings in all sorts of fun prints, like animal prints or glittery sequins (great for the holidays). You typically want to stick to navy or black for a professional, chic look, but don’t be afraid to try out fun leggings styles for different kinds of outfits and events.

11 comfy + sophisticated leggings outfits

1. Throw on a white tee and denim jacket with your favorite leggings

black leggings with white tee and denim jacket

This is one of the easiest and comfiest outfits of all time, but it also always looks so purposeful and put-together. Throw on your most flattering pair of black leggings, a quality white tee (no stains or yellow marks), and a denim jacket. If it gets warm, you can tie the jacket around your waist and the outfit still looks cool.

black leggings with white tee and denim jacket

Elevate this look with accessories like sunglasses, layered necklaces, handbags, and statement earrings. Look chic while running errands with sneakers and flats, or pair with strappy heels for a relaxed showstopper.

Next Read: How to wear athleisure and still look chic with 10 comfy looks

2. Pair leggings with an untucked white button-down

black leggings and white button-down

If you want a professional look that’s chic, cute, and comfortable, throw a crisp white button-down over black leggings. Leave the shirt untucked to create an effortless French girl style vibe. Pair with sneakers and a hat for a cute day on the town or add heels and sunglasses for a more polished look.

black leggings and white button-down with heels 

When it comes to this style, the material and quality of each piece matter most. For example, cotton leggings and a plain collar shirt work for a casual look, but a silk button-down paired with leather leggings or embellished leggings will instantly dress up this outfit. You can also add a little intrigue to this outfit by wearing an oversized white button-down with a thin belt to cinch the waist and show off your body’s natural form.

3. Look chic with a black sweater and black boots

black leggings with all black outfit 

The all-black look isn’t just for New Yorkers. An entirely black look is timeless and effortlessly elegant. Build an outfit that’s straight from the runway by pairing black leggings with a black sweater, black shoes, and black, white, and gold accessories.

black leggings with all black outfit

Make sure you add some texture to this look, like using leather black leggings or wearing faux leather black knee-high boots. Or you can add texture with your accessories, like studded shoes, a leather jacket, or a statement purse. This creates more visual dimension that lends to a more refined look. Oh, and don’t forget the sunglasses to really make this outfit a powerhouse.   

4. Dress up leggings for the office

how to wear black leggings to work

If your office has a more relaxed dress policy or you’ve started working from home, leggings are a comfortable option (say goodbye to those sweatpants). With the right top and accessories, your leggings can be work-appropriate and classy, so you’ll still look great (and spend less money on work clothes).

how to wear black leggings to work

For the office, stick to neutral-colored leggings that fall at the calf or below. You can wear cute loafers, strappy heels, booties, or pumps to enhance the look. Pair with a work-ready blouse and blazer or cardigan, and no one will even realize you’re lounging in leggings, especially on a Zoom call!

Tip: Conceal the waistband of the leggings with your blouse or jacket to keep the illusion of work pants.

5. Channel your inner rocker-chick with leather leggings and a graphic tee

black leather leggings with rock tee

Black leggings with a graphic tee of your favorite rock band is a simple, gorgeous, and effective outfit. Don’t like rock? Any graphic tee will work! My go-to graphic tee is the cover of my favorite book, and it looks just as cool as a rock band t-shirt! A graphic tee with leather leggings look will give you edgy, rebel star vibes that will have you feeling confident, inspired, and ready to take on the day.

6. Wear with your favorite chunky knit

black leggings with chunky knit sweater

Is there anything cozier than leggings and a chunky knit sweater? Not only is this look always cute and comfy, but you can also dress it up with heels and jewelry or keep it relaxed with flats and a blanket scarf. This is one of my favorite outfit staples because it’s so easy to throw together, it keeps you warm, and it always looks cute.

black leggings with chunky knit sweater

7. Warm up a dress or skirt with leggings

black leggings under dress

Leggings can function like tights, but they’ll give you more coverage and warmth for colder days than stockings. That means that you can wear your favorite dresses on even the chilliest winter days, thanks to leggings. Plus, I love that compression-top leggings can help keep the belly in place and smooth out the silhouette beneath your dress.

black leggings under romper

You can use leggings to warm up casual dresses for your everyday look or to dress up fancier dresses for more formal events. You can even take a summer dress or romper, add leggings, boots, and a chunky scarf and you’re instantly winter-chic. Wear footed stockings with heels for an effortlessly elegant ensemble.

8. Try out statement leggings

pattern leggings outfits

Black leggings are a wardrobe staple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play around with other colors, prints, and embellishments with your leggings outfits too. Detailed leggings, like those with ribs or texture, look sophisticated and help to dress up an outfit. Zippers on the ankle or up the side of the leg add a rebel rocker vibe. Metallics and animal prints leggings are a stunning statement piece when paired with two other basics (check out our fashion formulas article to learn how to style a statement).

You can also find tons of patterned leggings out there, from silly dog prints to feminine florals to sexy snakeskin and more! Patterns come in and out of style, so you might want to stick to only those patterns you really love to avoid wasting money and contributing to textile waste. I love cheetah or leopard print because it’s neutral enough to pair with lots of outfits, and animal prints are always fun.  

glitter leggings outfits

I absolutely adore glitter and sequin leggings. These are a gorgeous statement for holiday outfits and New Year’s Eve, and they’re a fun way to add a little glitz to any night-out ensemble.

9. Match your leggings to your top

monochrome legging outfit

I always feel put-together when my leggings match my sports bra or top, particularly for yoga or working out. But this can be a gorgeous look for casual wear too. You don’t necessarily need to have a direct matching set. You can match colored leggings to a sweater or cardigan in the same color family to create an easy, pretty look. My go-to errands outfit is a pair of mauve leggings paired with a slightly lighter mauve sweater with a grey or white top.

matching leggings outfits 

In our fashion formula article, we talk about how you want two of your clothing items to match: like leggings with a shirt or leggings with a blouse. This holds true for leggings too!

10. Style it with a kimono

kimono with black leggings

Leggings look beautiful with cardigans, blazers, and oversized tees. But don’t sleep on the gorgeous kimono style as well! For a smart-casual look, a dressy kimono statement over an all-black outfit is absolutely beautiful and flattering. A kimono paired with leggings will be comfortable and relaxed while providing a feminine vibe and silhouette that’s perfect for any casual to slightly dressy event.

11. Sub leggings for pretty much anything

If you love leggings as much as I do, then make them a part of your personal uniform! Get a few high-quality, well-fitting leggings in your closet that you can use as the foundation for a bunch of outfits. Leggings are one of the most versatile pieces in your closet, so channel your creativity and try out different styles until you find something you love.

Share your favorite leggings outfits on Instagram and tag us @currentboutique so we can see your go-to leggings looks!

 

Photo credits


Carmen Lopez, President & CEO www.currentboutique.com

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Hello Fashion Lovers! I've been in the fashion industry for over 15 years. I started Current Boutique with the desire to recycle amazing pre-loved designer gems for others to enjoy! I value quality, unique craftsmanship, sustainability & saving money. I am a fashion lover who is energized by the challenges and rewards of being an entrepreneur. I'm here to share tips on fashion, style, bargain shopping and business. I hope you enjoy!
XOXO, Carmen