The great legging debate!

One of the most common questions my clients ask is “Can I wear leggings??” Thinking about it, it’s funny that something so innocent can cause such a difference of opinion, as in one camp there are those who can’t live without leggings – and in the other there are those who simply can’t abide them. And then there’s the favourite line for not wearing them that “If you’ve already worn them the first time around, you can’t wear them again!”

If I’m being honest, my frank answer to that is that if you can’t wear something that’s been around before… then you can’t wear much. That’s the thing about fashion – everything is a re-invention of a previous style – so really the saying doesn’t make much sense. I think the more pressing question is how you wear them…

To me, black leggings are simply opaque tights with the feet cut out – what’s not to love! They ease the transition from tights to bare legs perfectly – and if you’ve botched up your fake tan, they’re the most fantastic instant cover-up. So why is it that people have such an aversion to these stretchy lifesavers? Black opaques have become a staple in almost every woman’s life (what did we do before they were back in fashion?) but for me, leggings are equally important. I can barely remember what I did before I embraced them fully as a very versatile option in my wardrobe.


Purple leggings?? Maybe not for the faint hearted! © Edward Bartel |

Another popular question I’m asked is “How old is too old to wear leggings?!” I think this is a very difficult question to answer. If worn in the right way, almost any age group can wear them. I suppose it’s whether or not they fit in with someone’s style and also, more importantly – I’m back to the same question again – “how” a person wears them.  Apart from with dresses and skirts probably the easiest way to try them is with long tunic tops and possibly with a belt too if you need more definition around the waist; colour-wise, keep them black for starters. I believe the most important thing to think about is their length… ideally they should finish at the narrowest point of your leg – which is usually around the ankle.

Actually, sometimes people who are on the skinnier side often struggle more with leggings as they can make legs look like pipe-cleaners… but for me they solve the “it’s too hot for tights but too cold for bare legs” dilemma and they give lots of items such as dresses and skirts an extended lease of life. I have many dresses that are a bit too summery on their own. However, with a pair of leggings, a skinny belt and long grand-dad style cardigan, they suddenly look perfect for that in-between time of year. Also, they look fab with both flats and heels and are perfect if you’re feeling a little too exposed and want to cover up a bit more. So where is the best place to buy them? Well I’ve bought the odd expensive pair but I have to say that they all go a bit baggy around the knees after a couple of wears, so I head to the High Street. Every store has a slightly different take on them – I bought some with side zips from Topshop ( last week for £16, then there were some in Urban Outfitters ( with black studs on the side… others with buttons from River Island ( – yes they’re everywhere. Just make sure you buy them small because they do “grow”!

Another great hybrid are “jeggings” – a clever cross between skinny jeans and leggings. They give more coverage and feel less “naked” than leggings but still give the same look. Basically, leggings are easy to carry off AND they’re comfortable too – what more could we girls want?

3 thoughts on “The great legging debate!

  1. scarletsculturegarden

    It’s always a question of how to wear, rather than if it’s okay to wear – personally I think it’s great that leggings are back in fashion since they make my legs look infintely less fat than I imagine them to be!

  2. Elaine Tennant

    I was one of those people that said “No way will I be wearing those black leggings again”. I wore them first time around. Needless to say I did buy them (about 8 black pairs). I don’t know what I would do without them. Great for wearing with boots, instead of trying to get boots over bulky jeans. I love leggings!

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