Legging Taboos: What You Should NEVER Wear With Leggings

Leggings are a great wardrobe staple and can be worn in any season, but there are some things you should never wear with them.

By Daina
Legging Taboos: What You Should NEVER Wear With Leggings

Leggings Are Amazing, If Worn Correctly

With summer around the corner, it is time to revamp your outfits. Obviously, you can’t do that without the ultimate outfit staple—leggings. In winter, leggings can be worn with a bulky sweater and cute boots. However, that won’t work for the summer. Regardless of the season, leggings can be worn! You can wear leggings with anything. They are a staple, after all.

However, there are some faux pas regarding leggings. You might have heard of the phrase ‘leggings are not pants’; the fashion police is sure making that a known rule! Although I agree with this cardinal rule, I feel there is so much more about leggings, which does not please the eye.


Leggings can be worn in any season, but not every outfit is right for leggings. Many of the legging rules go out the window when you are going to the gym because you’re supposed to be casual and not caring about style. So the following advice is for the times you want to wear leggings out in public anywhere else besides the gym. Follow my style guide to find out what you should NEVER wear with leggings.

Too Many Patterns


When you wear bright, bold-patterned leggings as pants, it is not cute and there is way too much pattern. Add accessories and glamorous shoes to patterned leggings, and you have a huge fashion faux pas! Never wear overly-patterned leggings with nothing to cover them, like a longer dress. If there is a dress that will cover some of the patterned fabric, then make sure the dress is very simple.

If your patterned leggings are not very bold than cat-patterned leggings, then it would be okay to wear a long shirt with the leggings. Again, make sure the top is simple and doesn’t have opposing or clashing patterns.

Crop Tops

Crop tops are in style right now, but should never be paired with leggings. Crop tops look great with maxi skirts, jeans, or trousers. However, they reveal too much if paired with leggings.


I'm going to go back to the cardinal rule of leggings: do not mistake a pair of leggings for pants! Remember that legging fabric is thin and can often show what lies beneath, so your bum should always be covered when you wear leggings. A long tunic or even a short dress would be better options to wear with leggings.

A Tight Shirt

Leggings are already tight, so they don’t need something else to be skin-tight. Don’t make your outfit entirely tight, so pair a simple pair of leggings with a looser top. If you wear a tight shirt and have tight leggings without anything else to add to the outfit (a light cardigan, a jacket tied around the waist, etc), then don’t expect to show up on the cover of next month’s Vogue! Save the tight tops for loose or flared pants.

Tucked-In Shirts

Just the same, you do not want your shirt to be tucked into leggings. If you want the suave, cute tucked-in look, stick to trousers or jeans (real pants). Remember the cardinal rule of wearing leggings and do the following: cover the front and the back. After all, you don’t want to be at work in leggings that might be see-through and show everything you are wearing underneath. If you tuck in a shirt and put a blazer over it, and it’s covering the back, there’s still nothing covering the front. Un-tuck the shirt and your outfit is golden.

Although you may be showing off your figure when you tuck in your shirt, you are also leaving your back and front exposed. With the thin fabric of leggings, you may be showing too much to the world. 


Unless you are about to go for a run or to the gym with your leggings, do not wear sneakers with leggings while going out for lunch or to hang out with friends! The shoes you wear should be picked carefully. You should not be looking like you might smell from being sweaty, which is what will happen if you wear an outfit combining leggings and sneakers. Instead, wear cute flats, flip flops (if you want to go casual), boots (see below), and heels. Avoid sneakers of all kinds (converse included!).

The Infamous Ugg Boots

If you are the type of girl who wears Ugg boots with leggings, then you probably are the first one in line when pumpkin spice lattes are out and you get your picture of it on Instagram before anyone else! You are also probably afraid of taking risks, since you probably wear that combo every day, even in the summer. Avoid Ugg boots with your leggings and opt for a more fashionable choice. If you want boots, go for ankle boots or knee-high boots (although you might want to wait until summer is over for those). If you are still completely attached to your Ugg Boots, wear them with skinny jeans instead.

Chunky Shoes

It may seem simple to pair shoes with leggings (after all, shouldn't leggings go with everything?). However, shoes need to be chosen carefully to complete the outfit with leggings.

Platform shoes, chunky heels, wedges, and anything else that has an abundance of material should never be worn with leggings. When choosing your shoes, you have quite the array of options. Like I said before, ankle boots or knee-high boots are good options. Stiletto heels, ballet flats, sandals, and even Timberland boots could all be paired with leggings, depending on the rest of your outfit and what style you are aiming for.

Knee-High Socks

One should never wear knee-high socks with leggings. To begin with, it is way too difficult to do for an outfit that isn’t in style. You’ll spend 10 minutes alone trying to make sure the leggings don’t crunch up, only to look like a walking fashion disaster.

Knee-high socks are quite difficult to create a stylish outfit with, so it is best to leave them in the store, folded, where they belong. Also, both knee-high socks and leggings are tight, which goes back to why you shouldn’t wear tight shirts with leggings. Not to mention, it is very hard to find a good pair of shoes to match knee-high socks. If you want some layers down there, add a cute pair of boots or even leg warmers, as long as they are loose.

Full-Bottomed Underwear

Avoid the panty-line show by not wearing full-bottomed underwear. An exception would be to buy the seamless underwear. Even seamless underwear might show a crease (depending on how tight they are). Before you leave the house, you should always check the outfit you are wearing in the mirror. Double-check, actually.

Leggings should not be worn with anything that is going to show through them. That means you should also avoid brightly colored underwear (even thongs) when wearing leggings. Even if you are wearing a long shirt that covers you, there may be a point in your day where your shirt isn’t covering everything. Wearing neutrally-colored underwear will avoid the embarrassment!

Wearing A Dress With Capri Leggings

Capri leggings are hard to wear. They offer some room for sun on your legs on a nice summer day, but they often make you look short and stout when pairing them with a long shirt or dress. If your leggings stop at the knee and are only a few inches longer than your dress, opt out of the leggings altogether and just let your legs get some sun.


If you like the coverage aspect of capri leggings with a dress (that allow you to bend and run and jump, and not worry about what is showing under your dress, or to avoid the skin-on-skin friction that creates “chub rub”), then go for a pair of spanx or short shorts under your dress. Capri leggings are great for working out and more casual attire, but be careful with dressing them up.

Too Many Textures

Texture is good in fashion. However, it is not always needed, and therefore makes your outfit look clunky. When you mix textures in an outfit, it tends to look messy and unkempt. Make sure leggings are your outfit’s “basic” and avoid textured leggings like velvet and leather. Velvet leggings will also cause more friction and rip a lot sooner than normal leggings. Avoid velvet and any other “glam” leggings and keep it simple—velvet also went out of style in the 90s. If you want texture in your outfit, choose a long sweater to go with sleek, black leggings.

Gym Clothes Should Stay At The Gym

If you are pairing leggings with active-wear, you better be going right into the gym or on a run. Do not go for lunch with friends or go shopping in an active t-shirt with leggings and sneakers! Yes, leggings can be used as active-wear, but they are basically a blank canvas. Don’t waste the opportunity to dress them up and do amazing things with them by creating a workout ensemble. Use leggings as a way to draw attention to statement jewelry or stylish tops.

Leggings Are Great, But Wear Them With Caution

Leggings are not just for one body type. Let me say that again. Leggings ARE NOT just for one body type. Anybody of any body type can wear them, as long as they are worn correctly. Regardless of your shape, size, or figure, leggings could look amazing with the right outfit ensemble.


Leggings are a great basic item for any outfit, as long as you know what to and not to wear with them. If you want to be the “it” girl, follow my guidelines for what you should never wear with leggings.