Friday, April 2, 2010

Keep It Classy with Denim Leggings

I definitely consider my style to be “trial and error” at least half of the time. I don’t always love the colors, styles, and/or combinations I select, but the point is to learn from your mistakes, right?

Because today is something like the 99th day out of 100 that I’ve worn denim leggings, I thought it would be appropriate to share three rules I have learned to wear them boldly, wear them proudly, and wear them correctly.

Photo source:

1) Respect the Stretch
Denim leggings typically are made with 2 to 5 percent elastane material (such as Spandex or Lycra), which may not seem like a lot, but that is at least double the amount of stretch found in your everyday jeans. Think about how differently those regular denim jeans feel at the end of the day versus when you put them on that morning. That baggy effect comes from the elastane – so if you’re doubling the elasticity of your jeans, you’re going to double the bagginess at the end of the day.

With that in mind, consider buying nothing larger than your typical size in denim leggings. In fact, most of the chickadees I have talked to have purchased their denim leggings in the next smaller size.

2) Draw Attention to Your Feet
Denim leggings should feel tight all over (especially when you first put them on), but they fit especially tight around your calves and ankles. In other words, denim leggings make an already slim part of your leg look even slimmer!

Embrace this by wearing fierce biker boots, slouchy suede boots, colorful flats, or Grecian sandals.

3) CYA
The point of denim leggings is that they will always look like leggings, not jeans. They typically don’t have zippers, pockets, or intricate seams. There is nothing special about the waist of denim leggings, so there is no point in showing off that part of the pants. Furthermore, if you are wearing them in more conservative settings (for instance, on Casual Friday at your office), you probably want them to appear as close to skinny jeans as possible.

When selecting a top to pair with denim leggings, go long. I recommend tunics and men’s dress shirts, because they will effectively conceal your back side. Just ask yourself, “Would I wear this shirt with black leggings?” If the answer is no, then move on.

The "100-50-25" Where to Buy

• Less than $100 -– Madewell ( for locations)

• Less than $50 -- Express

• Less than $25 -- Kohl’s

Have any more tips to conquering denim leggings? Post a comment, and let me know!


  1. Jenn, this is exactly the post I needed to figure out how to wear my demin leggings with confidence and style! Maybe they will make an appearance in the office this week. ;) Looking forward to reading more posts!

  2. I just bought some denim leggings over the weekend from the BP department in Nordstrom for $39 or so. They have pockets and a button front (though no zipper, oddly enough). They don't fit as tight around my ankles as I'd like, but they're tapered enough. Thanks to your tips, I'm super excited to wear them this week--I have a long embellished tank that I'll probably pair with them!