Tops to Wear with Leggings

Danielle Jennings
Woman in tunic and leggings

The funny thing about leggings is that despite their immense popularity, many have a love-hate relationship with the garment. This is largely due to the sometimes frustrating process of deciding just how to wear them in a manner that is equally flattering, age-appropriate and most importantly, stylish. The good news is that practically any woman can wear leggings as long as they take their individual fashion sense, age and body type into consideration. However, it all starts with the right top.

Tunics

tunic with leggings

The tunic is a runaway favorite to pair with leggings. Many women who favor tunics do so because they are usually forgiving to their figure. They're roomy without appearing shapeless, and when done in fabrics like cotton, silk or polyester, won't cling to any problem spots.

  • For the best look, a tunic should hit about mid-thigh.
  • Petite women may think tunics aren't for them because they cut off at the thigh area, which gives a shorter silhouette. However, if short women opt for a monochromatic look (an outfit in one color) with their leggings and tunic, they will actually appear taller.
  • Tunics are also great with leggings because there are versions available all year round, so you always have an opportunity to wear the look.

Slouchy Tees

If it's comfort you want, then there is no better top to pair with your leggings than a slouchy tee. The beauty of a slouchy tee is it is an effortless style choice that may seem plain at first, but when you add your own personal touches to it, it's quite stylish and hip.

  • It can be pretty easy to mistake "slouchy" and "roomy," so tread lightly.
  • A slouchy tee should be oversized in the shoulder/neck/bust area where it can easily be placed off the shoulder or have another top layered underneath with ease.
  • Slouchy tees can be cropped, stop at the waist or the top of the thigh.
  • Due to their overly casual appearance when paired together, slouchy tees and leggings should be combined with other garments and accessories to bring some dimension to the ensemble.

Caftans

At first glance it may be a little difficult to distinguish between a caftan and a tunic, but they are definitely are different. Tunics generally fall no longer than mid-thigh, whereas caftans can fall as low as the bottom of the calf, depending on the style. While this length is glamorous, given its leisurely look, it's also slightly problematic for daily wear because of the inevitable muumuu comparisons. When you wear the right length caftan for your frame and with the right pair of leggings, however, the result is fabulous.

  • Ladies on the taller side can benefit from longer caftans without the fear of appearing bombarded by lots of fabric.
  • Shorter women should opt for caftans that stop no lower than the knees so that their legs aren't cut off, giving a shorter appearance.

Mini Dresses

leggings with grey blouse

Let's face it, all women aren't blessed with mile-long legs that are thin, toned, and flawless. Given this is the case, a great way to wear micro mini dresses is to simply throw leggings on underneath. This not only provides a nice amount of coverage for a more modest and versatile look, when done in a monochromatic way it has an amazing slimming effect as well.

  • Leggings worn with a mini dress is also a good styling option for plus size women that have a more curvy lower half that can make wearing mini dresses look unflattering.
  • For the office, wear your mini dress and leggings with a blazer thrown on top.
  • For the weekend, pair with flat boots and a cardigan.
  • For a night out, add a pair of embellished heels, a clutch and a cocktail ring for a more sexy look with your leggings.

Blouses

A more pretty and polished styling option for your leggings is to wear them with a free-flowing blouse. Topping your leggings with a blouse adds a welcomed dose of femininity that provides a dressier appearance to an otherwise casual look.

  • Whether you decide on colorful styles, those containing intricate details or ones with an oversized fit, the resulting look should be equally stylish and comfy.
  • One of the best ways to accent this look is to pair with a cropped or boyfriend blazer.

Asymmetrical Tops

Add a little fun to the leggings mix and wear them with a fun and flirty asymmetrical top. Traditionally, an asymmetrical hem is one that is longer on one side than the other, but modern styles are switching things up a bit with the reverse asymmetrical hem. This hem style is longer in the back and shorter in the front, which is just as flattering and fun as the traditional design. When paired with leggings, asymmetrical tops successfully add a little drama to an outfit that can easily appear safe. They also break up the line of the outfit by causing the eye to roam around due to the differing length of the top.

Alternative Ways to Style

blazer and leggings

Aside from the selected tops, there are also other ways to style your leggings that are fashion forward and flattering.

  • Try pairing them with jackets, such as denim, blazers in a boyfriend or cropped style or sweaters with asymmetrical hems and dolman sleeves.
  • Additionally, don't hesitate to experiment with the wildly printed or patterned leggings and pair them with a top or jacket that's more conservative for balance.

Make Them Your Own

As with any fashion trend, the key to pulling it off is to tailor it to your body type, age, and lifestyle. For instance, if you're older or have children, you shouldn't be wearing your leggings the same way your teenager does. Instead, opt for a more modest approach that's still fresh and current. Short and plus size women should style their leggings to make their frames both appear longer and slim the hip and thigh area as much as possible. Also, if you only get to wear leggings on the weekends due to a work-related dress code, then feel free to have a little fun with bold colors, prints, patterns, and textures. Accessorizing will also give your leggings personality, so carefully select shoes, handbags, and jewelry that reflect your personal style.

Tops to Wear with Leggings