How To Wear Leggings Like A Style Icon--Plus 7 Pairs To Go From Yoga To Drinks

August 7, 2017

Love athleisure but feel like you’re not taking full advantage of the trend’s versatility? Fear not–we’ve got several fun ideas for how to wear leggings that will take you from down dog to drinks in style.


Take your yoga pants out of the studio and into the street without blinking an eye.

Remember when saying “I’m in my yoga pants” was a sign of hygge-like laziness and, even more likely, a level of activity that was quite the opposite of a yoga class? Those days are long over, and the yoga pant has risen to the top of the athleisure market with flying colors. In nearly every store and studio, you can find a version of those oh-so-comfy, ultra-flattering non-pants that elicit more oohs than sad ahhs—with countless ways to style them from day to night and everything in between.

When I first started practicing, and then teaching, yoga, I made it my personal mission to make my overall wardrobe as close to what I wore to class as possible. Why? It wasn’t just the easy, care-free nature of the items themselves, which required little special care to clean and took up even less space in my tiny closet. It was how I felt when I was in pants (and tops) that fit perfectly and hugged my body like nothing; I didn’t worry about pinching or muffin-tops or anything being unintentionally exposed (that’s not the case for all leggings, mind you–so watch your panty-pants pairings carefully especially if you’re going to sweat a lot). I was just free, flowing through the sequence and allowing my body to be the strong, flexible thing it was instead of some other concocted vision of what it could or should be. And isn’t that how we should always feel in our clothes—like ourselves? Check out these top-rated, <3-ed by the masses, options, and you’ll be in legging nirvana in no time and no matter what your activity–plus, savvy tips for how to wear leggings!

How to Wear Leggings–Plus 7 Pairs for Every Need

Best Mesh

If you’re looking to keep super-cool in Bikram class, or to leave little to the imagination when you’re out on the town, Alo‘s Mesh Goddess Legging is for you. The gusset inseam keeps everything in place (think old Hollywood stockings with that sexy seam up the back), while three versatile colors make them easy to pair with a variety of top options.

How to wear: Given how high up the mesh goes, keep your top at hip height for outfit balance.


Alo Yoga Mesh Goddess Leggings, $94

Best Overall Performance

Outdoor Voices’s brand statement says everything you need to know about its quality: “technical apparel for recreation.” This speaks to how important it is for us all to get outside regularly and to feel good doing whatever gets us moving. Their classic Warmup Leggings are just the right weight and coverage level to take you through any activity and then some. The flattering seams and high waist keep everything where it should without sacrificing style. These fun new “dipped” patterns embrace the color block trend, but you’ll probably want a solid color, too…and once you get going on OV’s famous Kits, you’ll find yourself rockin’ this brand every day, top to bottom.

How to wear: Match your top to one of the color blocks, and slip on a pair of your trendiest sneakers.


Outdoor Voices Dipped Warmup Legging, $95

Best Softness

A lot of times when I go to try on a pair of leggings, I’m dubious that they’ll even go on—the stretch factor is even more of a problem with leggings than most clothing items. I had to do a major double-take when I tried on my first pair of Beyond Yoga leggings as they seemed literally made for a child, not my 5′ 8″ self. Lo and behold, when I pulled on (effortlessly) a pair of the Spacedye pattern, I was hooked by how mind-blowingly soft and comfortable they were, thanks to a special fabric and a signature 3-inch waistband that’s not too high and not too low.

How to wear: This summer I’m crushing on their cut-out capris; the little wink of skin at the calf is stylish enough to pair with sneakers or slides.


Beyond Yoga Full Circle Cutout Capri Legging, $88

Best Vegan-Chic

The ultimate source in sustainable, cruelty-free clothing, Free People takes leggings up a notch with this Patent Vegan Leather Legging. Back pocket and ankle zipper details boost the style factor and practically beg for something loose yet glitzy on top.

How to wear: Pair with a flowing, loose-fitting top and ballet flats for a perfect class-to-cocktails ensemble.


Free People Patent Vegan Leather Legging, $69.95

Best Trend

We all saw the gladiator sandal in its heyday, so what about gladiator leggings? A lace-up style channels lingerie and a boxing ring at the same time and are a celeb-fave. A TKO.

How to wear: Go bold and pair these with heels and a sexy top. (Just don’t wear your heels in yoga class, obvi.)


ASOS Tall Legging with Lace-Up Front, $40

Best Versatility

A pair of black leggings is as much a necessity as a LBD these days, and I swear by my Athleta Powervita Salutation Tight. They’ve gotten me through vinyasas and wheel poses galore, long runs in 30-degree weather, and dinners where a pair of booties and oversized top made for an effortlessly put-together look.

How to wear: These basic, foolproof leggings can be worn with almost everything. Think of them as the canvas for a variety of comfy, cute outfits.


Athleta Salutation Tight, $79

Best Value

You may have noticed that leggings come with a pretty high price tag for something that’s technically lounge-wear. ModCloth is a go-to for a variety of wardrobe staples, including affordable vegan shoes. Their Simple and Sleek Leggings are ridiculously inexpensive for their value and quality.

How to wear: Pair with your softest vintage tee for a Yin yoga session or Friday Netflix night.


ModCloth Simple and Sleek Legging, $19.99

What are your style tips for how to wear leggings? Let us know in the comments below!

Also by Jennifer: Best Moisturizer For Oily Skin That Gives You A #NoFilter Velvet Complexion

Related: 7 Totally Chic Athleisure Pieces That You Can Wear *Everywhere*

10 Best Backpacks For Summer—Eco-Friendly, Vegan, And Seriously Chic

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Photo: Pixabay, Aloyoga, Outdoor Voices, Beyond Yoga, Free People, ASOS,  Athleta, Mod Cloth

Features Editor Jennifer Kurdyla is a New York City girl with Jersey roots and a propensity for getting lost in the urban jungle. An experienced publishing professional, yoga instructor, home chef, sometimes-runner, and writer, she adopted a vegetarian lifestyle in 2008 and became vegan in 2013. She has written for The Harvard Review Online, The Rumpus, and Music & Literature and maintains a wellness-based website, Be Nourished, which features original writing and recipes. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram @jenniferkurdyla, Twitter @jenniferkurdyla, and Pinterest.


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