Are Leggings as Pants Ever Okay? A Celeb Stylist Settles the Debate

When she’s not working with big names like Lupita Nyong’o, Jennifer Hudson, and Hilary Swank, celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger also divulges her fashion expertise in our Ask a Stylist column. From the best places to source vintage to the secret to finding your most flattering jeans, come back each week for a professional’s perspective.

There is a debate brewing in the world of fashion on a topic I’ve been asked about time and time again: Is it okay to wear leggings as pants? It’s not hard to understand the allure of leggings. Who hasn’t dreamed of replacing stiff denim with a pair of stretchy pants you can wear everywhere from the gym to work to drinks with the girls? It’s time to settle this debate once and for all—and the answer isn’t quite as simple as a yes or a no. Should you wear leggings as pants? Well, it depends on the situation.

I find leggings to be acceptable when worn one of two ways: as activewear or as a layering piece. When worn alone, leggings should be left for the gym or yoga class. In fact, a good pair of thick black leggings paired with a cute sports bra can make for very chic gymwear. Another great way to utilize leggings is as a layering piece. They can provide the perfect way to wear a sheer dress. Ultimately, leggings have plenty of uses—they just shouldn’t be worn on their own unless you're planning to work up a sweat. Check out some of my favorite looks featuring leggings.