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.

Photo:

Getty Images

On Candice Swanepoel: Nike Dunk Sky Hi in Black/Sail/Medium Mint/Black ($108)

Similar Styles: Current/Elliott 'The Muscle' Tee ($74); Bandier Printed Legging in Light Marble ($78)

Photo:

Bauer Griffin/Getty Images

On Kendall Jenner: Nike Legend 2.0 Stretch-Jersey Leggings ($70) and Roshe One Sneaker in Black/White/Platinum ($75); Warby Parker Halford 58mm Polarized Sunglasses

Similar Styles: Bodyism Olivia Stretch-Jersey Sports Bra ($140); Gorjana Viceroy Necklace ($50)

Photo:

Bauer Griffin/Getty Images

On Lily Aldridge: Self-Portrait x Le Specs 'Edition Five' Half Rim Frosted Acetate Round Sunglasses in Matte Milky Blush/Gold ($125); The Row Two for One 12th Suede Tote Bag in Sand/Pink ($2650)

Similar Style: Nike Warp Knit Training Tank Top ($55 to $70)

Photo:

Getty Images

On Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: Nike capris; Saint Laurent Classic Small Sac du Jour Bag in Dark Green Grained Leather ($2890); Burberry sunglasses

Available in sizes XS to XL.

Available in sizes M and L.

Get up to 25% off with code GOBIG18. Offer valid through March 3.

Available in sizes 00 to 12.

Do you think leggings should be worn as pants? Let us know in the comments.