How to wear leggings like pants

Can You Wear Leggings Like Pants?

In Fall & Winter Trends by Melanie Shaw

Yes! You absolutely can wear leggings like pants. If anything, leggings can be worn in more ways than you could ever wear a pair of pants, thanks to their stretchiness and because of the way they flatter virtually any physique.

But going back to the question, we do have to understand that while most leggings can be worn in much the same ways as pants, pulling off leggings is as much of an art as anything else is. That being said, making leggings work is all about which pair you choose, what you wear them with, and how confident you are in them. In this short guide, we’ve compiled a few tips on how to wear leggings like pants.

Cover Your Bottom

When worn outside the context of a sporty or athleisure look, it’s much easier to wear leggings like pants if you wear a somewhat longer top that covers most or all of your backside. You’ll generally want a top that fits you correctly across the shoulders but is long enough to cover your rear when you’re standing up. Oversized tops can work but may look a bit sloppy if they’re not close to your shoulder and chest measurements. Wearing a long coat, sweater, or jacket can also work to make your leggings look more like regular but more polished-looking pants.

Wear Thicker Leggings

Under bright lighting, thinner leggings can look more like tights or stockings than they do pants. If you want your leggings to look more like trousers, you’ll usually get better results by choosing a pair made with thicker materials. That’s because thicker leggings are typically less sheer, which helps them look like regular pants at a glance.

Look at Denim and Twill Leggings

If you want leggings that not only look like pants but also feel similar to them, you should take a look at denim and twill options. These are made from materials that look and feel like twill or denim while maintaining the stretchiness that most fashionistas have come to enjoy from normal leggings. They have a similar aesthetic to slim chinos and jeans while still being as breathable and comfy as any pair of leggings. If you need leggings that could be used like pants in your wardrobe, these are probably your best bet.

Check Out Sport Leggings

If you’re going for a trendier athleisure look, sports leggings just might be what you’re looking for. They have a look and aesthetic that’s more similar to yoga pants or track bottoms. The key difference is that they still hug your body like a second skin, giving you the sort of look, feel, and comfort that you can only get from leggings.

Elevate Your Look with Capri Leggings

When paired with the right shoes, Capri leggings can cop the classic carefree look we’ve come to expect from regular capri pants. You can easily dress these up with a nice pair of pumps or keep them sporty with your favorite sneakers. The main difference, of course, is that Capri leggings tend to offer more comfort and freedom of movement.


At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way to wear leggings. If it looks and feels right for you, then that should be enough. But if you want your leggings to take the place of your regular trousers, they can do that as well—as long as you know what you’re doing. With some clever mixing and matching and by choosing the right pieces, you can easily pull off most looks that people associate with regular pants, all without sacrificing the comfort of leggings.

About Melanie Shaw

Melanie Shaw is a fashion and lifestyle writer who has worked in the fashion industry in PR and communications, helping brands launch their latest products and collections.

View All Articles