Leggings have been my favorite item of clothing since I started working from home at the beginning of 2020. At first, it felt like a dream come true. Leggings and sweaters are my happy place.
But after so many months of comfort dressing, I’m ready for a change. I won’t need my work suits any time soon, but that doesn’t mean I can’t change my work from home look.
We wear leggings for comfort and warmth, and there are some alternatives for when we want to swap our leggings out for something fresh and new. The following items make great substitutes for leggings:
- Maxi skirts
- Faux-leather leggings
- Wide leg pants
Let’s look at how we can turn these items into great outfits which are both comfortable and stylish, regardless of whether you’re wearing them at home or out and about.
You might be surprised to see dresses on this list. Dresses can be incredibly comfortable and yet still make you feel put together and stylish. The best is that there is almost no thought required when throwing a dress on in the morning.
For the summer months, light and floaty dresses will keep you cool. T-shirt dresses are also comfortable and easy to wear. Throw on a cardi when it’s cooler or a denim or leather jacket when you’re on your way out. In winter, a sweatshirt dress is perfect with tights.
Skirts are not just for wearing out and about. They’re also a great option for comfort dressing. A maxi skirt with an elasticated waistband looks fantastic with a tank top or t-shirt for easy breezy summer dressing.
A maxi skirt will still give you the leg coverage and comfort that you seek in a pair of leggings. Pop a pair of boy shorts underneath to avoid thigh rubbing and chafing on hot days. For the trans-seasonal dressing, add a cardigan. Denim jackets look great with dresses for going out.
Jeggings are a hybrid between jeans and leggings which makes them a great alternative to leggings. A pair of jeggings with a bit of a heavier denim weight is a better option than a lightweight pair.
They can easily be paired with any of the same sorts of tops that you would wear with leggings – longer sweaters, t-shirts, and tunics are your go-to tops to pair with leggings. Show a bit of ankle by cuffing the jeggings and pair them with ballet pumps for a chic look. For a cold-weather outfit, wear them with booties.
A bit of a cheat because, in theory, faux-leather leggings are still leggings – just a bit more edgy and stylish, and luckily just as comfortable. Pair them with a fun graphic t-shirt and a long cardigan for a funky weekend look. With a stylish sweater and loafers, you have an outfit that makes a great style statement. If you want to really dress it up, add a blazer and a Breton shirt.
Keep your shoes casual and your jewelry delicate to avoid looking like Sandy from Grease. You can balance out the shine of the leather pants by pairing them with less shiny fabrics.
Wide Leg Pants
If you’re looking for a pair of pants that are the middle ground between leggings and jeans, then wide-leg pants might be the option for you. Wide-leg pants come in soft flowy fabrics or more structured fabrics like denim.
With wide-leg pants, you look like you have made an effort to put on a real outfit, but they’re as soft and comfortable as leggings, and they work as well in winter as they do in summer.
A plain t-shirt with wide-leg pants is a classic option. The simplicity of the t-shirt allows the pants to stand out. A plain white t-shirt is always a wardrobe staple and perfect for pairing with your wide-leg pants.
If you want to inject a bit of personality into your outfits, a graphic t-shirt adds some fun and an edge when paired with wide-leg pants.
For summer months, tube tops and tank tops can also be your go-to options for pairing with wide-leg pants.
Wear them with a cozy pullover in the cooler months, and you will basically feel like you’re wearing a tracksuit. Tuck the pullover in for a stylish look. A French tuck, where you tuck in the front and leave the back untucked, is great to avoid a look that is too bulky.
Joggers are essentially a modern sweatpant in that they have an elasticated waistband and a roomy fit. They taper down through the leg and have elasticated ankles. While they may be inspired by sweatpants, they’re made in various fabrics, and they can be worn for work or fun. Their versatility truly allows you to play around and be creative with them.
For a classically casual outfit with your joggers, combine them with sneakers and a feminine t-shirt.
Pair your joggers with heels and accessorize them with jewelry and a leather tote bag for a more dressed-up look. Although a cotton pair can also work, choose a leather or polyester jogger for a more formal look.
Be adventurous in your shoe choice. Sneakers, heels, ankle boots, and even strappy sandals all work well with joggers.
Avoid matchy tops with joggers if you don’t want to look like you’re wearing pajamas. A lightweight contrasting top looks fabulous with jogger pants. Just a plain white t-shirt will look amazing with a tuck or half-tuck.
Chinos can be a great alternative to leggings if you want to look dressed up but feel as comfortable as you would in your pajama pants. You can wear them for working from home, and you can wear them if you are back at the office.
Because they are generally neutral in color, chinos are an excellent wardrobe staple as they allow the rest of the outfit to shine. Wear them casually with a white t-shirt, a graphic t-shirt, or cropped top. Or, for a classic look, pair them with a Breton top. Cuff them at the ankle and pop on some ballet pumps.
For cooler weather, wear them with a sweater and for a preppy collegiate look, layer a collared shirt underneath the sweater.
Lastly – let’s look at jeans as an alternative to leggings. Yes – jeans. We know that they’re great for going out, but they’re not known for their comfort. Super-stiff non-stretch jeans are not what is being suggested here. Rather look for a soft, stretchy pair to get that legging-like comfort, but elevated.
Jeans with an elastic waistband, sizing up, and looking for some stretch can ensure that you have the perfect denim to wear instead of your beloved leggings.
We all know how to create a classic denim outfit. Jeans look fabulous with just about anything from plain white or black t-shirts to sweaters and button-up shirts. Graphic t-shirts, as with many of the other outfits, are great for adding some fun and personality. Throw on a blazer if you’re on your way out to dress them up. Wear a leather jacket for an edgier look.
Don’t be afraid of wearing denim with denim. This used to be considered a mistake in the fashion world, but no longer. A few tips for the denim-on-denim look:
- Choose similar washes. Wearing similar shades of denim together will create a cohesive look that elongates your silhouette.
- Try out different combinations. Try a little denim jacket or a chambray shirt, or a denim blazer on top. For the bottoms, try out loose-fitting jeans, denim shorts, or a denim skirt. A denim dress or a denim jumpsuit make a great fashion statement.
- Bring in pops of color. Because denim is usually in shades of blue, it can be considered neutral and works well with most other colors.
- Accessorize. With your denim look creating a neutral canvas, simple accessories will bring the entire look together.
The Every Girl: What To Wear When You’re Sick of Your Leggings
Full Heart Mommy: How To Wear Long Skirts Casually in Spring and Summer
Petite Dressing: Wide Leg Pants Outfits
Styling You: I AM on Team Jeggings. I just have 5 rules.
Wardrobe Oxygen: How to Style Faux Leather Leggings
The Budget Fashionista: How to Wear Joggers
Masterclass: Tips for Wearing Denim