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How Should You Wear a Belt With Leggings? Should You? What Type?

Collection of many belts

Leggings are one of those amazing go-to items when you need to run to the store or hit the gym or just throw something on because you forgot to go do that thing that now, you have to do right this minute. But leggings style can be super fashionable, too. Add a belt and use some styling tips to create amazing leggings looks that will turn heads. You can strike a look that’s classic, elegant, glamorous, sexy, whatever you want. How should you wear a belt with leggings? Should you? What type? No worries. All your leggings and belt questions are about to be answered.

What’s the Deal With Leggings?

It wasn’t the 1980s that invented the classic pairing of leggings and belts…it was just that decade that made this combination famous. You know how they say that everything in fashion has already been done before? Well, that’s true about wearing belts and leggings together, too. In fact, this pair first came together more than 700 years ago.

1980s style aerobics wear

Leggings Are How Old?

Yes. Leggings actually date to the 1300s. We’ve all seen the paintings of guys strutting around wearing tight-fitting hose under their long tunics. Well, hello leggings. Their leggings were more like tights but they were thicker than tights, more like modern leggings. And men couldn’t stop wearing them. Leggings, called hose among other names back then, were worn as a standard piece of men’s fashion for centuries. King Henry VIII of England has a famous portrait where he’s wearing leggings a full 200 years after they first became popular as everyday menswear.

Also, yes. For many centuries, leggings were only worn by men. Women were wearing long dresses ad full skirts with petticoats and undergarments to spare. They also wore their own version of hose that was a little more like women’s pantyhose today, even though they didn’t have nylon back then.

When actual pants became more popular in men’s fashion, in the 1700s and 1800s, men’s hose were seen less and less and soon, disappeared. And who knows. Maybe that would have been the end of it as far as leggings go. They would have been a Middle Ages piece of fashion that no one really wears anymore, like chain mail armor. But then came along an actress named Audrey Hepburn.

Fashion’s Muse

Audrey Hepburn is single-handedly responsible for many fashion trends that sparked in the 1950s and continue to live to this day. She’s the one who popularized the little black dress. Literally, she’s the person who made wearing a little black dress a thing that all women have to do. Well, everyone can thank Ms. Hepburn for leggings, too.

Appearing alongside none other than Humphrey Bogard as “Sabrina,” Audrey Hepburn was adorable and charming onscreen wearing a pair of cropped, close-fitting black pants that were extremely different from the wide, loose styles that were popular at the time. The year was 1954 and the look swept the U.S. immediately after the movie debuted. Close-fitting cropped pants were soon a closet staple.

Leggings, Rebooted

Technology would help define the look. Lycra was invented in 1958, a stretchy material that could cling to the body and follow the form and still not lose its shape. The first Lycra leggings were made in 1959. Clingy leggings were suddenly a thing…and they quickly became THE thing in fashion.

In the 1970s, leggings appeared in vivid colors and got a glossy sheen. During this decade, leggings were called disco pants. Because everything in the 1970s had to have something to do with disco.

In the 1980s, wearing leggings with belts became highly popular. Long T-shirts, leggings and a belt were everywhere. This was one of the favorite go-to outfits of the decades.

Modern Leggings

Modern leggings are now worn in every imaginable style. They are cropped, long and can be made to look like anything, including leather, blue jeans and lots of other materials. But when it comes to pairing them with a belt…well, you need to stick with some style tips.

Belts To Wear With Leggings

Leggings are comfortable and they fit great. They move with you and they’re made in lightweight materials that breathe with your skin. When you style them well, leggings can e elevated to the next level of fashion. Add a belt and add another layer of style.

Classic Sexy

Van Heusen Men's Long Sleeve Oxford Dress Shirt, White, Large

Wear leggings with a long, white button-down shirt. A classic collared shirt, like a business shirt, is exactly what you want. Add a thick belt to show off your waist. This will make your curves look curvier and your waist look smaller by comparison. Add some high heels and you have a look that is casual, classic and sexy.

Retro Appeal

Gildan mens A-shirts Tanks Multipack Undershirt, Grey/Black (5 Pack), Medium US


Pair your leggings with a long, hip-hugging tank top. A tank that has stripes or a pattern will work best. Add a belt but don’t wear it at your waist. Wear it a little lower, at your hips. This captures the retro vibe of the 1980s but it’s also a very trendy look for right now. Choose a belt that is medium-width. A belt that is too skinny or too wide won’t ride well on your hips.

Winter Ready

SaphiRose Women's Long Hooded Rain Jacket Outdoor Raincoat Windbreaker(Black,X-Large)

Pair leggings with tall boots and a medium-length coat that ends around mid-thigh. Now add a belt. This will create super elegant winter style that will look great wherever you happen to be going. Be sure to choose thick leggings in winter that give your legs plenty of warmth.

Layered Look

Levi's Women's Faux Leather Classic Asymmetrical Motorcycle Jacket, BLACK, L

You can pair a tight-fitting top with your leggings but only if you layer it with a jacket. Otherwise, you’re going to be rocking a weird Catwoman vibe that just does not work as daywear. So be sexy in a snug top that’s tucked into your leggings or a crop top and top it with a sexy leather jacket. Add a thick belt and your layered look will be complete. You can do this look in all black if you do want to show off your inner Catwoman.

How Should You Wear a Belt With Leggings?

How should you wear a belt with leggings? With a ton of swagger? There are plenty of ways to have fun with this classic pairing. Find different ways to play with the look, draw inspiration from looks of the past and discover your leggings and belt style. Who knows what you’ll find out once you start finding different ways to combine these two fashion pieces?


There are a lot of ways to wear leggings and a lot of looks to try. But there’s still a ton o stuff to know about wearing leggings. Get the answers to all the most common questions about leggings style and get to know what the fashion experts know about this go-to fashion garment.

Leggings outfit photo shoot

Are leggings still in style?

How do you know if leggings are still in style? Leggings are one of those classic pieces of fashion that has been around long enough to be for ever stylish. But you can always get a look at the most up to date styles by following the popular celebrities on social media. Well known celebrities will post their looks to their accounts so you can see what they’re doing with fashion (and what the world will be copying).

Can leggings be business casual?

What’s the great thing about leggings? When you style them the right way, leggings can be just about anything you want. They can be casual, semi-formal, business casual, whatever you like. There are some ways to wear leggings that look great as business casual wear.

Can you machine wash and dry leggings?

Leggings are made with many different types of fabrics. Wool, cotton, spandex, natural fibers, as well as synthetic fibers, are used to create leggings, along with lots of different combinations of fabric blends. Before you machine wash and dry leggings, check the care label on your leggings. If nothing else, the label should tell you the fabric composition of the leging.s MOst of the time, it will contain instructions for how to wash your leggings. If you’re not sure, try washing them in cold water on a gentle setting and drying them on low heat. This will help prevent shrinking.

How should leggings fit?

How are your leggings supposed to fit? First, they should be comfortable and somewhat close-fitting all over your body. That means they should fit in the waist, the hips and down the legs from the top of the thigh to the ankle, or to the calf if you’re wearing a cropped style.

But leggings can be too tight, too loose or otherwise ill-fitting. First, your leggings shouldn’t be see-through anywhere. Your skin should not show, no matter how you move. If your skin starts to show, it’s because you have a bad fit or perhaps your leggings have started to become too worn out. Either way, you’ll need a new par.

The leggings should also fit between your legs, around your crotch and your rear end. It shouldn’t be tight or cutting into your skin anywhere. It likewise shouldn’t be so loose that it’s baggy.

Leggings are supposed to feel about as comfortable as your own skin. They should fit so well, you hardly notice you have them on. When you’ve achieved this feeling, you’ve achieved a perfect fit.


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