Black Legging

Black Legging

Black Leggings l High-waisted black leggings for women

Someone give a big kiss to whoever invented black leggings. What a gift to womankind—an “everything-to-everyone” garment that can be dressed up or dressed down, worn everywhere from the gym to the gala, without ever being anything less than gloriously comfy.

Does life get any better than pulling on a pair of black leggings and styling them up? Deliciously contoured to your showstopping lower body, they can anchor an outfit all on their own, or they can act as a blank canvas for a million-and-one expressions of sartorial bliss. They can even help you carry your favorite warm-weather garments into the winter months by keeping your haunches toasty all around town. Any girl who hasn’t added black leggings to her wardrobe is missing out.

History of Black Leggings

For centuries, leggings were a garment worn by men, not women. The first pair of leggings appeared in 14th-Century Scotland, a country that is no stranger to gender-bending traditional male garments. The garment evolved from heavy woolen leg warmers to slinky hosiery.

Consider pictures of the US Founding Fathers or Elizabethan courtiers—all wearing tight leggings below their breeches. Women, by contrast, were expected to hide their legs from prying eyes under bulky, flowing skirts. In the 20th-century, however, women began to stake their claim on the leggings fun.

Leggings for women leaped forward when Joseph Shivers invented spandex (also known as lycra) in 1958. The first pair of stretchy spandex leggings appeared in 1959 and almost immediately became a hit in the fashion world. Designers from Emilio Pucci to Mary Quant used spandex leggings as a canvas on which to build their mod-squad looks.

High-waisted black leggings became a style icon of the 1970s, from Charlie’s Angels to the iconic black leggings worn by Olivia Newton-John in the climax of the film Grease. Madonna picked up the leggings torch and carried it into the 80s with her music video for “Like A Virgin”. The aerobics fad anchored by Jane Fonda’s popular exercise videos cemented colorful spandex leggings as athletic apparel.

Cindy Crawford kept black leggings in the public eye through a famous magazine shoot during the baggy-pants trend of the 1990s. In the 2000s, full-length and leggings almost replaced pants as the outerwear of choice for some of the biggest fashion trendsetters, from Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie to the Olsen Twins. Layering leggings under dresses and skirts also became popular during this time.

In the Instagram era, black leggings continue to be popular, appearing in the wardrobe of the likes of Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, and Kendall Jenner. Coming full circle, black leggings have even found their way into men’s wardrobes, worn under basketball shorts to keep mens’ legs warm during winter workouts.

What goes well with black leggings?

One of the best reasons to add black leggings to your wardrobe is their versatility. What goes well with black leggings? The real question is: “What doesn’t go well with black leggings?” (We’ll get to that.)

Black leggings can be the blank canvas on which you express your couture flair or they can be the main event—a focal point of attention, styled and accessorized to make a stunning impression on a shapely pair of legs. Here is a very incomplete list of garments that pair swimmingly with black leggings …

Denim Jacket

Is there any cooler, more essential piece of outerwear than the denim jacket? Throwing a jean jacket on with your black leggings adds just the right amount of flirtatious sass to the dressed-down comfort of your athletic bottoms. Because the leggings are black, the blue or gray tones in the denim will really pop. Oversized denim jackets work particularly well over a t-shirt or crop top and paired with tennis shoes.

Duster Jacket

One of the best ways to style black leggings is to go big on top to counterbalance how slight the garment is on the bottom. A duster jacket is perfect for this—oversized, ankle-length or close to it, ranging from lightweight to heavy so you can style this look to any season. A lightweight duster looks amazing with a t-shirt and hat over your black leggings.

Utility Jacket

A utility jacket paired with black leggings is pleasingly androgynous—an almost martial look paired with the feminine shapeliness of the leggings. Throw on a scarf and some ankle boots to look like a girly version of Maverick in Top Gun. What can we say … there will always be something “80s” about black leggings … and we’re here for it.

Faux-Fur Coat

Want to look like a movie star without a care in the world? Put on a pair of shiny black leggings and a faux-fur coat. For extra credit, add a pair of stiletto heels and oversized shades. You will instantly look at home even on the most exclusive runways. Long coats work just as well as shorter coats.

Cardigan

Almost any long jacket, sweater, or outerwear choice works well with black leggings. Throwing a long cardigan over matte black leggings adds a little preppie charm to a leisurely look. Wear it with sneakers and glasses, and it becomes “girl next door” with a twist.

Chambray Shirt

A chambray shirt is another great choice to contrast the snug fit of the black leggings with something loose and androgynous. Paired with feminine accessories, it becomes sassy, casual, and effortlessly cool. Try ankle boots and shades. This look communicates confidence, competence, and the right amount of cheeky rebelliousness.

Pencil Skirt or Mini Skirt

Your black leggings don’t have to be worn as outerwear. They can actually look fantastic under a pencil skirt or mini skirt. A pencil skirt in particular makes it easy to wear your black leggings to work. Consider pairing matte black leggings with a gray pencil skirt and a black top for a look of timeless style and class.

Tunic Dress

Another way to keep your black leggings in play without wearing them as outerwear is to throw on a tunic dress. Tunic dresses contrast the snug leggings with something light, loose, and airy. A light-colored tunic dress allows girls with spring or summer complexions to bring some of that sunny vibe into the cooler months without freezing their lower curvy parts. A brightly-colored tunic dress becomes the star of the show, with black leggings more of an accent.

Crop Top

Several fashion influencers love to flaunt their stuff with black leggings and a loose crop top. It’s a risky move, but when you throw on almost any kind of cool outerwear, it becomes confident and alluring with a little bit modesty and mystery.

Sports Bra

This is another risky choice, but black leggings are essentially athleisurewear, so a sports bra makes sense. Just make sure, when outside the gym, to throw some outerwear over it, considering bright colors to contrast the black in your leggings.

Oversized Sweatshirt

Back to baggy/tight pairings, oversized sweatshirts look awesome with black leggings. It’s the perfect “no-brainer” outfit to run some errands or grab a cup of coffee as the leaves start to turn and the weather gets brisk.

Oversized Tee

To achieve a look similar to the oversized sweatshirt in the summer months, throw on an oversized t-shirt. Since you’re pairing them with black leggings, matching becomes a snap—you can choose whatever color, print, or graphic you like, knowing it won’t clash. Nothing clashes with black.

Stilettos

When it comes to footwear, it can be risky to pair black leggings with heels. It is, after all, athleisurewear and not really meant to be worn to dressy events. But tell that to the fashion influencers who love to break rules. Confident women can pull off shiny black leggings with stiletto heels and a spangly top.

Ankle Boots

Ankle boots are a great footwear choice to pair with black leggings in the cooler months. They can be casual or just a little dressy, comfortable, and warm enough to keep your toes toasty while the leggings keep your legs toasty. Works well with a business-casual outfit when you cover your leggings with a skirt or dress.

Brown Boots

Brown boots and black leggings are a classic combination, hiding your ankles with a cozy earth-tone and evoking ski holiday past and present. Wear this look with a bulky jacket and a sexy hat, and you’re ready for the slopes.

Sneakers

Athletic leggings are inherently casual, which makes them the perfect complement for sneakers of all kinds. Try your black leggings with your favorite pair of Converse, Pumas, Vans, Nikes, or Adidas. You can hardly break a look like this, even with a wide variety of tops and outerwear.

Sandals

Flip-flops may be a little too casual to wear out and about with your black leggings. But dressier sandals, either flat or elevated, work perfectly. They’re still casual, but they kick an athletic look up a notch.

Q&A Black Leggings

Are black leggings casual?

It really depends. They sure feel like they should be casual because they are so comfy. It is certainly easy to build casual outfits around your black leggings. But remember, one of the biggest selling points of black leggings (other than how hot they look) is their versatility. Paired with a classy top and coat, along with a set of smashing heels, and you’re ready for the red carpet. They’re like patent-leather shoes, but for your legs. Don’t be afraid to experiment—pair those black leggings with your t-shirts and your dresses.

What do black leggings look good with?

The honest answer to this question is “almost anything.” It’s the “little black dress” of legwear. They can work as outerwear with a tank top, chambray shirt, or cardigan; they also work as underwear beneath a tunic dress or pencil skirt, keeping your legs warm while adding a subtle accent. Wearing black leggings under a skirt works particularly well with a black top, creating continuity between the top and the bottom. They work especially well with retro outfits, especially with 70s- and 80s-era accents.

Are black leggings appropriate for work?

Wearing black leggings as outerwear may not fly in a corporate environment. They may be too revealing and attention-grabbing. However, there are plenty of ways to integrate black leggings into a conservative workplace outfit. You can wear your black leggings under a grey pencil skirt with a conservative black top, or underneath a skirt suit. A dark, solid color doesn’t read as unprofessional the way colorful print leggings might. Layered with your business and business casual attire, black leggings have the advantage of keeping your legs warm in an office that tends to blast the A/C.

Is it ok to wear leggings everyday?

Well, don’t neglect to wash them! They will end up getting funky. You probably don’t want to wear your black leggings out in the hot sun, either—the dark fabric will suck up sunlight and roast your legs like sausages. Weather and cleanliness permitting, however, black leggings are so versatile—so easy to pair, layer, and build outfits around—that they really do fit the bill of an “everyday” garment. You can wear your black leggings every day without anyone ever thinking your wardrobe is repetitive, because there are so many fun ways to style them.

What should you NOT wear with black leggings?

Despite their versatility, there are dos and don’ts of wearing black leggings. Bodysuits tend to show atrocious panty lines when paired with black leggings and a skirt or shorts. Pairing black leggings with flip flops can look a little bit too casual. Crop tops might be a little too revealing unless you layer it with something oversized. A snug top with snug leggings might take the “snug” paradigm a little too far.

Are black leggings slimming?

Generally speaking, black leggings are flattering on almost everyone. The snug fit smooths out your curves, hiding any “imperfections,” while the dark color creates an optical illusion of a slimming effect. Black leggings are one of the few garments that nearly every woman can wear with confidence. Don’t want to reveal that much? Layer with long outerwear, dresses, or skirts to enjoy the comfort of black leggings without a whiff of insecurity.

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