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Frugal Fashionista: Can We Pull Off Tights and Leggings?

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Are you new to my Frugal Fashionista series [3]?

Find out how I dress in designer outfits for less. Yes, for mere pennies on the dollar, most of my outfits are less than $20, and did I mention, the majority of the the core pieces are second hand?


This post brought to you by No nonsense [5]. All opinions are 100% mine.

For years, when I heard the word “tights,” I was instantly transported back to my childhood Sunday School days when memories of itchy legs and smooshed toes made me dread ever covering my legs. I’m pretty sure I went the next twenty years without a tight in sight, and much to my mother’s chagrin, no panty hose or tights were allowed under my wedding dress. If bare legs break the rules, I’m the chief culprit.

As an adult, not only did I avoid tights, but also leggings because those transported me back to high school with my humungous hair, purple eyeshadow and lack of dates, yet as I started looking around at some of the really cute outfits that I loved, things like a simple black dress accented with a slight leopard print on the leg or a basic skirt layered with pops of color underneath, I realized that something ordinary became completely eye catching when tights or legging were used as thew “new statement” pieces.

Yes, these were tights,but not the tights from my memories gone wrong. These were adorable tights and fun, comfortable leggings that completely changed up the look of an outfit, and I had to put all preconceived notions aside in the name of new fashion. :) I’m still stepping into this new area of tights, but I’ve had fun pairing them under my dresses and skirts.

The best part is that they are so inexpensive that you can really add a variety into your wardrobe and they can be found at most retail stores or even drug stores. (Use those CVS bucks. :)

 Last week, I found this adorable turquoise sleeveless dress at Goodwill. It’s the kind of material I love best – that thick cotton I could sleep in and honestly, I didn’t want to wait til it warmed up to wear it, but bare, pasty, white legs was not an option. During dreary, winter days, a pop of color is just what I need in my outfits, so I paired it with these fun blue tights (yes, No nonsense tights and leggings [6] for just $5), my yard sale grey jacket, and some boots. I made a summer dress rock double duty in the middle of winter and loved every minute of it.

One of my favorite thrift store finds this summer came from this $3.50 brown and turquoise dress. It has such a unique pattern and I just love the sleeves. For my 5’8″ frame,  it never crossed my mind to wear this as a dress, and one of the best things about purchasing second hand, is that I don’t get scared off by something like this.  I knew that I could pair it with leggings and it would be a perfect Frugal Fashionista outfit. I was right.

These pictures were taken at our Becoming Conference, [7] and two days before it started, I had a serious toe injury which caused me to ditch all my fun heels and boots that I had planned on wearing. (FYI, typically, I would suggest wearing darker boots with dark leggings, but these flats were the only ones my swollen toe would allow.)  It’s a great example of  how leggings can really give a slimming affect. No one would guess that I had recently gained ten pounds because the eye is drawn down instead of to my waist.

I had to add this group picture  because all three of us were wearing a  combination of either a long tunic or dress with leggings/tights and boots. This was completely unplanned, but shows the variety of looks created. Abby, in the middle, added brown tights to her dress and I just love how it complemented her outfit.

Now remember, it’s easy to make some mistakes when wearing  leggings, so let’s clear up any misconceptions. In our home, I’ve had to set down the law with our teenage daughter and even our nine year old because much of the trend right now reveals too much. Every one may view this differently, but I want to err on the side of modesty, and so I have instructed our girls that their top or dress should come down at least two inches below their rear end like the shirt dress and black leggings shown on the right.


Most of the leggings “crimes” being committed come from those that hold the fashion opinion that leggings are interchangeable with pants or skinny jeans. Even my sweet niece was wearing them like that over Christmas and I cringed. They are not, so please don’t try and make them such. I see so many women wearing a regular shirt with leggings and I practically rush to shield my sons’ eyes. (Ok, I don’t actually do that, but often I need to.) If I wanted to see every nook and cranny of that girl’s cute tush, I’d return to my aerobics class, and I haven’t been in years, so don’t make me go.

I love to layer when I wear leggings, so remember to just balance your layers when wearing them. Since leggings are tighter,  choose a larger, loose fitting top to go with them.  Don’t try and wear tight tops with tight bottoms, even if the top is longer. Leave some things to the imagination.

Even though the picture above shows small size models, don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to be tiny to pull off leggings. Leggings are perfect for women of all ages and sizes since they are very forgiving. Quite frankly, I think that they can be very flattering for larger sized women IF worn correctly. Since they accent smaller calves and ankles, it’s a great way to update and change up a look.  As I gained some weight this past year, leggings became my go to item as I wore them with long shirt type dresses or tunics and then wore leggings paired with tall boots. The look is very slimming, and gave me the pick me up I needed, especially on those days I was frustrated with my wardrobe.

Yes, adding pops of color to your wardrobe is perfect for everyone this 2013. Like lipstick, tights or leggings can be a great statement piece to lift your mood and extend your wardrobe. I know some of you still may not be convinced that adding color should be on the legs, but I encourage you to step our of your comfort zone just once. You’ll never know if you don’t try, and this may be just the new fashion accessory for which your wardrobe was begging.

So let’s talk fashion.

Have you started adding any color to your wardrobe through leggings or tights?  Are your interested in giving it a try?

Interested in more ideas? Check out: No nonsense on Facebook [9], twitter [10]or watch style guru, Jill Martin share what to do when you have nothing to wear.


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