Reader Question: How to Style Leggings & Tunics

Natty Gal,
Could you offer suggestions on how to pull off the tunic/legging look. I’m having a hard time finding things that don’t look too matronly or too floaty.  Also, I can’t tell when you should wear leggings as opposed to skinny jeans.  Any advice would be appreciated.  – J
Dear J,
Thanks for following Natty Gal and writing in!  Leggings are one of my favorite things to wear because they are so comfortable and they pack well when we travel!

 

Natty Gal Tips for Wearing Leggings:

  • Make sure leggings are opaque.  Denim, ponte and heavier cotton blends work best.
  • Pair leggings with tops that fully cover your bottom but remain well above the knee.  Possibilities include longer tops/tees, sweaters and tunics.  Shorter dresses (shifts, swing, a-line, cinch-waist or shirt dresses) also pair well.
  • Shoe pairings include clean, classic sneakers or espadrilles, loafers, ballet flats, flat or heeled sandals, wedges, flat or heeled booties and riding boots. I tend to prefer slightly above the ankle length leggings for pairing with sneakers, loafers and flat sandals whereas full length leggings work well with heeled sandals and booties.

Skinny jeans work well with both longer and shorter top options.  A shirt dress can be paired with either skinny jeans or leggings as layering piece when worn open as a vest.  A few ideas to inspire your creativity are shown below!

How to Style Leggings: Everyday Casual
 Style Leggings & Tunic: Everyday Casual
Look 1
For daily errands or sightseeing on vacation.

Look 2

An evening casual look for drinks with the neighbors by the firepit or for a weekend away at a cottage by the lake.

How to Style Leggings: Elevated Casual

Style Leggings & Tunics: Elevated Casual

Two simple, polished looks for meeting friends, visiting the local farmer’s market, etc.

Look 1

Look 2

How to Style Leggings: Evening

Style Leggings & Tunics: Evening

Look 1

An easy resort look for summer vacation.

Look 2

The navy/black combo and moto jacket help give this look an urban (yet comfy) vibe.

Skinny Jean Option

A longer top would enable these looks to work with leggings as well.

Skinny Jeans: Casual

Look 1

A bit more summer-y!  Leave the shirt dress unbuttoned and wear as a vest over the tee.

Look 2

For taking the look into fall, pair with a long cardigan and booties.

Wardrobe Building: Adding Personality to Your Capsule

Over the past few weeks we’ve covered the benefits of a capsule wardrobe as well as how to create a strong foundation for building a functional spring/summer capsule.  Today we get to the fun stuff – adding some color and personality!

Step 1: Choose the palette for your accent colors.

Two or three accents give you a lot of mileage but you can get by with as few as one.  If you love color and would like more accent options, choosing shades of one of your primary accents is an easy way to extend your palette.

Choose accents that look great with your neutrals.  Blues look great with brown and khaki, berry tones pop against navy, etc.  The author of The Vivienne Files has a great “start with art” series that leads to some fantastic palettes.  If there is a scarf or print fabric that you often get complemented on, using it as a base is another good way to find color inspiration.

Capsule Personality: Color Palette

 

 

Step 2: Start filling in with pieces.

Tops and sweaters will get you a lot of wardrobe mileage as will accessories (scarves, jewelry, handbags, shoes).  For those comfortable with the capsule concept, you may even want to consider adding a pant, skirt or jacket in your accent color.

Step 2 is also the step where you will be adding trend items to your capsule.  If you’ve been wanting to try a lace front top or embroidered item – go for it!  Just keep it in your palette’s color scheme.

Capsule Personality: Color

Capsule Personality: Pattern

Capsule Personality: Color

Capsule Personality: Pattern

Aside from color, another way to add interest to your capsule is to select a few print or patterned pieces in either your neutral or accent palette.

Capsule Personality: Pattern

Capsule Personality: PatternCapsule Personality: Pattern

Have fun this week injecting your capsule with some personality!  Next week, we’ll wrap the series up with a sample capsule including full outfit ideas.

Earth Day: Be a Conscious Clothing Consumer

Tomorrow is Earth Day and Natty Gal is taking part by speaking today on the topic of waste in fashion with some statistics and resources below.  I don’t want to be too preachy as many people enjoy fashion as a fun and affordable hobby but do ask that you try to be mindful of what you consume.  Excess has consequences.

Enjoy the weekend – get out there and plant something, pick up some litter or just enjoy this spectacular planet we live on!

Creation by Colombian designer Brahyan Castaneda at BioFashion Show, November 19, 2016 (Photo by Luis Robayo/AFP Photo)
Statistics
  • In less than 20 years, the volume of clothing Americans toss each year has doubled from 7 million to 14 million tons.
  • Currently, the average American throws away 82 pounds of clothes every single year.
  • On average, only 20% of clothing donated to charity sells.
  • 40% will be baled and shipped over the world.
    • United States is the biggest exporter of used clothes.
    • Top importing countries of used clothing are India, Russia and Pakistan.
  • 84% of unwanted clothes in the United States end up in a landfill or an incinerator.
    • Natural fibers in a landfill act like food waste, producing methane gas as they degrade. Chemicals from bleaches and dyes can leach into groundwater. Burning the items in incinerators can release toxins into the air.
    • Synthetic fibers are essentially a petroleum based plastic that takes hundreds of years to degrade.
  • Commercially scalable, closed-loop textile recycling technology is five to 10 years away, at best.

Source: Newsweek.com

Additional Information

For additional information read To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion or Naked Fashion: The New Sustainable Fashion Revolution.

Watch Minimalism, The True Cost, Sweatshop: Deadly Fashion or this brief video.

For inspiration on how to do more with less, check out how this young mother survived an experiment of wearing just six items for six weeks!  And, of course, check out Natty Gal’s recent posts on capsule wardrobes.

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