Leggings vs. Skinny Jeans: How to Choose | The Kewl Blog

Leggings vs. Skinny Jeans: How to Choose

Last updated on : September 15 2016

leggings v skinny jeans

Leggings and skinny jeans are go-to options for comfortable bottom wear that easily dresses up or down; depending on what you have planned for the day. Amazing leggings and skinny jeans are great ways to show off your legs without showing any skin—a good idea as the weather starts to cool down. Leggings provide a stylish additional layer of clothing to keep you warm; and skinny jeans are often complimentary to various looks.

While they may seem similar, leggings and skinny jeans are actually quite different. Both articles of clothing have distinct pros and cons. Let us help you decide which type of legwear is your best option this fall in this brief comparison on the differences between leggings and skinny jeans.

What are leggings?

As Kim Kardashian explains, "Leggings killed velour sweatpants, I used to only wear them until leggings came along." Leggings lie somewhere in between actual pants and tights—thinner than the former, and thicker than the latter. Whether or not leggings qualify as pants is a matter of eternal debate. The answer, we believe, lies in the quality of the leggings and the thickness of the fabric.

Leggings are typically made of a cotton or polyester and spandex blend. They are designed to be opaque, unlike most yoga pants. However, it is important to pick the right size for you. A tad too small and you might end up with leggings that are stretched too thin and therefore, more likely to be transparent.

Most leggings today are just not thick or heavy enough. Quality leggings like the ones we offer here are made of a special blend of polyester and spandex. This ensures that your leggings hug your curves to show off your hips and booty to perfection. Available in a multitude of styles, prints, and patterns, leggings allow you to indulge your love for the galaxy or cartoon characters. For a more austere and neutral look, a pair of black leggings is now considered a closet staple.


  • Leggings are one of the most versatile bottom wear options to in fashion today. Wear them under a dress, with a tunic, or just a nice long shirt, and you are good to go!
  • The sheer variety of designs and patterns that leggings are available in is overwhelming; and every fashionistas dream. Available in all colors under the sun, leggings give you the opportunity to showcase your personality like few other articles of clothing are able to do.


  • Leggings require a little more coverage from top wear. They are better worn with longer tops or tunics if you intend to wear them socially. Alternatively, for light yoga and pilates they are ideal with sports tops and tanks.

What are skinny jeans?

A revolutionary piece of clothing that has undergone a number of manifestations, skinny jeans were first introduced over six decades ago in the 1950s. Though skinny jeans started out as slim-fit denims, today they have evolved into the skin-tight versions that they are.

Made of stretchable denim fabric, skinny jeans definitely qualify as pants. Like regular-fit denims, these jeans too have a button and zipper. Very narrow at the ankles, these jeans stretch well enough to hug and trace your curves, although the material is not as soft or lightweight as quality leggings.


  • Skinny jeans are tight pants, and can be worn with shorter top wear.
  • Denim tends to be a warmer clothing option as compared to most leggings.


  • Since they are made of denim, skinny jeans are bulkier than the average legging.
  • If you intend to wear skinny jeans with boots, they might alter the shape of your boots because jeans are the heavier denim fabric to conceal; the end result might not be as classy as it would be with leggings.

How to Wear Leggings or Skinny Jeans

While skinny jeans are easily worn to most outings, there are a few occasions when this type of bottom wear will just not do. You cannot pair skinny jeans with formal attire. The material i.e. denim is not considered an option for formal wear. Skinny jeans are also not the best thing to wear while working out, unless you want chafed thighs. It is likely you have seen skinny jean impersonators on hip hop dancers and the like - but those are often simply leggings styled to resemble jeans such as jeggings.

Leggings, on the other hand, are quite versatile. Not only will you find imitation jeans leggings that masquerade as skinny jeans but fit beautifully like quality leggings do; but you can also opt for leatherette or suede leggings for a more polished look. Much of how your leggings will be perceived in the formal-informal spectrum depends on what you pair them with. For example, a long t-shirt works just fine for a day spent at the mall, but if you pair it with a classy top/shirt and a well-fitting blazer, you would be ready for most occasions and outings fairly quickly.  

Styling Tips for Skinny Jeans

  • For a casual daytime outfit, style a colored pair of skinny jeans with a neutral jacket. Your jeans add a pop of color to your outfit, while your neutral jacket make the overall outfit look more sophisticated. Add a pair of chic pumps, and an oversized  tote, and you are ready to go.
  • For a comfortable yet casual look, pair your skinny jeans with a structured vest. Not only does this add a layer to your clothing, but it is also a trendy option with plenty of versatile patterns and fabrics. Consider pairing your skinny jeans with a faux-fur collared vest and boots with your skinny jeans.
  • When you want to channel your inner biker babe, simply throw on a pair of black skinny jeans, a leather jacket, and studded boots.

Styling Tips for Leggings

  • If your leggings have a bold pattern or design on them, make sure that they are the highlight of your outfit. Pairing your patterned leggings with a tunic or shirt that boasts a different pattern results in an outfit that is too loud and maybe even garish.
  • Whether you intend to go sightseeing while on a vacation or just window-shopping at the mall - leggings can be your best friend and easily become a closet staple. Try pairing your leggings with a tasteful shirt dress and accessories. Good quality leggings should fit you snugly, so you can try belting your shirt dress at the high waist without worrying about any unsightly bunching or folding at the waistline.
  • For casual lunches or house-parties, you can pair your leggings with an oversized t-shirt or shirt. Such tops ensure that you have enough coverage to let your hair down and enjoy yourself while also leaving ample room for movement and ventilation to help you keep cool.
  • Tunics and leggings are a match made in heaven. Use any short dresses you might have as a makeshift tunic to pair with your leggings. Perfect for a trip to the supermarket or for a walk in the park, you cannot go wrong with a simple tunic and legging combination.
  • Another great way to wear leggings is with a pair of shorts on top, a sleeveless fitted top, a waterfall cardigan, and chic booties. This is a great way to layer up in style as the weather transitions to cool.
  • For a sporty yet feminine look, pair your leggings with a fitted top and flared skater skirt or a skater dress, and top it off with riding boots.

Best Footwear Options for Skinny Jeans and Leggings

Pairing tight-fitting bottom wear with the right shoes is paramount to completing your look. However, getting it just right may be a challenge. Here are a few styles and tips that work well with the overall booty hugging pants look.

Boots. Boots ought to be your go-to option for footwear anytime you wear skinny jeans or leggings and it’s cold outside. Whether you prefer ankle-, knee-, or thigh-length boots does not matter. Pick a trendy lace-up pair, combat boots, or motorcycle boots to draw attention to your legs.

Pumps. We doubt there is any outfit that would not look better with the right pair of pumps, stilettos, or strappy high heels than leggings and skinny jeans. Leggings and skinny jeans are no different. Pair faux leather leggings with color-pop pumps for a perfect date-night look.

Flats. Whether you simply do not like wearing heels or like knowing that you have the option to switch to flats when the need arises, your leggings understand. Pair ballet flats sans the socks, strappy flat sandals, or flip flops with your leggings for a comfortably casual and relaxed look.

Most of us are under the illusion that only women with buns of steel and thighs to match can pull off a pair of leggings. This could not be further than the truth. If you wear them well, style them with balance, and do it with confidence, a woman of any age, and with any body type, can look absolutely great in them. It’s like Kim Kardashian West once said, “Leggings killed velour sweatpants. I used to only wear them until leggings came along.”

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About the Author

Sasithon Bella is the kewl in The Kewl Shop. Co-founder, chief buyer, bandage dress guru and a lot more. If you like what you see at The Kewl Shop it is because of Sasithon Bella. You might know her better as Sasi.



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