Should Plus-size Women Wear Leggings?

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In previous times, wearing form-fitting clothing was a fashion taboo for plus-size women. It was frowned upon and actively discouraged as very few brands produced form-fitting clothing for larger women. Times have now changed, and the incessant question remains, should plus-size women wear leggings?

There are several ways to play up or play down a legging outfit, and plus-size women are not exempted from the fun! Just like any other woman, plus size women should be free to wear leggings and feel stylish.

Leggings have been a contemporary fashion trend for years now. Who wouldn’t love a pair of nice, soft, and comfy leggings to lounge all day in the house in or run a quick errand in? Their versatility has made them a wardrobe staple for nearly all fashion-forward ladies around the globe. So what makes leggings quite popular among women, young and old? Here are 7 reasons why we are madly in love with leggings.

1.  They are super comfortable being in

2.  They help accentuate your natural curves

3.  They are really low maintenance as compared to denim and other forms of fabric pants

4.  They are multipurpose and can be paired up with nearly anything in your wardrobe from dresses to tops to jackets and so forth.

5.  They are affordable and easily accessible in clothing stores

6.  They come in an array of cool designs, lengths, patterns, colors, and prints.

7.  They provide the needed support for your lower half.

The debate on whether or not leggings are an appropriate form of clothing has been there even before variables such as being plus size or not were introduced to the discussion. By design, leggings are body-hugging and do go the extra mile in revealing every bulge and dent on your body. Many have criticized this form of dressing for leaving little to the imagination as everything, as one author put it, ‘is out and open for all and sundry to see.’

Since their introduction into the fashion scene, many fashion commentators and several fashion brand ambassadors saw it as a leisurewear piece. Something you would wear in the privacy of your home or at most only to the gym! Few would have imagined that leggings would one day be rocked in more ‘public’ events such as parties, a relaxed evening out with friends or loved ones, and yes, even to the office!

At the time, it was understandable why leggings were only considered leisure private wear. They were extremely see-through, very lightweight, and offered very little if any form of decent ‘coverage.’ However, designers put in the work and gradually began churning out more progressive pieces – the translucent meshwork pieces were traded in for more opaque materials. Fabrics such as leather, denim, and various other synthetic fabrics were put into use. The lightweight support was replaced by thicker material that helped push up and support the thighs, hips, and butt and minimize wiggle during movements.

Numerous new styles and variations were adopted. Leggings that looked more formal with darker hues, crisp and clean cuts around the ankles, and appeared decent for office wear. Others were more playful and radiant and were considered great for a day out and about. Gradually leggings found their way into a majority of main-stream styles and fashion collections. However, one thing has never quite changed about past and modern-day leggings, their body-hugging nature.

Whereas it’s true that with the new variations and designs of leggings, some are not so body-hugging as others, but the case remains. Leggings are perhaps the most form-fitting piece of clothing out in the market today hence why their decency has been constantly debated, especially in the workplace.  Those who consider it a complete fashion don’t put up quite an argument that is basically premised on modesty and a lack of formalness about this type of clothing. They consider it too playful and should be reserved for occasions that this casual style is befitting, which is entirely not the workplace.

With such disapproving remarks on wearing leggings on the premise of decency and modesty regardless of whether you are stuck skinny or thick and curvy, you can imagine what these commentators and the general public have to say when they spot a plus-size woman in them out in public!

Hideous, disgusting, awful, outrageous, indecent, and even naked are all the terms hurled at plus-size women if they choose to wear leggings. The disapproval is usually stronger as people seem to be vexed by the showcase of fat or cellulite dimples through clothing. A common phenomenon in many plus-size women who wear leggings is how their belly pouch sticks out and their thick flabby thighs hang out. People are horrified by the thought of such a sight. Such a large display is completely unacceptable to many.

Fashion Rules and Dogma

Since times immemorial, plus-size women have always been told what they can and cannot wear to be more flattering and pleasant to the eye. Fashion rules such as avoiding bold colors, patterns, and vertical lines were some of the stringent and inconsiderate rules imposed. Plus, size women were required to be in dull opaque colors, presumably to conceal their fat. They were denied the opportunity to feel good in what they wear. Their choices were limited to these unwritten rules.

With several plus-size models and other plus-size women taking center stage in the fashion and entertainment industry, many of these rules have been flushed out. Women with thicker and larger curves have been seen spotting ‘forbidden’ pieces of clothing yet look glamorous, decent, and desirable. This has paved the way for many more plus-size women to break these archaic rules and wear whatever they wanted and feel good about.

By the same token, the stringent rules forbidding plus size women from wearing leggings should be thrown to the wind. As opposed to banning the wearing of leggings- designers, commentators should look to advise how plus-size women can best wear them. Again, the purpose of this ‘advice’ should not be to curtail the enjoyment of plus-size women of this item and restrict them to wear only particular types or cuts of leggings but rather to guide them on the various styles they could adopt for their everyday wear needs.

As evident in the world of fashion, there are always exceptions to the rule.

Fashion is continuously evolving and adapting to new styles and trends. Likewise, plus-size women should not be held hostage by archaic fashion trends in force decades ago. It is only by breaking the rules and doing something new and unexpected that fashion grows. Plus-size women should also be allowed to dress up in new, creative, and unconventional ways. Of course, there will be some hits and some misses, but it’s all worthwhile – the growing pains of the fast-paced fashion industry.

How to Wear Plus Size Women Leggings

Here’s a quick look at how you can rock almost any legging that you buy and look effortlessly stylish.

Tips Before You Buy Leggings

To be forewarned is to be fore-armed. It’s not always easy to identify the perfect plus-size leggings. You, therefore, have to put in a bit of work beforehand so that you make a satisfactory purchase. Some of the factors that you should bear in mind include:

·         Your measurements– there are several leggings classified as plus size, whereas there is nothing plus about their size in real life. Knowing your exact body measurements at the time of the purchase will help you not blindly rely only on the manufacturer’s label as plus size. This gives you an added advantage in picking a pair that is your exact size.

·         Your height -Be mindful of your height, not just your width. Factor in whether you have longer or shorter legs or torso and such other unique traits.  Short leggings that hit above your ankle make you look larger around your lower half, which you would want to avoid.

·         Be specific about what you want – because leggings are becoming more specialized and more occasion-specific with each passing day, you should decide beforehand what type of leggings you want. Is it something for work, the gym, travel, or for relaxed loungewear? This will inform you in which category you should shop.

Tips as You Buy Your Leggings

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to shopping for your pair of leggings. Feel free to pick whatever you like, be open to experimenting with new cuts and designs, don’t shy away from color. As a prudent buyer, you should opt for leggings with more stretch and firmer support.

Extra stretch room is necessary to ensure you remain comfortable and not too squeezed in your pants while opting for a thicker material will help give you firmer support. You will definitely love your leggings with both of these.

Additionally, shop quality-wise, not price-wise. Be sure to examine the fabric’s type and texture, the quality of stitching, and its basic design and fit. Don’t be scared to make a worthwhile investment that will serve you long term simply because you want to save some money. Choose high-quality leggings.

Plus Size Leggings Dressing Tips

Several factors dictate the style that you prefer. Whatever the case, be you and do you. Play around with things in your wardrobe to see what suits you and what does not. Here are some dressing ideas

1.  Wear good underwear – this is by far the most crucial dressing tip for leggings. Good underwear will give you the necessary support and smoothen out your silhouette before adding on your leggings. Never compromise on quality underwear.

2.  Thigh-high boots – this helps draw attention away from your lower half silhouette and onto your boots, which is the outfit’s statement. This is advisable if you are quite conscious of your large thighs.

3.  Invest in less- chunky pieces of footwear – chunky footwear for this particular outfit adds more volume to your lower half and makes you look bigger or more voluminous than you already are. Instead, invest in quality heels, sandals, or even sneakers that are lightweight and do not have too much going.

4.  Long straight sweaters or blouses that fall right under your butt or mid-thigh. This is particularly ideal if you want to conceal your behind. Avoid shapeless or huge pieces of clothing on your upper half, as this will make you appear bigger than what you already are. Instead, pick tops, coats, or blouses with structure, but also with some loose fit to balance out your upper and lower body proportions.

5.  Crop tops and t-shirts – this is a simple yet chic look if you are not frightened to show off your figure. If you plan on spotting this style, make sure you have a high-rise pair of leggings that don’t slip off at the back when you bend! Ensure that the waistband has a firm fit around your waist and does not rollover.

Tip: Typically the thinner the material, the more likely it will roll over at the waistband.


Leggings are ingenious fashion creations that every woman should have the luxury of enjoying. Plus-size women should be allowed to dress up in this savvy apparel just like any other woman would. Some numerous styles and variations are well-suited for plus-size frames, and things are just getting better. Fashion rules that limit what plus size women should or should not wear should be made away with. As with every passing tide of fashion, out with the old and in with the new!

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