screenshot of an article on the daily news written by Jeanette Settembre

Leggings are a wardrobe staple for all fashionable New York women, not just the likes of Miley and models


Other notable posts

Famed Roca Brothers commit to feeding the world

The interior of El Celler de Can Roca, named the world's best restaurant.Courtesy of American Express Feed the world. That’s what the Roca Brothers—Joan, Josep, and Jordi—of top-rated Catalan restaurant El Celler de Can Roca have set out to do. Guests who can get a...

Bill Murray was my bartender last night

I blame Bill Murray for my hangover. After hearing that the iconic actor would be bartending at his son's restaurant, 21 Greenpoint, on Friday night, I figured I'd give him a shot. Turns out, he ended up giving me a few too many. I waited anxiously in line among...

Long live the legging!

Montana Republican House leaders agreed to amend an asinine one-page dress code last week that declared “leggings are not considered dress pants” for women working on the house floor, after critics dubbed the code sexist and outdated.

“After getting much controversy, (the dresscode) has now been revised to business casual,” Chief Clerk of the Montana House Lindsey Grovom told the Daily News of the former guidelines which also stated “Women should be sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines.”

If New York ever tried to do the same thing, the entire city would have to buy a new wardrobe.

As a reporter who writes about food for a living, spandex is my best friend. I live — and breathe better — in a pair of opaque leggings from American Apparel, in the office and everywhere else. I make sure to cover my bits and pieces with a long button-up shirt or sweater. I even sat front row at New York Fashion Week in the same pair. It’s my comfort couture.

“Don’t lawmakers have a better use of their time than worrying about women’s dress code?” asks designer Nicole Miller. “There are dressy leggings and casual leggings … depending on what they are accessorized with they can go from chic to casual,” she adds.

Leggings come in as many varieties as there are legs: business-friendly, sporty, glamorous and even formal, but there’s a time and a place for every pair.

A little leather goes a long way  for Sarah Uibel, lifestyle director at LFB Media Group when it comes to dressing up her favorite pair of leggings in the office. (Kathy Kmonicek for New York Daily News)

“Well, there are leather leggings and then there are spandex,” Stacey Bendet, CEO and Creative Director of Alice + Olivia told the Daily News. “I don’t want to see pajamas and hoo-ha lines at work, but leather leggings, a sweater and boot are super chic.”

The legging has become a must-need item for contemporary dressing. The form-fitting, high-waisted, stretchy Disco Pant is among one of the best sellers at American Apparel. Overall, legging sales increased 9% in 2013, reaching $209 million in the U.S., the most recent stat available.

West Village media coordinator Sarah Uibel, 30, exemplifies office chic in a pair of high waisted Isabel Marant suede leggings she can’t live without.

“You have to make sure they’re thick enough so that you aren’t giving a free show,” says Uibel, adding that some rookies make fashion faux pas.

“If an intern ever showed up in rhinestone bedazzled ones with ‘Diva’ or ‘Hottie’ on the rear, I would send her home immediately,” she says.

Not only did the Big Sky Country’s dress code make no sense, it made no fashion sense for other young professionals in the Big Apple.

“If I could make it a law that says we could wear stretch pants anytime I want I would,” says Stuvesant Town lifestyle expert Valerie Greenberg. “They really are a girl’s best friend on days that we feel bloated.”
Greenberg favors a pair of $20 black Hanes leggings when she’s running marathons or grabbing coffee and elevates the effortless evening look with booties and a button down from Express.

“As long as your tush isn’t sticking out, it’s OK,” she says.

Let’s face it, not everyone is a size two, and some women are just looking for the skinny jean effect without squeezing into a pair.
“They’re sexy, slimming and comfortable,” says Upper East Sider Jacklyn Minker.

“I’ve worn them on every occasion: at the airport with a sweater, to meetings with a blazer and even used them for my Cat Woman costume on Halloween,” adds the 23-year-old marketing analyst who wore Gap leggings to yoga class, but went with Helmut Lang leather legs and a Chanel bag for a recent Tinder date.

Bottom line: Leggings are legit.

“If you can’t see your legs, it’s pants,” “Today” show co-host Kathie Lee Gifford wrote in her Daily News column.

“If I could make it a law that says we could wear stretch pants anytime I want I would,” says Stuvesant Town lifestyle expert Valerie Greenberg. (Kathy Kmonicek for New York Daily News)

If you really want to turn heads, Minker insists it’s important to buy the right size.
“No one likes a muffin top!” she says.

Let’s keep it classy, ladies.

Leggings dos and don’ts

Leggings are the multipurpose wardrobe staple, but be sure to practice proper fashion sense when mastering your look.

“You obviously wouldn’t wear a tube top with leggings like Miley Cyrus,” says Greenberg.


The late trendsetter Elaine Stritch was known for rocking black tights as pants. (DENISE WINTERS/AP)

-Wear a shirt or sweater to cover your assets.

-Make sure your leggings are long enough.

-If you’re wearing leggings to work, opt for a dressy material such as suede or leather.

-If you’re wearing cotton leggings to work, stick to black.


-Wear leggings that are too tight or too loose. Your leggings should be tight enough to fit slimly over your legs, but not so tight that people can see every dimple in your legs.

-Wear leggings with the wrong shoes such as flip-flops.

-Wear sheer leggings.

jeanette settembre headshot

About the author

Jeanette Settembre is a writer, editor and content strategist from New York City specializing in enterprise storytelling. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, WSJ Magazine, Architectural Digest, The New York Daily News, The New York Post, Dow Jones,, Mansion Global, Barron’s Magazine, YahooLife! and many other publications.
Share This