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Love Your Look: When to wear leggings, tights or bare legs

We ask a wardrobe stylist to weigh in on the winter fashion dilemma.

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — It's a common winter dilemma for those of us in cold-weather climates: when is it appropriate to wear leggings vs. tights, and is it ever OK to bare your legs?

In our latest "Love Your Look" series, 3News' Sara Shookman met up with Wardrobe Stylist Megan Moran of The Style Foundry at Cascades Boutique in Chagrin Falls to answer those very questions,

To start, Megan wanted to make one point very clear - Leggings are not pants. Repeat after us: Leggings are not pants.

But don't panic. There are plenty of appropriate ways to wear these comfortable and functional wardrobe pieces. And, they're very different from the rules of wearing tights.

So how does it all break down? Megan provided the tips below to get you started.

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  1. How to wear leggings:
    • Instead of wearing athletic-type leggings, swap them out for a ponte pant. This creates a more polished and put-together look as the fabric is slightly dressier.
    • Also remember to pair these tighter pants with a longer looser blouse, cardigan, and/or jacket to ensure your bottom is covered and you're more comfortable. This also allows you to balance out your shape, so your entire outfit isn't skin tight or all baggy.
    • Wearing a tunic dress (i.e. a dress that is too short to wear without bottoms but too long to wear with regular pants), is another way to infuse leggings into your wardrobe. Make sure to pair them with tall boots so your legs aren't too exposed.
  2. When should you wear tights?
    • You'll want to pull your tights out when wearing your dresses in the cold winter months.
    • It's best to pair your tights with boots or booties, and in some cases, pointed toe heels.
    • Opt for a sheer pair of black tights so you can see some skin underneath. This creates additional layers and dimension, and ensures you don't look like one continuous piece of fabric from your shoulders to your feet.
    • If you plan on wearing tights often, consider investing in a good pair that won't snag and will last you a while. If you're only wearing them once or twice a season, a less expensive pair from Target or Amazon will do just fine.
    • When it comes to caring for your tights, wash them inside-out on a delicate cycle. You can even consider washing them in a bra bag to keep them extra safe and extend their life
    • Megan recommends Spanx or Commando brand, both are available on Amazon.
  3. Can you ever rock a bare leg in the winter?
    • Going to a formal event or out for a date night? Sometimes your outfit will call for no tights at all. Typically this is when your dress is too formal to pair with black sheer tights or if you're wearing an open toe shoe.
    • If you don't feel comfortable going tights-less, try switching up your outfit to either a dress you can wear tights with or pants.

Web extra: How to care for your leggings and tights

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