What do you think of when you picture classic 80s pop fashion? If you’re picturing spandex leggings then we are on the same wavelength, my friend. Alas…it’s not 1985, it’s 2020 and times have changed.

Leggings are still as comfy, practical, and versatile as ever…but how do we style them to make a chic statement in the new decade? 

Welcome to our ultimate guide for how to style spandex leggings! We’ve curated different ideas for every style, season and occasion…complete with the all-important celeb inspiration. 

An oversized tee and trainers 

Celebrity inspiration: Hailey Baldwin and her incredible bod make a tee, leggings, and trainers look like Princess Di of the new decade. Note how her hair and makeup (or no-makeup and perfect skin!) always look fresh and put-together no matter how casual her athleisure outfits may be. 

This outfit is ideal to wear on a leisurely weekend as you pound the street looking for coffee or a thrift store bargain. What’s more, it’s a great way to fuse a workout with post-gym shopping or friend-date wander through the city. Don’t have an oversized tee? Raid your boyfriend’s closet. 

How-to: 

  • Make sure the tee is long enough to fall to mid-thigh 
  • A slouchy or off-the-shoulder tee adds extra cool factor
  • Go with fashion-wear trainers as opposed to your worn-in, serious workout pair
  • Trainers in fresh tones such as mint, pale pink, and white keep things feminine 
  • Keep it chic and fashion-forward with a clean pony or bun, and a glowy makeup look with fluttery lashes, filled-in brows, and even a pop of matte color on the lips.
  • Make it winter-friendly by adding an oversized trench coat or denim jacket 

A workout crop and leather jacket 

Celebrity inspiration: we couldn’t get through this guide without a bit of Kendall Jenner styling! The tallest Kar-Jenner rocks an effortless combo of a cropped leather jacket, black leggings, fitted crop top or sports bra, and dark sunglasses.

This is obviously perfect for a yoga class, walk, or light gym workout, but it just as easily translates to a casual brunch or weekend coffee date. It’s all in the styling…

How-to: 

  • Pick high-waisted spandex leggings in a full-length style, this will elongate the body and give your lower tum some flattering support (not that ya need it!)
  • Black leggings are best for this look, as they give a low-key, “model off-duty” vibe and compliment the grunge-style of your leather jacket 
  • Try a long-line crop or sports bra with a flattering V-neckline to frame your face 
  • Fuse athleisure with streetwear by choosing a worn-in, cropped leather jacket with sharp shoulders for structure 
  • Stay comfy and cool with sleek trainers in a matching black or charcoal tone to follow on from your leggings 
  • Keep the hair clean and sleek, with a fresh face to keep you firmly in style mode and not “just out of bed, forcing myself to workout” mode
  • Dark sunglasses polish of the styling with a mysterious, “don’t talk to me, I’ve got things to do” attitude 

Read:

How to DIY 80s hairstyles…

What’s special about statement earrings!…

How to Style Leather Pants

How to Style 1980’s Denim Jackets…

How to Style Leather Jackets…

A slouchy sweater and boots 

Celebrity inspiration: Gigi Hadid and Kendal Jenner (again!) constantly show us the right way to make leggings look easy, comfy, and yes…full of glamour.

Even if us mere mortals don’t have supermodel-meets-influencer proportions, we can make leggings look sexy and cool by wearing with a loose and loungey sweater and boots.

Queen Gigi has even been seen stalking NYC in spandex shorts, stiletto boots, and a long-sleeved slouchy top with a French tuck. 

How-to: 

  • Look for a matte spandex legging in a deep shade of charcoal or black 
  • Veer away from college sweaters or logos and stick with chic, plain sweaters in neutral tones
  • Cashmere sweaters with slouchy necklines give a luxurious, upmarket vibe 
  • High-heeled stiletto boots further elongate your spandex-clad pins 
  • For a grungier look, go for worn-in Chelsea boots or heeled cowboy-style ankle boots 

Go for glossy hair and fresh, dewy skin with an innocent flush to the cheek to keep things soft and feminine 

A mini dress and heels 

Celebrity inspiration: Selena Gomez and Zooey Deschanel are a wealth of ideas for how to make leggings work outside of the gym class. Leggings under a mini dress not only provide a little work-friendly modesty but they keep you warm on those cooler days. 

Selena Gomez demonstrates 1960s style with shift dresses over tights with a high updo and cat-eye makeup. Swap those sheer tights out for spandex leggings and you’re good to go! Zooey shows us how to style a fit-and-flare dress with a slight hint of the 1950s silhouette. 

How-to: 

  • Opt for high necklines to balance out a shorter hemline when dressing for work 
  • Try long-sleeved mini dresses for Fall, so you can keep things clean without having to layer with jackets or cardigans 
  • Go for embellished mini dresses for party-time sparkle, and keep your accessorizing clean and minimal 
  • Avoid bodycon or super-fitted dresses as you risk looking like you’re wearing a full catsuit. A-line or shift dresses flatter your legs (and are far comfier to wear)
  • Try a pair of suede knee-high heeled boots or leather mid-rise boots to cover the hemline of the leggings for a streamlined look 



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