Choosing clothing to wear to a wedding is not an easy task. Dress codes, venue, time of year, time of day and personal comfort are all factors to consider when assembling your outfit as a wedding guest.
With so many factors to consider, finding a wedding-appropriate ensemble you love can be a bit of a chore. If comfort is important to you, you may even have thought about wearing leggings.
But, can you wear leggings to a wedding? Is it appropriate?
The truth is, there is no easy answer to this often-asked question. Wearing leggings to a wedding depends on two things: the dress code and your personal definition of leggings.
To learn more about if you can wear leggings to the upcoming nuptials of a family member or friend, read on for all of our style tips on how you can dress for comfort and still look amazing.
The Leggings vs. Tights vs. Treggings Debate
Before we delve into if you can wear leggings to a wedding and how to wear them if you do, let’s first make sure we’re all on the same page. Are leggings and tights different? Are there different rules about wearing them to a wedding?
Let’s dive in to learn everything you need to know before assembling your wedding outfit.
What is the difference between leggings and tights?
Leggings and tights are both body-clinging garments that cover the legs and often come up to the waist. Leggings are thicker and footless and are often worn like pants with a tunic top or a long sweater. Tights have more in common with panty hose because they cover the foot and are always worn under a dress or skirt. Although more opaque than stockings or pantyhose, tights are never an adequate substitute for leggings.
What is the difference between leggings and treggings?
Treggings fit like leggings, but boast thicker fabric and are made to look like trousers. While leggings are traditionally worn for working out or as casual wear, treggings can be dressed up for a more polished look.
Can You Wear Leggings to a Wedding? Learning the Dress Codes
Determining what you can and can’t wear to a wedding begins and ends with the dress code chosen by the bridal couple. Despite your own personal preference, it’s imperative that you follow the dress code laid out by the bride or groom.
Ignoring the dress code is a major faux pas and is disrespectful to your hosts. Think of it this way, the couple has likely spent tens of thousands of dollars on their special day, which includes free food and alcohol for their guests, so they have a right to expect their guests to dress the part.
To ensure you choose appropriate ensembles for any weddings you’ll be attending, we explain each dress code below as well as offer up some helpful examples of what you can wear.
Can you wear leggings to a black tie wedding?
An evening gown is typically the expected attire for women at a black tie wedding. If, however, you aren’t a fan of dresses, there are a few alternatives open to you.
While leggings are a major no-no for a black tie wedding, you can opt for a fancy jumpsuit or a women’s tuxedo. Simply look for items that are offered in a stretchier material and you can enjoy the comfort of leggings while still looking fabulous.
Black tie attire examples:
If you don’t mind wearing a dress, but hate the idea of going to the wedding in bare legs, this is the type of evening gown that can be worn with tights. The long, flowy a-line skirt will hide your tights almost completely from view. With closed-toe shoes, the tights won’t be noticeable at all. As an added bonus, this style of dress is comfortable and easy to wear.
A dark metallic jumpsuit is a great choice for a black tie wedding. This one is made special by its asymmetric neckline and all-over pleating. The overall look is one of elegance, but the silhouette is all about comfort and ease of movement.
A sequined tuxedo jacket is just the ticket for a black tie event if you don’t want to wear a dress. Paired with a neutral scoop-neck blouse, well-tailored black trousers and a pair of heels, you’ll look sleek and sophisticated.
Are leggings appropriate for a formal wedding?
Formal attire typically means an evening gown or cocktail dress is expected. While you can’t wear leggings with a cocktail dress, you can don thick tights under a long dress or skirt as long as it doesn’t have a side slit. If you hate wearing dresses or skirts, a jumpsuit or fancy pantsuit is an option.
Formal women’s attire examples:
If you’ll be attending a wedding in the cooler weather and you’re worried about getting chilly, donning a pair of tights under your dress can give you an added layer of warmth. This dress has a nude lining with a lace overlay and no slits making it easy for even thick tights to disappear underneath.
A long evening skirt with a pretty sparkly top is another great option for a formal wedding. The length of this ball gown skirt makes it perfect for hiding tights underneath. Just make sure you choose your shoes with care. Wearing peep toes could reveal your thick tights, ruining the overall sophistication of the outfit.
Unless you look closely, you’d think this navy blue satin jumpsuit was an evening gown, thanks to its wide legs and off-the-shoulder neckline. While it’s not as comfortable as leggings and a t-shirt, it is easy to wear and move in — and you’ll look fabulous on the dance floor.
A silk or satin pantsuit is the perfect compromise for formal wedding guests who don’t want to wear a dress. This tailored satin suit is perfect for a formal spring or summer wedding. If you’re attending a fall or winter wedding, a velvet suit is just as elegant but offers more warmth.
Can you wear leggings to a semi-formal wedding?
Semi-formal is one of the most popular wedding dress codes and is the one you should default to if your invitation doesn’t offer any clues on the expected wardrobe. With this style of wedding, women can wear a cocktail dress, a garden party dress, a fancy skirt and top or a jumpsuit.
Again, traditional leggings are a no-go at a semi-formal wedding, but you could easily wear tights with a dress or treggings with a nice top.
While you can’t wear thick tights with a cocktail dress, you can wear something a bit lighter to keep your legs covered in the cooler temperatures. These tights from DKNY are slightly sheer but are more substantial than pantyhose, making them a great choice.
Semi-formal women’s attire examples:
Cocktail dress with tights
Fall, winter and even early spring can be chilly or even downright cold, depending on where you live, so wearing tights can help you to stay warm. Pairing slightly sheer black tights with dark and jeweled colored cocktail dresses looks great, especially with a pair of closed-toe shoes.
Garden party dress with tights
A filmy black floral-print dress is perfect accompanied by semi-sheer black tights and heels or knee-high heeled boots for a cool-weather ceremony. In the warmer weather, switch them out for bare legs or sheer nude stockings with high-heeled sandals.
Skirt and top with tights
What could be prettier than a black lace pencil skirt and a richly-hued silk blouse for a semi-formal wedding? Pair them with slightly sheer black tights and a pair of classic pumps in the cooler weather.
If you’d prefer not to wear a dress or skirt, but want to look pretty and feminine, a satin jumpsuit in a rich hue is a stylish option. This asymmetrical wide-leg jumpsuit in emerald can be worn as is in the warm weather or can be worn under a silk blazer or sparkly cardigan on a cool day.
Also known as ponte pants, treggings offer the comfort of leggings but can easily be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. These pants would look great with a pair of black or colored heels and a fancy top like this sparkly cold shoulder blouse or the one shown above.
Are leggings appropriate for a dressy casual wedding?
Dressy casual is the second most popular wedding dress code and is often a staple at early afternoon weddings. Women can choose to wear a garden party dress, a skirt and top ensemble or a semi-fancy jumpsuit. Wide leg trousers or treggings are also an option.
Garden party dress with tights
While black tights wouldn’t work with pastel or brightly-colored garden party dresses, they look great paired with black floral. This dress with slightly sheer black tights and a sparkly black cardigan would not only keep you warm but would have you looking super cute too.
Skirt and top with tights
A dark skirt and fancy top is another option if you prefer to wear tights. A black print midi skirt like the one above would look great with black tights and pumps. Choose a fancy blouse or statement top like this to complete your look.
A jumpsuit can be just as comfortable as your favorite pair of leggings, but is a much more tasteful choice for a dressy casual wedding. This chic halter jumpsuit will not only have you feeling cool and comfy, it goes well with any style of dress shoe.
If dresses and jumpsuits aren’t for you, an elegant wide-leg trouser with a pretty top offers the best of both worlds: comfort and style. Pair neutral colored trousers with a statement top like this one shoulder silk blouse and a metallic clutch. Depending upon the weather you can choose from high-heeled sandals, pumps, wedges or even a pair of chunky-heeled booties.
Can you wear leggings to a casual wedding?
While an informal dress code isn’t as common, some couples do opt for a casual wedding. Women would typically wear a sundress, a maxi dress or jumpsuit for a summer wedding or a business casual look for the cooler weather with a skirt or trousers and a blouse.
Remember, even at a casual wedding, your look needs to have some polish. And that means no jeans, shorts, leggings, t-shirts, sneakers or flip flops unless the invitation specifically says so.
What could be more appropriate for a casual summer wedding than a sundress and a pair of nice sandals? This dress is breezy and pretty and, paired with flat embellished sandals like these, you’ll be comfortable all day long.
Pretty and feminine yet super casual and comfortable, this maxi dress is ideal for a casual summer wedding whether it’s on the beach or in a garden. Pair it with some wedges or flats to complete the look.
You can’t go wrong with a jumpsuit at a casual wedding. Not only are they comfortable to wear, but you’ll look sleek and stylish. This wide-leg jumpsuit would look great with heels or flats.
Skirt and top
A slim, below-the-knee skirt in a stretchy material with tights and boots is a warm, comfy and stylish look for a casual fall or winter wedding. Pair it with a thin sweater or a top and cardigan to finish off the look.
A pair of cropped trousers with a sophisticated sweater and a pair of boots is a stylish yet comfy option for a casual fall or winter wedding. And you’ll be comfortable all day long.
Treggings and blouse
These ponte pants and blouse are comfortable yet sophisticated and, as an added bonus, you’ll be able to wear both items again and again. A pair of high-heeled sandals or wedges are perfect for summer while pumps or dress boots work for the colder months.
FAQ: What Is and Is Not Acceptable
No matter what style of wedding you’ve been invited to, there are certain points of etiquette that should be adhered to. Keep these crucial points in mind when choosing your outfit to avoid upsetting the bride or groom:
Can I wear leggings to a formal event?
Traditional leggings have no place at a formal wedding. You can, however, choose to wear tights with your dress as long as they are semi-sheer. Opaque tights are far too casual to be worn with a cocktail dress.
However, if you have chosen an evening gown with a floor length skirt and no slits, you can wear tights underneath for extra warmth. Just make sure you wear a closed-toe shoe to hide them completely.
Can you wear a dress with leggings?
While wearing leggings under a dress or skirt is a great option for running errands and other casual outings, leggings simply aren’t suitable for a wedding. Instead, opt for slightly sheer tights for extra warmth. Just be sure to avoid fishnets or other wild patterns and opt for a neutral like basic black.
Can you wear black tights to a fall or winter wedding?
Yes, black tights are completely appropriate for a fall or winter wedding. Not only will they help to keep your legs warm in chillier temperatures, black tights like these are classy and will go with almost any cooler-weather dress or skirt.
Can I wear faux leather leggings to a wedding reception?
In a word? No. Faux leather leggings are too casual for a wedding reception. While they can be used for a night on the town, a wedding requires a slightly elevated style of dress. Even if you’re not a skirt or dress person, you can rock a pair of elegant trousers with a pretty blouse or a sophisticated jumpsuit without sacrificing comfort.
What should you not wear to a wedding?
Weddings are a time to turn it up a notch with your appearance. Not only will you be more confident in your appearance, but you’ll be showing respect for the bridal couple. To make sure you look your best, you should avoid wearing:
– Revealing clothing of any kind
– Active or lounge wear
– Flip flops