Can You Wear Shorts Over Leggings?

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You will commonly see leggings paired underneath skirts or dresses. This outfit could be either a way to keep warm or a stylish trend. When pairing these articles of clothing with leggings, it allows you to wear your cute summer clothes all year round, even when the weather is cooler. This has led some to wonder if you can also wear shorts over leggings.

Can You Wear Shorts Over Leggings?

While it is not a very common pairing, it is acceptable to wear your shorts over leggings or even your compression tights. It creates a more conservative look that can also be stylish. 

A person wearing blue shorts over black leggings standing near a window in the living room

Additionally, if there is a pair of shorts you want to wear during the winter or in colder weather, placing them over leggings will provide additional warmth. You’ll also see athletes commonly wearing shorts over leggings.

What Do You Wear Over Leggings?

Leggings can be worn under dresses, skirts, long tops, and shorts. Pairing it with shorts though may entail various opinions on its style and acceptability. This is because it is not a common outfit in other places or cultures. 

For example, shorts over leggings may not be particularly acceptable in Europe. However, many women, especially in the US, still choose to brave this casual, funky, and laidback look.

Do You Wear Shorts Over Compression Tights?

Shorts can also be worn over compression tights. Compression shorts and tights are undergarments which can serve as an alternative to leggings. Similar to leggings, they are tight-fitting pieces covering the waist to ankle. It is men who are usually into this combination. This is especially the case if they are athletes or work out regularly. 

Comparing Shorts, Long Tops and Dresses

What to wear When to wear Warm? Compression?
Shorts Workouts, cold weather Yes Yes
Long tops Casual occasions No No
Dresses Formal occasions No No

Tips to Wear Shorts Over Leggings for Women

When wanting to style short with leggings, here are some tips to consider:

  • Be mindful of the colors of both leggings and shorts
  • Keep it simple and don’t go overboard
  • Printed or patterned leggings are okay in some cases
  • Check the dress code
  • Pair with well-fitted shorts
  • Choose the right shoes
  • Be confident

Be Mindful of the Colors of Both Leggings and Shorts

If you are not too careful with how you pair these two, you may end up looking like you have too much going on in your outfit. To avoid that, make sure your leggings and shorts match each other.

For example, if you’re already wearing patterned shorts, choose a pair of leggings that are simple and neutral-colored. Black leggings are usually to go-to for many women.

Keep It Simple and Don’t Go Overboard

In relation to the previous point, don’t go overboard with this pair. It is much better to create a contrast between the two and keep the overall combination simple and sophisticated.

Printed or patterned leggings are okay in some cases

There are days when you just feel like being bold with your outfit. Right? After all, it is said that the key to being stylish is breaking the fashion rules.

That’s the reason why, if you have some printed leggings with bold, bright colors in your closet, don’t hesitate to wear them sometime!

You can definitely wear your shorts over it. Neutral-colored ones will do best though as they will balance the hipster vibe you’re trying to show off in your look.

Check the Dress Code

Having said that, it’s okay to break the rules sometimes. It is also still highly recommended for you to check the dress code of the place or occasion you’ll be going to.

This outfit combination is really more on the casual, laidback side. You have to consider this when you’re going to semi-formal or formal events such as weddings, social gatherings, interviews, and other business meetings which require you to dress more professionally.

Pair with Well-Fitted Shorts

If your shorts are too tight, they will tend to blend in with your leggings. This can feel uncomfortable. It can also look awkward. 

In general, be mindful of the size, shape, and fabric of your shorts. Ensure the overall combination of your shorts and leggings are not clashing with each other.

A person wearing beige shorts over gray leggings sitting on a blue chair in the living room

Choose the Right Shoes

Choosing the right shoes will not only help in increasing and maintaining the total vibe of your look. It can sometimes make or break them, too.

Casual shoes such as sneakers, flip-flops, low boots, ballet flats, and sandals will do. If you want to appear taller, you can try on some high heels that match your whole outfit, too.

Be Confident

Lastly, confidence is key in rocking this outfit. People may be tempted to stare at you when you’re wearing this uncommon outfit combo. Don’t let that shake your confidence! Instead, focus on how you carry the outfit itself.

What To Wear & NOT Wear With Leggings / Fashionable Leisure, Casual & Dressy Outfits With Leggings

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need to Wear a Pantie When Wearing Shorts Over Leggings?

It’s advisable to wear a pantie even when wearing shorts over leggings. Typically, a pantie makes you feel comfortable and confident when running errands or exercising.

However, you should consider the weather condition, the material of the leggings, and the shorts. For instance, it’s not advisable to wear a pantie, leggings, and shorts that are not moisture-wicking during hot weather, as this can increase the chances of bacteria buildup and infections.

Can Leggings Be Worn as Pants?

You are free to wear your leggings as pants without breaking a sweat in pairing them with skirts, shorts, or dresses on top.

Needless to say, leggings as pants are a more casual look. This is more acceptable when you’re heading to the gym, yoga sessions, or other athletic activities.
As a regular look, especially when you’re in public or when you’re heading to work, wearing leggings as pants is not highly recommended.

Can I Wear Shorts With Knee-Length Leggings?

Technically, you can wear shorts with knee-length leggings. However, the ending of the shorts might be slightly above the ending of the leggings.

Keeping in mind that most people wear shorts over leggings to keep their legs warm during cold weather, the outfit might seem confused as knee-length leggings are not for cold weather, nor shorts over leggings for warm weather.


Although wearing shorts over leggings is uncommon and usually invites people to look at you, it is still possible to wear this combo while looking fab and stylish. Leggings are versatile clothing pieces that can be paired with almost any outfit. That includes shorts as well.