Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

January 13, 2011

How to Wear It: Jeggings

Filed under: Advanced Fashion,Boots,How To Wear It — Miss Plumcake @ 8:31 am

Let me be clear: I hate the word jeggings.

Usually it’s a crapshoot whether fashion portmanteaux stick or not. Remember when they were trying to make “shooties” happen? It failed, as well it should. However, it looks like we’re stuck with jeggings so we might as well deal.

Jeggings are leggings that are supposed to look like jeans. They are like skinny jeans on speed and as such should be approached with great fear and trembling. Also, it is important to remember that just as Tights Are Not Pants and Leggings Are Not Pants, Jeggings Are Not Pants. They are closer to pants than traditional leggings and tights, but just like making out with your third cousin is not technically as wrong as making out with your first cousin, it’s still something that’s best avoided, even in emergencies.

I have never been a fan of the skinny jean on big girls because it’s such a tricky look to deploy. Big girls, like Tolstoy’s unhappy families are all big (or unhappy) in different ways. Yet back in October my bff Meghan, who was also a plus-size model and is even more beautiful than I am (if you can imagine such a thing), was not just wearing but actively rocking jeggings. My tiny world was turned upside down.

I was tempted.

Finally, after serious and measured consideration –let it not be said that anyone, myself included, gets into my pants without effort– I caved. I’d just purchased two pair tall boots from DUO, the over-the-knee (though foldable for when the OTK look is out) Tulip in black suede and the possibly sold out Rochelle in a gorgeous cognac leather and I really did need an incredibly slim-cut jean to wear with them.

No, I didn’t get them in purple suede. There is a very particular type of woman who can get away with wearing over-the-knee purple suede boots. I am not that type of woman.

So on the advice of Meghan, I picked up a pair of the Lane Bryant knit jeggings. Rumor has it these are about to be discontinued in favor for jeggings without a functional fly so if you want a pair, get them with a quickness.

They are surprisingly good. Unfortunately, you pretty much have to be tall and have shapely legs to make these work.

I hate saying this because I’m tall and have shapely legs and I feel like it’s saying “I can wear this, but you can’t.” But if you’re short and round, this might not be a great look for you. On the other hand, you’ve got miniskirts and the adorable thing going on, plus you get all the tall guys so you’re just gotta let us have this one.

On the bright side –I’m talking to you, apples– if you ARE reasonably tall and have reasonably shapely legs, it doesn’t matter what you’ve got going on up top, you can rock the jegging and look great doing it.

The trick is careful shoe selection.

Obviously a tall boot is ideal. It’s up to you whether you like the scrunched boot look. I don’t care for it myself but I’ve seen it used to great effect on girls who are more apple than pear, and girls who are short-waisted but whose legs go for miles.

I’m quite tall and I do have rockin’ pins –thank genetics and going to college on the side of a mountain–  but they’re not overly long. Scrunch boots visually shorten the leg and thus are not for me, see also: cowboy boots or any boot that ends mid-calf.  What you want in a boot, and I am going to say this with a completely straight face, is a nice long substantial shaft that stays up for as long as you need it.

If you’re not going to wear boots with your jeggings, your best bet is a pair of aggressively modern, visually heavy heels.


Yeah, you pretty much gotta.  And not low ones either. Flat boots look good –though not pancake flat– but jeggings or skinny jeans with flats are best left to the willowy girls. This is the time to bust out your five inchers with all the buckles and ties.

And yet you don’t want to go with pumps or anything too traditionally pretty because they can go Peg Bundy on you in the blink of an eye.

Something along the lines of these python print sandals from Ash (under $100) or these green kicks from Chloe (in a size 11!) would fit the bill without killing your feet.

Booties are a matter of preference. I don’t like them.  They’re 80’s in a bad way, and unless your to do list looks like this:

–Pay Rent

–Buy Milk

–Writhe suggestively on Whitesnake’s car

I happen to think they’re best avoided.

The point is, you need to make sure you have enough visual weight at the bottom of your outfit to anchor the look.

Which brings us to what’s going on up top. Tunic tops, fitted but not clingy, are the way to go. You want something that covers at least most of your backside –not because your badonka isn’t currently donking, it’s just a proportion thing– and has enough visual distraction to draw the eye upward. The idea of jeggings is to create a long, lean silhouette, and that’s hard to do where there’s no place to rest the eye.

This colorblock sweater —on HUGE sale at Saks— does just the trick, and as you can see, your eyes are drawn first to the sweater, and then to the shoes while the jeggings just create a long, smooth line.


  1. I can’t find the colorblock sweater. Is it a Salon Z product? I am a Saks virgin.

    Comment by Karen — January 13, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  2. nevermind, I found it and it would look terrible on me, just awful. Le sighcicle.

    I have acquired these boots and I love them so much, I wish to never take them off. For serious. I stayed up two hours past my bedtime last night just because I couldn’t bear to remove them. I need tunic tops to wear with leggings so I can accomplish this goal. I also need jeggings. And a short purple dress. I NEED a short purple dress.

    Comment by Karen — January 13, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

  3. @Karen: Hmm, that’s odd. Must’ve dissappeared when Manolo went in and did the editing. It’s here.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — January 13, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

  4. Just an FYI, all except one of the images in this post (the tunic) are not showing up for me, and I couldn’t see the one in your post on THftR. Am I the only one having this problem?

    Comment by SarahDances — January 13, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  5. @Karen: Oooh, those are FAB. You also need both cocoa and cream jodhpurs.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — January 13, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

  6. @MissPlumcake

    I wanna wear them around town with my Kerrits! They’re a little too thin for public consumption, though.

    Comment by Karen — January 13, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

  7. I have to say, I hate jeggings with a burning flame of passion, but you’ve almost convinced me that they are not entirely pure evil. Not that I’m going to buy any, but I may have to reconsider my prejudices a tiny bit.

    I HATE when I have to do that.

    Comment by daisyj — January 13, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

  8. @Daisyj: re: Jeggings. I know, it was hard for me too. Then again, I wore them on Tuesday with a pair of 5″ heels and not only did I have a cluster of men surrounding me at the grocery store trying to help me lift such heavy things as a can of soup, a colleague who has NO romantic interest in me whatsoever said “Hey, I hope this doesn’t come off as creepy, and no offense, but I’ve seen you almost every day for five years and I had no idea you had legs like that.”

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — January 13, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

  9. I had avoided the skinny jeans for as long as I could until a friend bugged me enough I finally said I’d try them just to prove how wrong they were….Oops, love them and everyone says I look fantastic in them!

    I recently tried a pair of jeggings (god I hate that name) on at LB…I am needing pants that I can tuck into my knee high boots easier then my skinny jeans. I am on the fence. I don’t hate them on me but…I don’t know if I love them in the thigh area. I have long legs and I think they are nicely shaped but my thighs are a tad…heavy. I don’t know if I can get comfortable with “pants” that tight on my thighs. I’m 1/2 tempted to try and alter a pair of skinny jeans to fit even more closely from the knee down.

    As much as I complain about all the hills on campus I will agree, my legs have never looked better! They should add that to the brochure, right next to “You will never starve!!!”

    Comment by Jeni — January 13, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

  10. As a semi-big girl with a decidedly large rear, you would think I’d shy away from skinnies, but instead I love them and rarely wear anything else. I swear by Old Navy’s Rockstars –they have a zipper and button but they are so soft and so skinny. For a regular skinny I love the Diva Skinnies. Cuff them for a cute fifties look.

    (I wear jeans every day so they have to be reasonably cheap because I’ll wear through them pretty quickly. I spend my money on tops–and they *must* be long enough.)

    Comment by Jackie Joy — January 13, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

  11. @Jeni: EXACTLY. You know, climbing those 76 steps several times a day made my good legs great. Incidentally, the Meghan I mentioned in this post is ALSO a Duke and her legs are as bangin’ as mine.

    @Jackie: I think the problem I have with most big girls in skinny jeans is the shoe selection. Skimmers –and Lord knows I love a slipper– just Don’t Work. But, yes, I’m a convert! I won’t ever go exclusively skinny, but it’s nice to have options!

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — January 14, 2011 @ 12:29 am

  12. How about some links for the boots?

    Comment by Virginia — January 14, 2011 @ 3:39 am

  13. Virginia, there were links in there, but I guess during the Great Server Migration wherein all the images were lost, the links were too. However, I’m sure your handy google finger will be able to find and look up the styles.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — January 14, 2011 @ 11:19 am

  14. Darling Miss Plumcake – I think I have to respectfully disagree with the skimmers + skinny jeans = fashion fail arithmetic. I am short (5’2″) and apple-y. I find that skinnies that hit at the ankle with a cute flat a la Tory Burch and the right length tunic top work wonders. I’ve never gotten a bad reaction and skinnies are more versatile than a straight leg or a boot cut, although as with everything, YMMV. My favorite Spring look is a pair of dark blue skinnies + a blue and white boat neck Breton striped tunic (snagged at H&M last summer) with white Tory Burch flats. Does it skew Nantucket? Yes but it also calls to mind the lovely and curvaceous Brigitte Bardot, who was iconic in this look. I think a lot of it has to do with attitude and not height. I am constantly amazed at what people pull off that logically shouldn’t work.

    Comment by MayDarling — January 16, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

  15. Five-inch heels? Absolutely not. I can’t wear heels at all. I have very wide flat feet and look horrible in them. In the 80’s, it was all about flats with skinny jeans—especially ballet flats—and it’s a nice look. Not every woman can wear heels, even 2 inch ones.

    I have large thighs and shyed away from skinny jeans and jeggings, but I have calf-length black leather boots and a pair of fake suede tan boots so I purchased a pair of skinny jeans on clearance from Torrid and a pair of jeggings from the Avenue, also on clearance. Since I’m long-waisted and wear tunics anyway, I don’t see this being such a fashion blunder. May Darling is right, it’s about attitude. There are some styles that would be downright dumb on me but others can pull off wonderfully.

    Comment by Bree — January 16, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

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