Some women don’t find wearing leggings under dresses to be a grown-up look, but the sheer and footed tights and pantyhose may not work for some styles, so don’t feel shy to try leggings.
How about feeling warmer in leggings compared to tights and slips on a chilly day?
Whether you want to dress up or down in leggings, it’s a free world.
Plus, we all agree that it’s perfect for young girls and pregnant women to wear leggings under dresses anytime, anywhere.
Check out our review and you’ll surely end up with awesome pants for you and your little girl.
From our tests, we concluded that Homma Premium Thick High Waist Leggings are the best if you want high rise leggings, Fruit of the Loom Women’s Micro Waffle Thermal Bottoms are the best for winter, and Motherhood Maternity Women’s Essential Stretch Full Length Leggings are the best to wear during pregnancy.
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Editors’ Choice for the Best Leggings for Layering Under Dresses
88% Nylon, 12% Spandex
Best high waist leggings
80% Polyester, 20% Cotton
Best for keeping warm during winter
93% Modal, 7% Spandex
It stays in place all day
87% Cotton, 13% Spandex
Best leggings for pregnancy
92% Polyester, 8% Spandex
Best leggings for mini dresses
Review of the 12 Best Leggings to Wear Under a Dress
Best High-Waisted Leggings
There are many things to love about these leggings. At first glance, you will notice the premium and high-end look. Unlike other leggings that are thin and flimsy, these are thick and stretchable.
And they’re high waist so they go all the way to the navel. When worn under a tight dress, they do not show since they are seamless.
The tummy area has a compression fabric that hugs your belly to keep it flat. These are the best leggings to wear under a tight-fitting dress because they work as a body shaper. Apart from tucking in the tummy area, they are also good for slimming the legs. When it comes to comfort, they are breathable, absorbable, and easy to stretch.
“Excellent product, and very versatile. Can be comfortably dressed down and fashionably casual for the evening, let’s say, under a sweater dress. I wore it with a velvet top, waist length fur vest, ankle boots and it was perfect for dinner and a night out in the club!”- Georgia
Material: 88% Nylon, 12% Spandex
These leggings are lightweight but surprisingly warm. If you are looking for something comfortable to wear under your dress, these are a perfect choice.
They are smooth and hug the body perfectly so you can wear them under a bodycon dress. They fit just below the waistline so they hug the lower belly perfectly. The waist band keeps them in place so you do not have to worry about them shifting.
If you are tired of bulky leggings, you will love these. When wearing them under a dress, you do not feel too bulky. They go down to the ankles and stay in place throughout the day. The best thing is that you can wear them on hot and cold days.
“I have never bought the “outer wear” that Cuddl Duds offer until this piece. All I can say is that I love them. I can use these with a long tunic, under pants/jeans or with a dress. It fits as the size guide says .”– TM
Material: 93% Modal, 7% Spandex
3. Conceited Buttery Soft High Waisted Leggings for Women – Full & Capri – Reg and Plus Size – 3″ Waist Band
These leggings are the best to wear under a dress. They are stretchable and comfortable so you’ll also feel good when you wear them for fitness or yoga.
The high waist design makes them comfortable and they also stay in place for a long time. They do not have compression features but they have a 3-inch waistband that snugs the tummy for comfort.
You can wear them the whole day since they are soft on the skin such that you almost feel like you are not wearing anything. Despite being lightweight and soft, they are opaque so you can still wear them without layering. They are warm to wear during the cold season but at the same time, they are breathable to wear during the hot months.
“Bought these on sale and love them. I wear them under shorter dresses for work , and have gotten many compliments. They’re comfortable and fit well.”– A Buyer from Alabama
Material: 92% Polyester, 8% Spandex
Best Leggings for Cold Weather
These thermal leggings are ideal for cold weather. The ankles are cuffed so they stay in place and also trap heat during the cold design. They’re so warm and comfortable to wear considering they are made of cotton fabric.
The leggings have a good stretch so they are suitable and comfortable for plus-size women. When layering them under a dress, you will love the thin design that never feels bulky.
Unlike other leggings that tightly compress your legs, these snug the skin lightly to offer you all the comfort you need. You can wear them beneath a dress or as pajamas but they might not be ideal for slimming or fitness.
“I love thermals, they are so comfy. I am 5’3″ and 162 lbs. I ordered the XL for me and they are the most comfortable thermals I have. They aren’t skin tight… They are perfect and true to size. I ordered two and I will be ordering more for sure. I highly recommend!!!!”- Robin Pieri
Material: 80% Polyester, 20% Cotton
If you are looking for something to beat the cold weather, these legging pants are the best. They are lightweight enough to wear underneath any outfit but they are still warm enough for the cold months.
When worn under a dress, they are thin and invisible. The best thing is that you can wear them the whole day because of the soft and cozy feeling.
You will love the basic design of these leggings if you want a simple style. Do not be afraid to wear these leggings when the weather gets warmer since they are breathable and lightweight. The fabric is stretchable and stress-free, so much so that you can wear them for work or for lounging around the house.
Material: 90% Polyester, 10% Spandex
Most Opaque Leggings
These leggings are everything you need for comfort. Apart from layering them underneath formal and informal dresses, see-through dresses, you can also wear them during maternity and postpartum periods.
They come with a thick high waistband that snugs your belly giving you a slim look.
You can also wear these leggings on their own since they are opaque. These best leggings to wear under dresses are stretchable and have a simple design so they can be worn by all groups of women. They might not offer shapewear-like compression but they are good if you are looking for a snug feeling. The lightweight leggings hug onto the body without being too tight and uncomfortable.
“This is my first experience as a leggings wearer. I love them! I wear them under my jeans/pants during winter season. They provide extra warmth. I also love them on their own with short dresses and long shirts! They look great with heels! I will be purchasing more pairs. I am 5’6 174lbs. I bought the M/L and they fit perfect!”– Kelly Winter
Material: 92% Polyester
Best Maternity Leggings
If you are looking for something to accommodate your growing belly, these leggings are the best for your journey to motherhood.
They have a thick band to take care of your bulging pregnancy belly without making you feel uncomfortable. Since they are made with 87% cotton, they are breathable and feel good on the skin.
During your pregnancy, you can layer them with a cardigan or blazer since they are opaque. You can also wear them under a maternity dress if you want to stay warm and cozy.
As your baby bump grows, the leggings still feel comfortable since they have good stretchable fabric. They might not offer compression support like any other type of leggings but they are comfy on the body without feeling too tight.
“I love these leggings. They are so comfortable!!! I like that they are so stretchy without being restrictive. If you are pregnant you need these 100%. Buy them!!!”- Leah
“These are a must have for me when I am pregnant. The band that goes around my stomach feels like it adds extra support and is so soft. I have 4 pairs ! They are of excellent quality too. Been through 1 pregnancy already and I am almost 6 months this time around.”– Sara Abner
Material: 87% Cotton, 13% Spandex
These are not just maternity leggings, you can wear them under the dress for shaping or support after delivery.
They have a compression design but they are comfortable at the same time. When wearing them during pregnancy, they help to manage symptoms related to circulation, pain, and swelling of the legs.
Apart from offering effective support, these leggings are great for shaping the body. They are good for making the body feel snug because they are smooth on the skin. The breathable material is comfortable so you can wear them for a long time.
And you can easily wear them under tight clothes since they are smooth and invisible.
“Spent $200 ordering maternity leggings from Blanqi and ended up hating how tight and uncomfortable they felt. Returned everything and ordered these pair from amazon and was AMAZED at how comfortable they are. Look similar to the Blanqi brand but aren’t so tight. I’m 5’7 and 32 weeks pregnant and ordered the large. I still have room for my growing belly.
You can’t see through when you bend over and the best part is they actually stay up.”- Amazon Customer
Best Capri Leggings
Capri leggings hit just below the knees.
Yummie best capri leggings are made from a combination of cotton and spandex so they are comfortable but stretchable. You can wear them alone since they are opaque.
They are great for body-hugging quality and they will snug all your curves without causing any discomfort. The leggings also have a tummy control feature so they keep your tummy looking smooth and snug. Apart from shaping the tummy, they are also great for slimming the thighs and legs.
They only have an inseam, which is ideal for preventing visible lines from showing under clothes.
Material: 88% Cotton, 12% Spandex
The Spalding leggings are basic but very versatile. The simple design of these workout leggings makes them suitable for wearing underneath dresses, skirts, and pants, for morning jogs, or for yoga. The Spalding brand is renowned for sportswear so if you are looking for sporty leggings then these are the right choice.
These leggings are great for shaping the belly and thighs. They come with a thick band that offers compression on the tummy area. For maximum comfort, they are made of breathable cotton and spandex fabric that feels good on the skin.
If you are going to use them for sports or fitness activities, these pants are one of the most flexible and stretchable for working your body out.
“These are very comfy and don’t slip down when I play sports. Love them! I play kickball, and I even wear them in the summer because they’re not hot to play in and keep the bugs off my legs.”-A. Archer from Richmond, VA.
Material: 92% Cotton, 8% Spandex
Best Knee Length Leggings
11. Conceited Premium Buttery Soft High Waisted Leggings for Women – Full Length, Capri Length, and Shorts – Reg and Plus Size – 5″ Waist Band
These leggings go above the knees so if you are looking for real shorts, they are a good choice. They are high waist with a thick band around the stomach making them perfect for hiding the lower tummy pooch. The leggings are soft and feel good on the skin.
You can wear them for working out or you can wear them underneath a short dress or pencil skirt. Apart from keeping the tummy shapely, these female shorts are also good for slimming the hips and thighs for tight dresses (see more ideas on what to wear under a bodycon dress here). The knee-length leggings have a stretchable design so they can fit almost every size, but you can actually get them in small, medium, and large sizes depending on your size.
Material: 92% Polyester, 8% Spandex
12. Willit Women’s Knee Length Leggings Capris Shorts with Pockets High Waisted Yoga Workout Casual Summer
These leggings are short, which makes them ideal for sports and other types of physical activities. They have a pocket compartment to keep your phone during a morning jog or gym session.
The yoga legging pants are friendly to the skin so even after sweating you will not feel any irritation. They are also flexible and will not rip apart when you’re squatting or making other movements at the gym.
The thick band on the tummy is ideal for offering compression to keep your belly smooth. They’re elegant and comfortable so you can wear them the whole day without feeling tight.
And you can get them in a variety of colors depending on your style.
Material: 75% Nylon, 25% Spandex
Tips for Wearing Leggings Under a Dress
1. Find the right fit
The first step is to make sure that you find the right fit. Leggings should be neither too loose nor too tight. Loose-fitting leggings will look awkward or slip (see how to keep shapewear from rolling down here https://www.sweetskinliners.com/body-shape/how-to-keep-shapewear-from-rolling-down/) when you wear them underneath a dress. On the other hand, if they are too tight you end up feeling uncomfortable. It is advisable to get pants that fit snuggly.
2. Go for soft and light fabrics
Modern leggings came out in the 1950s as hard and scratchy pants but we’re no longer there.
If you are going to be wearing leggings under a dress, find one with a soft and lightweight fabric. It is important to get something comfortable since you will be layering your clothes. We still have leggings that are lightweight and warm at the same time, like the Fruit of the Loom Women’s Micro Waffle Thermal Bottom so you’re sorted for that.
3. Pair leggings with a flowing dress
Leggings are best worn under flowy dresses. Pencil skirts can go with lightweight leggings but a breezy dress looks good with leggings since you can create balance in your outfits.
4. Layer leggings under a very short dress
If you are going to wear a very short dress, adding leggings is the way to go if you don’t want too much exposure. You can wear leggings in the same color as your dress if you want a uniform look.
5. Keeping warm
Leggings are not just a fashion statement. You can wear the best thermal leggings to keep warm during the cold months. If you still want to wear your favorite dress but you are afraid that the weather might get too cold, throwing on some leggings and slipping into UGGs is the best way to stay safe.
6. Wear leggings for a slimming effect
If you do not fancy the normal shapewear, wearing leggings is an awesome alternative. You can wear leggings for their slimming benefits. We have leggings with compression features so they will slim your tummy and thighs so that you can be shapelier in your dress.
Wearing leggings under dresses is not childish as you might have been led to believe. In fact, layering legging pants underneath dresses and skirts can be stylish and comfy if you get one of our lightweight leggings that don’t have outer seams. If fishnets are the best for breathability when it’s warm or hot, thermal leggings are the best for keeping truly warm on a cold winter day. And maternity leggings are needed underneath dresses during and after pregnancy.
You can’t go wrong with one of the best leggings to wear under dresses from our list.