What To Wear When You Have Skinny Legs

Whether you’ve had skinny legs all your life, or aging is starting to make them look like toothpicks, no worries! Here are some easy dressing tips to balance thin legs and make you look fabulous.

skinny legs in pants


Wear Straight-Leg or Boot Cut Jeans

Wearing straight-leg or bootcut pants is a great way to add weight and structure to skinny legs.  They add shape to your calves and create a flattering shape. Make sure they are fitted through the thigh, as too baggy will make your petite legs look lost. Avoid skinny jeans, leggings, and jeggings as these are designed to emphasize the thinness of your legs.

Steer Clear of Stiff Flare Skirts

Any dress or skirt with a wide, stiff flare, such as an A-line dress, is going to make your legs like two skinny sticks in the middle of a bell.  You’re better off wearing a slim pencil skirt that ends just above the knee, and that has a slight taper, since a slim skirt is more in proportion with thin legs. If you like long skirts, another option is a flowy midi or pleated midi. Since a midi ends at the widest part of your leg (your calf), it gives the illusion of a wider leg under the skirt. Of course, a maxi covers skinny legs too and is ideal. Flowy palazzo pants work like a maxi too.

Wear Bright/Light Colors

Dark colors recede, making an area look smaller, while bright/light colors advance, making an area look larger. You can take advantage of this optical illusion to make your legs look fuller. For example, wearing white or tan pants will make your legs look fuller than wearing black pants. If you add contrast to your outfit by wearing a dark top with your light or bright bottom, this will make your legs appear even fuller.

Wear Patterns and Prints

The same idea applies to patterned pants and skirts. Prints and patterns are busy, keep the eye moving and distract from thin legs. They also add to the perceived weight. For example, plaid pants or floral jeans would be a great way to make thin legs look less skinny. Horizontal lines add width but avoid pants with vertical stripes as the long lines from top to bottom stretch and slim the look of your legs.

Try Textured /Patterned Tights

Another way to bulk up the look of your legs is with textured opaque tights—the lighter, brighter, or more patterned, the tight better.  Contrast the tights with the color of your skirt to make the effect even greater.

Wear Tall Fitted Boots

Boots are an easy way to hide skinny legs and enhance the weight and shape of your gams. A pair of tall, knee-high boots with a skirt really helps since the minimal leg is showing. Make sure your boots fit nicely and snug to your leg. If your boots are loose, your legs will, by contrast, look even thinner, like they are drowning in the middle of the boots.   You can also try tucking a pair of jeans into tall boots to make your calves look bigger.

Prefer booties over tall boots? Try slouchy calf-high booties with jeans to add bulk. These work much the way a pair of leg warmers would to beef up the calves.

Slip Into Shoes with Ankle Straps

If you want to make your calves and ankles look thicker, then go ahead and have fun with a pair of ankle strap shoes. Ankle straps shorten the leg, which has the effect of making the calf and ankle look wider.  Strappy espadrilles which climb up the leg work too. A flat shoe also shortens the leg and gives this same fuller effect.

Avoid Wide-Leg Shorts

Just because you have skinny legs doesn’t mean you have to stop wearing shorts, altogether. Just stay away from wide-leg shorts, which create a chicken leg look, and wear a pair of longer slim shorts that fit closer to the leg but are not tight. As for capris, find a pair that end in the middle of your calf to create the illusion of a fuller leg.

Having Skinny legs when you are 40+ can be aging, but follow these simple dressing tips to balance that thinness, feel confident, and look Age-amazing!

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3 thoughts on “What To Wear When You Have Skinny Legs

  1. I love this article on skinny legs!! It is a problem that I have never seen addressed before! I definitely have this going on! Most of the things you mentioned I already do, but definitely learned a few tips! Thank you so much! I hate my chicken legs!!!!

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