5 Ways to Style Black Leggings

Happy weekend, friends! Today I wanted to share some pre-Fall outfit inspo with 5 of my go-to “formulas” when styling black leggings. The featured leggings I’m wearing have good “hold,” a flattering high rise, and a snug fit on me in XXS. The 7/8 length option on sale is new this year with the addition of side pockets! Note the pockets and side seams make this a little more sporty than their plain black live in leggings. Here’s how they look by themselves with a Nike sports bra:

nordstrom high rise zella leggings for petites

5 ways to style black leggings
1. Athleisure

Formula: Cropped moto jacket over a longer top or hoodie + sneakers. Add a sleek baseball cap on those troublesome hair days.

athleisure zella leggings outfit petite women

I thought this jacket was great everywhere except for the belt, which is not moveable so the tail end just hangs! I wanted to show the fit here since I know some aren’t as bothered by that. I prefer this Blank NYC jacket that I have, but note it’s more fitted with a slightly strong shoulder.

2. Cozy but Chic

Formula: Poncho or tunic sweater + over the knee boots or ankle booties.

how to style black leggings boots zella petite

Steve Madden OTK boots 5.5  on sale!(see more fit pics on me), Anthropologie poncho (sold out)

3. Casual on the go

Formula: Slouchy waffle tee layered over a striped tunic + slip on sneakers.

uniqlo thermal tee top casual mom outfit ideas

Uniqlo waffle top xs (runs short), BP tunic xxs, M.Gemi sneakers 35 c/o (runs big; use code JEAN60 for $60 off non sale items!), Sole Society tote,

4. Utilitarian

Formula: Army jacket, rain boots, big cozy scarf + a hands free crossbody bag.

rainy day outfit hunter tour boots petite

5. Classic

Formula: Timeless stripes + trench coat paired with Chelsea booties. Add an optional pop of color with a bright bag!

burberry trench coat petites fall fashion

Sam Edelman rubber booties 5 (worn here, here), Burberry trench (see my reviews), Celine bag

Which of these 5 pairings is your favorite?

With the Anniversary Sale ending tomorrow, I also wanted to mention a few solid items that are still well stocked!

1. Delicate fabric wash (also comes in lavender scent) – as seen in my how to clean silk at home post. I was in a slight panic when this was listed as unavailable last month and a few of you asked if it got discontinued! This has worked very well on my bras, swimsuits, silks and other delicates. At full price it’s a good deal for the large 32oz bottle compared to higher end delicates washes, and at the sale price its a VERY good deal.

**Note: I just got a new bottle of the clear one and was surprised to see dye and fragrance listed on the ingredients list, which their prior year versions do not have. I tested it side by side with my old bottle and it seems the same, with no new detectable difference in fragrance or color. I’ve reached out to customer service to see if it’s a misprint this year. Will add an updated if I hear back!**

2. Natori Feathers Bra (white is on extra sale at 50% off!) in a big range of sizes 30A to G (cups run a bit small). This is another favorite that I’ve mentioned several times in years past. It’s super lightweight, and the lacey mesh overlay is soft and stretchy (not at all itchy) for a close, comfortable fit. I wear almost all skin toned bras, so the textural details on this make it a little more alluring than the average plain ole’ nude bra.

natori feathers bra review

3. Wacoal How Perfect No-Wire Contour bra sz 30B and up. This wire free option is delightfully smooth and comfortable, with shaped cups that have enough thickness to keep “headlights” at bay. Looks seamless under tees and knits. Note the Clove color is brown and darker than the stock photo.

4. Halogen peplum top
sz xxs petite and up. Office appropriate and nursing friendly. Still available in leopard print (easy pairing with black pants!), navy, or black. See the floral print on me.

5. Steve Madden OTK boots sz 5.5 and up. Truly surprised these are still well stocked given how they fit narrow calves (and according to the reviews, stretches to fit wider calves as well!). See my pic below and more fit pics here.

6. Eliza J ruched shoulder jumpsuit sz XS and up. This is a little gem for those who are  taller than me. My mom is 5’2″ 105lb, has this in sz XS regular (see photo below) and adores it. The material is soft and stretchy, there’s pockets, a flattering tie waist, and my favorite part on her is the slightly ruched shoulders which are feminine but also fashion forward. The wider cut legs drape nicely and also look like a skirt from some angles.

eliza j jumpsuit green petites

7. BP 100% cotton cardigan in xxs. The “brown cattail” is a more versatile color in person (more brown, less yellow) than it looks online. See my pics of it. Size down if you want a slimmer fit, but xxs works on someone petite for a casual slouchy look that is not too oversized.

8. Mens: Greats leather sneakers – One of Nick’s favorite purchases this year (for fit reference & photos, see this post) and just heard from two friends who bought on recommendation and were very happy with them!

9. Kids: Babyzen Yoyo stroller bundle (see my review). This often looks out of stock but multiple colors have come back nearly once a day (grey & black are currently in stock!). So if you’re after one of these bundles, bookmark it on your phone and refresh a few times between now and Sunday night!

10. Gibson cozy twist front tee in xxs regular and up. Petites are sold out, but if you are expecting I’d recommend the regular sizing which I got last year to cover my bump and wear with maternity leggings! Wore xxs regular (runs a little big) below at 8 months pregnant:

petite leather jacket maternity leggings

11. Zella kids leggings – For extra petite ladies, a size L (10/12) in these fit like their womens XXS at the waist and hips, but are a little shorter in length and hit above my ankles. Their kids XL probably fits like their women’s regular XS. For solid black leggings, the kids are def not as thick or with as much compression as the womens’ Live In style. Thus I still recommend the womens in those, however there are some fun designs in kids worth checking out.

zella anniversary sale girls mesh leggings on petite women
Everlane box cut tee xxs, Zella girls leggings sz L (10/12)


27 thoughts on “5 Ways to Style Black Leggings

  • Reply Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog August 3, 2019 at 9:14 am

    I love the fourth outfit! It’s totally how I’d style my leggings too. The jacket is super cute! ❤️✨

  • Reply Roses for Fridays | by mia August 3, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Love ♥️the Natori brand in intimates, they are one of the best!

  • Reply Rachel August 3, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    Jean, I first want to say i LOVE your blog and have found so many great, petite items over the years. I have another petite friend who also follows your blog and we like to laugh when we recognize clothes on each other that we know we both found through your site 🙂

    That being said, would love a post on genuine leather jackets that fit petite frames if you’ve found any! I got the BlankNYC jacket you frequently mention years ago but it fell apart eventually due to its faux leather material (RIP). Because I got so much wear out of it, I’m thinking of investing in a real leather jacket. Is there a reason you haven’t gone in that direction over the years? I feel like it’s hard to find one that runs small and doesn’t overwhelm your frame! Anyway, would love to hear your thoughts — thanks again!

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite August 3, 2019 at 3:50 pm

      Hi Rachel, thanks so much for the kind words! For a genuine leather jacket, I would suggest trying either All Saints, which makes 00 (if you’re petite, you may need to shorten the sleeves but that would be worth it for a timeless piece), or, Nordstrom carries some brands that make xxs or 00 petite leather jackets. They had one as part of the Anniversary sale but it sold quickly, however they might bring on new options once the weather cools!

      • Reply Jen in Texas August 4, 2019 at 1:21 pm

        Which cropped leather moto jacket are you wearing in Number 10 over the Gibson cozy twist front green T-shirt? I love it and that is my favorite look! I am very petite with a large bust so I tend to look overwhelmed if I wear a bulky jacket. This jacket appears sleek and petite. Thank you for your blogs!

    • Reply Dee August 4, 2019 at 9:23 pm

      Thanks for posting Rachel, I was about to ask the exact same question. Bought the NYC jacket on Jean’s recommendation, loved it, and now it’s falling apart.

  • Reply Maria August 3, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    All those leggings looks are great! I’m torn between the poncho sweater and classic looks as my favorite.

  • Reply Thuy August 3, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Love the UTILITARIAN outfit. If no. one claims their prize, does it mean you will do another draw?

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite August 3, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      I’m giving the 4th winner a few extra days but if it’s unclaimed, yes I’ll re-draw and share on social!

  • Reply Samantha August 3, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    I love all of the looks! I ended up returning the Zella leggings from the anniversary sale. They were unfortunately not squat proof and a little see through. Wondering if anyone else encountered that.

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite August 3, 2019 at 3:53 pm

      Hi Samantha, did you order the “lite” or the live in? The lite I’ve found tend to be thinner which is why I stick to the live in, which feel pretty thick and were squat proof for me!

    • Reply Casey R August 3, 2019 at 7:23 pm

      I ordered the Zella Live In 7/8 Leggings and found them to be less durable than previous versions. On my second wear I saw seams running, and just noticed that the overall construction was poorer (and I bought them a size larger than normal, so it wasn’t that they were too tight).

      I bought another pair of Zella Live In Leggings a few years ago (based on Jean’s recommendation! Thank you!) and they were much better quality. As a mom to an active toddler, though, I love love love the side pocket, so I’m just going to deal with the quality issue.

      Thanks, Jean, for all the great styling ideas!

  • Reply Amanda K. August 3, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    Hi Jean!
    Great post in these leggings with all these different outfit ideas. Out of the outfits, the classic style is hands down my favorite, but I do like the utilitarian one and am very interested in the casual-on-the-go. It is amazing that these leggings can pass as regular pants that I’ll definitely look into trying out a pair.

  • Reply Bea August 3, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    Hi Jean! Great post as usual.
    I would love to see a similar post but for straight or wider leg pants. I usually wear leggings or skinnies, and I’ve been trying to wear wider styles, but I always feel like I have nothing to pair with them.

  • Reply Briana August 4, 2019 at 12:42 am

    I’ll have to try the bra!


  • Reply Mireia August 4, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Leggings are must piece to have because they’re so useful and easy to style!

    Mireia from TGL

  • Reply Grace August 4, 2019 at 7:39 am

    Hi Jean! Thanks for your well thought out posts and content! I have a question about the Burberry trench. I have a similar coat and was wondering what the smaller black button in the center of your chest is for, the button on the side of your right collar flap. Thank you!

  • Reply Grace August 4, 2019 at 7:41 am

    Hi Jean! Thanks for your well thought out posts and content. I have a silly question about the Burberry trench coat. I have a similar coat and can’t figure out what the smaller black button in the center of your chest is for, the button on the inside of your right collar flap. Thank you for your help!

  • Reply Colleen August 4, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Hi Jean! Great post and love your blog!
    Can you kindly tell me where you purchased your closet cabinet system with glass doors that are behind you in these recent pictures? Much thanks!

  • Reply Kathy August 4, 2019 at 10:57 am

    Thanks for the great ideas…I’ve just ordered a pair of the leggings.
    Your blog has inspired me over the years. Although I’m 62 now, there are still some items that are ageless. Thanks for that!!

  • Reply Becky August 4, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    what is the BP tunic from outfit number 3? I’ve been looking for a stripped shirt to layer in that way!

  • Reply Elizabeth T. August 4, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    Love how you styled these leggings, especially the fall outfits <3 🙂 That trench coat is super cute!

    XO, Elizabeth T.

  • Reply joe August 5, 2019 at 6:16 am

    Hello jean! I’m so glad to read this blog.

    Love with those Boots looks so luxurious and outstanding the style of these outfits of leggings,boots are just stunning!

  • Reply Dani August 5, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    I love my leggings with a pair of over the knee boots and an oversized sweater for Fall! It super comfy, warm, and cute for the season!

  • Reply Valeri Pighini August 5, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    My favorite is No. 2 because it looks so chic. However, it’s not practical for me, and besides, that totally cool poncho is sold out. So I think No. 3 is more practical for me. I love those Zella leggings; I have them after I read your post awhile ago. I practically live in leggings because I’m a yoga teacher, but crave the look of something more chic.

    Also, in No. 3 Casual on the Go, what color top did you buy? Is it grey? It’s kind of hard to tell as I open the photos side by side (from Uniqlo).

    Thanks, as always. Love, Val

  • Reply Maureen August 6, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    You make everything look good Jean! My favorite is cozy but chic and casual on the go! I can’t believe the sale is over too.

  • Reply Casey August 7, 2019 at 7:41 am

    Jean, your blog is my absolute fave! Just wanted to see if you think the Anthro poncho will be back in stock? Or do you ever sell your clothes to readers? I would love to buy it!

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