The leggings trend defies all fashion logic. They are cheap, simple and functional, and more closely associated with retro aerobics classes and maternity wear than catwalk couture.

Yet over the past decade or so, leggings have quietly risen through the ranks to become a constant fixture among supermodels and style icons in every season – including winter. Despite their lightweight appearance, when layered properly leggings can be a valuable addition to any winter ensemble. 

Read on for our favourite ways to wear leggings throughout winter...

1. Wearing leggings with… a shirt dress

Leggings and Shirt Dress Outfit Idea

SHOP THE LOOK: Grey Leggings | Shirt Dresses | Ankle Boots

The shirt dress is rapidly becoming an indispensable wardrobe staple for all seasons. In the summer, wear it with bare legs and sandals; and in the colder months, layer the dress with leggings and a chunky cardigan for a cosy and feminine look.

Finish off the outfit with a woolly hat and knee-high boots and you will be ready for whatever winter throws at you.

2. Wearing leggings with… oversized knitwear

Leggings and Oversized Knitwear Outfit Idea

SHOP THE LOOK: Black Leggings | Oversized Jumpers | Timberland Boots

We're not talking about that 80s staple of patterned leggings and a baggy sweater. This look is more likely to involve layers of fine knitwear and a cable-knit scarf, paired with plain black or nude-coloured leggings.

Alternatively, copy Gigi Hadid’s signature NYC look and team a long chambray shirt with a grey knit jumper, black leggings, high heels and dark shades.

3. Wearing leggings with… statement trainers

Leggings and Statement Trainers Outfit Idea

SHOP THE LOOK: Sports Leggings | Nike Trainers | Activewear

The athleisure trend is not going away any time soon, so you may as well embrace the huge range of designer leggings and statement trainers that are out there at the moment. Go for cropped, mesh-insert or biker-style leggings and box-fresh designer trainers with a bit of height.

The key to nailing this look is great hair and makeup – you want to look as though you're perpetually on your way to the gym, but never on your way out of it.

4. Wearing leggings with… thigh high boots

Leggings and Knee High Boots Outfit Idea

SHOP THE LOOK: Black Leggings | Over the Knee Boots | Trench Coats

Thigh high boots have been a surprise hit over the past year, and they simply exude winter glamour. Paired with plain black leggings and a statement top, over-the-knee boots send off an 'off-duty superhero' vibe which will make you feel invincible.

5. Wearing leggings with… bulky boots

Leggings and Ugg Boots Outfit Idea

SHOP THE LOOK: Light Grey Leggings | UGG Boots | Parkas

This look is all about balance – choose a bulky pair of boots which will contrast with the sleek look of the leggings, then keep the top half of your outfit simple and chic.

UGG boots and biker boots are the best at combining warmth and style, while adding a point of interest in an otherwise neutral outfit.

6. Wearing leggings with… leather

Leather Leggings Outfit Idea

SHOP THE LOOK: Leather Leggings | Michael Kors Bags | Courts

Once associated with glam rockers and Ross Geller, leather leggings are now firmly in the mainstream. Wear with spiky ankle boots to toughen up a pretty dress, or as part of an all-black ensemble for a femme fatale look.

7. Wearing leggings with… a short skirt or dress

Leggings and Mini Skirt Outfit Idea

SHOP THE LOOK: Opaque Leggings | Mini Skirts | Leather Jackets

Sometimes, a pair of 100 dernier tights just won't cut it. When the weather is bitingly cold, give yourself a bit of extra warmth by wearing leggings instead of tights, with socks and ankle boots disguising the hem. Opaque black leggings look particularly good when worn with a short skirt or dress.

Our Top Tips On How To Wear Leggings in Winter

  • Team winter leggings with a denim shirt dress for an on-trend look that'll transcend from day to night. Complete the outfit with knee-high boots.

  • Oversized knitwear is great for wearing with leggings on casual days and the outfit can instantly be elevated with a pair of high heels.

  • Statement trainers will help to inject an athleisure feel into your outfit. Pair with a turtleneck top plus gilet on cold winter days so it's easy to peel back the layers when you're indoors.

  • To really make a style statement this winter, invest in a pair of over the knee boots to wear with your leggings and layer with a chunky scarf plus trench coat.

  • Short UGG boots are a great contrast to the tailored look of leggings, offering multiple chic outfit options without having to compromise on comfort.

  • When the temperature really drops during winter, swap your tights for opaque black leggings for an office-friendly outfit that'll work with either a skirt or dress.