How to Wear Joggers Like a Fashionista (The Golden Rules)

Collage of three woman showing how to wear joggers

The athleisure (and now athluxury) craze has ushered a new world of decision-making for fashionistas. As if we didn’t have enough to think about, with choosing the right cut of jeans to wear with that cutout sweater, or the right length of skirt to wear with that work blouse. Now we have to figure out how to wear joggers, fashion hoodies and designer sports bras!

We do love joggers though — they’re kinda like stylish sweatpants — but they can be challenging to wear. Read on for our guide on styling joggers like a true fashionista.

Joggers Defined

First, the basics: what are joggers anyway? Joggers started out as a modern sweatpant. They typically have:

  • an elastic waist
  • roomy fit through the hips, backside and thighs
  • leg that tapers down to a gently hugging elastic around the ankle

Clothing makers are now producing the jogger silhouette in a range of fabrics. And that means you can buy joggers appropriate for work or play. You can really get very creative with this style. Celebrities like Rihanna wear joggers with heels and jewels. But newcomers to the jogger style might begin with a very casual jogger outfit — perfect for running weekend errands comfortably and stylishly.

Wearing Joggers for Your Body Shape

Joggers will flatter if you have a straight figure, or otherwise want to draw attention to your hips and thighs. The tapered leg emphasizes the angle of your shape from hip to ankle. This is a plus when you want to add the appearance of curves and shapeliness.

If the hips and thighs are problem areas for you, many standard joggers may be unflattering. Look for a pair with a lighter-weight, flowy fabric and a less extreme leg taper.

How to Wear Joggers — Dos and Don’ts

Do consider the occasion

You can wear joggers casually or you can step it up for work a night out with the girls. A classic casual jogger-based outfit includes sneaks and a feminine t-shirt.

how to wear joggers - casual joggers from Forever21

Heathered Pocket Joggers, $15.90, Forever21

If you’re going for a dressier vibe, go all in. Wear heels and jewelry and carry a big leather tote bag. Traditionalists may be nervous about pairing the cotton pant with heels. In that case, look for a leather jogger or polyester jogger that’s slightly more formal.

how to wear joggers - women drape jogger from Uniqulo offers a more formal jogger look

Polyester Women Drape Jogger, $39.90, Uniqulo.

how to wear joggers - 4 looks for leather joggers

She’s Bad Faux Leather Joggers, $69, Kamishade.com

Do wear sneaks, ankle boots or angular, pointed-toe heels

Have fun with your shoe choice! Joggers are super-versatile, and can really highlight a statement shoe. Here are some options to try.

  • Sneaks: Vans, Converse, Stan Smiths all work well.
  • Heels: A pointy, angular heel is a good choice. You can go with a closed toe or even a strappy sandal, as long as you choose sleek over chunky.
  • Ankle boots: For an edgier look, wear joggers with a solid ankle boot. Again, sleek styles will be your go-to here. This combo is most successful with a jogger that’s close fitting around the calf.

Do select tops that are a soft, flowy fabric and contrasting color

Matchy tops paired with joggers look like pajama sets or sweatsuits. And those aren’t the looks you want. Instead, keep your look tidy with a contrasting top in a lightweight fabric. A simple white t-shirt made of a rayon blend will do! The give of the fabric balances the heavier cotton of a standard jogger, while nodding to your feminine side.

Do tuck or half-tuck tops that land past the jogger waistline

You do want to highlight your waist when wearing joggers. The right top follows the shape of your upper body and lands at the waistline. If the shirt is slim fit but too long, you can fix that with a tuck or half-tuck — as long as the fabric isn’t bulky.

how to wear joggers - pair joggers with a light t shirt, cardigan and large tote bag

Project Social T Terry Me Grey Joggers, $55, Lulus

Do pair joggers with a long, sleek cardigan, fitted hoodie or structured denim jacket

Your choice of outerwear is important. Because the jogger silhouette is roomy, the style looks best with outerwear that adds definition and structure to your shape. A bulky sweatshirt won’t do that — but a long cardigan, fitted hoodie or denim jacket will.

Don’t wear a crop top (unless you have unreal abs)

The Internet is loaded with images of amazingly thin women wearing their joggers with crop tops. This is a look that’s used to sell joggers…and it’s very hard to pull off. Stay away from this pairing unless:

  • you are a professional athlete (can I get an autograph?) and
  • you have super-toned, tan abs and
  • it’s warm enough outside to justify the crop

Otherwise, keep the midriff covered.

Don’t wear distressed joggers

distressed joggers

Knee Slit Joggers, $29.99, Soho Girl

Joggers with torn knees just don’t work. If you want your knees to peek out, choose jeans instead.

Don’t tuck your joggers into boots.

Tucking joggers into boots does away with the sleek tapered leg shape, and will usually cause the pant to bunch up around the top of the boot. Leggings or skinny pants are a better option with tall boots that require tucking.

How are you wearing your joggers? Let us know in the comments!

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Catherine Brock

Catherine Brock is a writer, editor and marketer who's been sharing wisdom online since 2002. She's been featured on DrLaura.com, Wellness.com and ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis and KCAL9 Los Angeles. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter. Learn more about Catherine.
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