I have a three year old niece (who is totally adorable). Like many other little girls her age, she wears leggings under dresses, tunics, skirts and looks stylish, pretty, quirky and warm. She's also ready for any adventures that might come her way--and as she is a very energetic, smart and strong-willed young lady, she has adventures galore.
I've long admired her cohort for the way they wear leggings--as opposed to some adults out there who think that semi-sheer footless tights are pants. I've worn leggings as a tights substitute in cold weather for years (or rather, layered them over tights, then layered socks, boots and dresses/skirts over them), but I stuck to black.
Inspiration for a change came from a somewhat unlikely source, J. Crew's Fall 2011 preview, where a pair of rust/navy striped leggings were paired with a dress. Like my niece and so many 3-year olds, these leggings had visual interest, looked warm and delightfully offbeat. I wear bright coloured tights and sometimes add patterned pairs, so I decided these leggings would be added to my closet this fall. I adjusted this plan slightly when I discovered said leggings cost $80. I demurred further when I saw them in person--with no stretch, they looked like pajamas.
But the desire to have striped leggings (preferably in some kind of red-rust/navy combo) persisted. Ironically, I found the solution at a great price--and in far better fabric (a proper leggings cotton spandex) at the J. Crew factory site. At a shade under $15 each, I got the red/blue (alas in a large which is a little big as the Medium had sold out) and the navy/white. These work with patterned Rachel Comey dresses and with little box pleat skirts and boots. And they are warm enough for the early cold now coming our way.