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Cute tights and leggings for the trendy little girl

Suzi Milovanovic has been a mother of all kinds: stay at home mom, work from home mom, and go-the-office working mom. She blends all these perspectives in her contributions to various local and national print and online publications, tel...

Real kids wear tights

This fall's trend: Letting leggings do the talking with graphics and powerful prints. From plaid to paisley, Aztec to animal, striped to spotted, patterned leggings are among the cheapest yet biggest fashion statements for kids this season. Leggings and tights provide a whole new level of versatility and can be the best part of the budding fashionista's wardrobe.

Girl with LeggingsBy definition, leggings are tight, form-fitting trousers that extend from the waist to the ankles. In the United States, they are sometimes referred to as tights (although this also refers to opaque pantyhose). Typically, leggings are a blend of lycra plus nylon, cotton or cotton-polyester. Leggings can be wool, silk and various synthetic fabrics as well.

The zen of modern leggings

This season, the reborn 80s fad of choice is footless tights and leggings. They've shown up all over the runways and have become a favorite among young leading ladies. Everyone seems to be layering leggings with just about anything this year, and the trendy little girl is no exception.

Leggings have taken on many forms. Most commonly, you see the legging in its supporting role: Mid-calf, opaque black, peeking out from under knee-length skirts. Sometimes, a smidge of lace accents the cuff. But more and more often, we're seeing leggings as the focal point of an outfit.

Patterns have emerged along with colors. Subtle animal prints and the feminine, lacy look are common. Many leggings sport an embroidered design in colors that complement the rest of the outfit.

The long and short of it

Especially popular right now are capri-length leggings. These cropped versions are the ones most girls will be asking for this season. They should stop just below the knee or at mid-calf. Ankle-length leggings are cool, but forget about full-footed leggings or stirrup styles.

Even shiny lamé is on the radar for this season's favorite leggings.  For interest, lace trim is stylish as are touches of sparkle and other fun features. Bright, bold colors make even the littlest diva shine with a style all her own.

What to wear with leggings

The trick to helping your little girl jump on this fashion bandwagon without looking like an 80s rock star is to pair the leggings with the right outfits -- for instance, with a skirt or dress. Long, babydoll tops, tunics, empire-waisted or drop-waisted dresses with leggings look modern and fresh. Or, she can go 80s retro and wear them with a long, straight shirt that covers her backside. (Steer clear of cropped shirts with leggings for older girls.) Pair black leggings with brightly colored tops and dresses for an eye-popping look. Go bold with colors like hot pink, lime, red and electric blue.

For her feet, choose flat shoes that do not require socks, such as ballet flats or a sporty pair of Vans slip-ons.

Leggings earned a bad rap in the 80s, with too much makeup and big hair accompanying them. But with the right outfit, these stylish pieces are a great fashion accessory for any little girl.

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