Whether you’re into yoga, running, CrossFit, or just about any form of exercise, leggings are a definite must-have in your closet. From solid colors to crazy prints, there are a whole host of options when it comes to choosing a pair.
That said, picking the right ones entails several factors beyond simply being “squat-proof,” though that is definitely a crucial point of consideration. Here are some tips to take note of when you find yourself needing to buy leggings:
Choosing the Right Type of Fabric
Don’t let yourself be the victim of walking into a packed gym and going through a whole hour of working out, only to enter the locker room and find out that your leggings are see-through. Avoid the embarrassment and the cringy flashbacks by choosing a pair that has just the right amount of opaqueness. When trying them on, check how you look from both front and back, especially when you bend over. Make sure to do so in different lighting conditions, too.
If you’ll be using your leggings as your everyday wardrobe essentials, look into which fabric suits you best depending on what you have planned for the day. For instance, cotton is absorbent and soaks up all your sweat, while polyester provides added protection against the sun’s UV rays.
There are also many fabric blends that boast of being moisture-wicking and antimicrobial. These are perfect if you live in a climate with varied seasons, as they’ll help you stay cool in summer and warm in winter without ever having to worry about that sweaty smell.
Fabric choice also impacts the ease of slipping into your workout leggings. Nothing beats that buttery soft feeling of sliding into a pair that seems like it was made just for you. Few things come close to that added boost of confidence that the perfect fit can offer you.
With the choice of fabric also comes its ability to provide necessary compression. High-compression leggings are designed to stimulate blood flow while you perform strenuous exercises. These leggings also speed up the recovery of your muscles after you’re done with the physical activity. To ensure maximum comfort and a quicker post-exercise recovery, you may want to get a pair or two so that you’ll always be adequately dressed for your workout.
Consider the Waistband
One of the most annoying things that can happen during a workout is having to constantly pull up the waistband of your leggings to keep everything in place. Indeed, no one wants a waistband that flips down with every bend or squat.
That said, your leggings should fit snugly without digging in too much and constraining your movement. When choosing a pair to buy, take a look at the height of the garter. It should be the same height as the band to ensure that the leggings will stay up regardless of the activity.
High-waist leggings are also a great and popular option. They not only do the job of avoiding cuts, binds, and rolls, but they also pair well with cropped tops or your favorite sports bra. When it comes to waistbands, remember that pinching is not okay. Take your time and look for a pair of leggings with just the right balance between compression and comfort.
Go Through the Size Guide
While some brands claim to do universal sizing, it always pays to check their size guide versus your body measurements. You want to look and feel good in your leggings, so make sure you cross-check before adding any items to your cart, especially if you’re buying online.
Have a tape measure ready, and see how your measurements compare to the sizing available. You can also use the leggings you already own for reference. A good rule of thumb is that leggings should feel like a second skin. If they’re cinching a bit too much at the waist or constricting blood flow in your calves, then those are signs that you may need to size up.
Brands also differ in the elasticity and stretch of their leggings, so that is another point to take into account. This may mean that you’ll have to size up to account for leggings that aren’t as stretchy, for example. It’s a matter of doing your research and trying out different cuts and styles to see which one molds best to your body.
Choose the Right Length
On matters of length, there are various options available depending on your mood, style, and the mileage you want to get out of your pair. Here are three of the most popular cuts for you to consider:
Cut to fall below the knee, Capri leggings are your best bet if you want something longer than shorts, but don’t want to have your legs completely covered. While they may get a lot of flak since they’re notorious for shortening your legs, that’s not to say that they’re a lost cause.
With the right cut, color, and fit, you can look and feel great in a pair of these. Do take into account the rule of proportions if you do opt for this length so that you’ll always pull off the most flattering look possible.
Aside from that, factor in what type of physical activity you’ll be engaging in that day. While they may allow more room for your skin to breathe because they leave some of your leg exposed, they may not be the best for outdoor activities such as hiking. You can end up getting scratches or cuts, or potentially end up with knee-high sock tan lines after a sunny day spent outdoors.
If you prefer to have your legs completely covered, then full-length leggings are the obvious choice. Some even extend all the way to cover your heels or loop around the ball of your foot. This makes them a popular choice for dancers, especially when they offer the added function of a non-slip grip on the stirrups.
During the winter season, these will be your go-to pair to stay cozy and warm whether you’ll be spending most of your time indoors or outdoors. The classic style and practicality of full-length leggings make them a staple for anyone’s closet.
Also known as 7/8 or midi leggings, skimmer leggings are the perfect in-between option if you can’t decide between Capri or full length ones. Cropped just above the ankle, these leggings offer a wide range of possibilities. For example, you can pair them with your favorite gym top and trainers for a day of crunching calories. You can also match them with a pair of strappy high heels and a dressy top for a comfortable night out.
As a bonus, skimmer leggings can also create the illusion of a taller figure. You also have the practical advantage of no longer needing to roll your leggings a few inches up, unlike some full-length pairs that end up being just a tad bit too long.
Look at the Extra or Added Details
Leggings with pockets are a total gamechanger. From storing your keys, emergency cash, or maybe even your phone, pockets can be extremely convenient. Whether it’s hitting the pavement with a good run, crushing your next gym workout, or running errands around town, it’s always a major plus to have everything you need easily accessible.
Like many things, choosing a perfect pair of leggings may seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Just keep these guidelines in mind and you’ll be on the way to finding a pair you won’t ever want to take off.