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All About Leggings: An Overview

Let’s face it – Leggings are everywhere these days. And they don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. From the cooler months of fall and winter to the warmer months of spring and summer, this versatile legwear fashion staple has been known to make a recurring appearance in many women’s year-round wardrobes.


Whether you’re hitting the gym, running errands, meeting a friend for lunch, or getting dressed up for a romantic night out, it seems like there’s always room in a woman’s well-rounded wardrobe for a cute and comfortable pair of leggings.

If you’re new to this legwear style but want to add a pair to your closet, you may not know where to begin – and you might have some questions. What’s in style, and what isn’t? How do you choose the right pair for you? How should they fit? If you already wear leggings, you might just want some tips and inspiration on how to broaden your horizons.

Whichever category you fall into, you’ve come to the right place! In this multi-part blog series, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about leggings. Let’s start by covering some of the basics.

What are leggings?

In modern times (say, since around the 1960’s), leggings have been considered any elastic and stretchy close-fitting garment that’s worn over the legs. Most are composed of stretchy materials like lycra blends, nylon, cotton, and polyester blends, making them skin tight and flexible. Other  styles are made with wool, silk, and various synthetic fabrics. Leggings are typically worn by women – but there are also options available for men.

What is the difference between leggings and tights?

Leggings and tights are such similar legwear styles that people often get confused about what they have in common and what sets them apart. They are both tight-fitting and stretchy garments that cover the legs, hips and some of the waist. However, Leggings are much thicker, are usually opaque, are warmer, and are usually footless. In contrast, tights tend to be made with less opaque materials (they at least have some level of sheerness), are thinner, and often cover the foot. Because leggings are typically less see-through, some women feel comfortable wearing them as pants. Tights, on the other hand, require more covering up. They’re best worn under dresses and skirts that fully cover the front and rear.

Why wear leggings?

We love leggings for the same reasons you’ll probably love leggings – they’re stretchy, comfortable, fashionable and versatile. They can also be remarkably flattering to your figure if you know how to choose the right pair. Features like seams, a sewn-in crotch and a slimming waistband can help slim your silhouette and give you a polished, tailored look.

How should leggings fit?

Some of the most commonly asked questions by women shopping for new leggings concern getting the right size and fit. For instance: How are they supposed to fit my body? How tight is too tight? How loose is too loose? How do I know I’m in the right size?

There are a few general rules of thumb we’d recommend you follow whenever you’re shopping for new leggings. With these tips, you’ll be sure to find a better fit!

1. Feel it out 

When you put your leggings on, they should feel like a second skin. They should be tight around your rear, calves and thighs – but not so tight that they’re binding, uncomfortable or create bumps and lumps. Look at your stomach just above the waistband. If your waistband is creating wrinkling of the skin, lumps or a muffin top, you probably need to move up a size. On the flip side, if your leggings are loose around the knees, the waist keeps slipping down or they need to be pulled up repeatedly, you probably need a smaller size. Leggings should stretch to fit you evenly from top to bottom without any gapping, sagging, or discomfort.

2. Check the crotch

If there’s excessive fabric around your crotch, you might need to try a smaller size. This is important because if the crotch of your leggings doesn’t fit properly, it can cause chafing – and no one likes that.

3. Check the fabric

If when you put on your leggings, the material stretches to the point that it loses its opacity and looks more sheer, it’s an indication that you may need a larger size. Wearing a size too small can cause over-stretching of the material.

4. Make like Gumby

Leggings are supposed to allow for free and comfortable movement without shifting, losing shape, or binding you. So, do a few squats, bend forward and to the sides and take some large steps. How do your leggings hold up, and how do they look? Stretching and moving around shouldn’t make your panties or your skin more visible through the material, and it shouldn’t cause discomfort. If you do notice any of these symptoms, it means your leggings are probably too tight or the style you’re wearing might not be best for you. Try a larger size or a different style.

Don’t forget to check back in a couple weeks for more questions and answers about leggings.

Have any questions you’d like us to answer in the future? Leave a comment below, on our Facebook or on our Twitter.

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