What to look for in a pair of leggings
Whether you’re buying leggings for lounging, working out, or everyday wear, you should always check first for durability. A good pair of leggings will be worn several times a month (if not within a week), and as such, will need to be able to stand up to both daily wear and tear.
“Cotton and jersey leggings tend to stretch out, fade, and pill over time,” said Molly Cohen, a stylist and creative consultant who has worked with brands such as Helmut Lang, The RealReal, Morgan Lane, and more. “Performance and water-resistant fabrics, like spandex or nylon, hold their shape, and will last for years.”
Caring for your leggings
Next, ensure that the leggings are easy to care for and their color won’t fade. Most leggings are made out of some type of synthetic stretch material that can be super delicate. To help them last, wash your leggings by hand or in cold water with similar fabrics in your washing machine. (Cohen suggests turning them inside-out for extra protection.) Stretch material can break down in the heat, so it’s important to skip the dryer. Instead, hang-dry your leggings to help them maintain their shape.
Sizing is where you can run into some issues with leggings since almost every company runs a little differently. “Make sure you’re reading the copy if you’re ordering online,” Cohen said. “I always check to see if the size on the model is listed, and use the photos for a reference.” Most of the time, the copy will also point to whether or not the leggings run small, large, or true to size. But when in doubt, Cohen suggests sizing up rather than sizing down. “That’ll ensure you have room to breathe,” she said.
When it comes to price, leggings can really run the gamut. Performance leggings that are made for working out are usually made of high-tech, sturdy, sweat-wicking material. So you can expect to pay more for your typical lounge-around-the-house pair. But if you’re hoping to stock up on a budget, there are plenty of affordable, yet durable, styles to choose from.