Since Coco Chanel made it très chic back in the 1920s, the little black dress (LBD) has long been considered essential to complete every woman’s wardrobe. Now, in 2020, it is safe to say there’s a new modern ‘must have’ - a trusty pair of little black leggings (LBL)!
I’m guessing you probably wear your black leggings a whole lot more than that LBD, because let’s face, it we all live in our activewear these days! This classic staple can transform any look from sporty to sexy in seconds, just by adding a few accessories to the mix. You can pair it with a vibrant top for an easy day-time look, or glam it up for date night with a pair of heels.
If you’re still on the hunt for the PERFECT pair of LBL, then read on as I share my insider tips on exactly what to look for when you’re shopping - especially when you're looking for a long-lasting pair that is worth your dollars!
We live online these days, so product descriptions are key when buying black leggings without physically being able to try them on. Be on the lookout for these important keywords that will inform you on the style, fabric, fit and function of the garment.
These keywords are super important, especially when there are thousands of poorly made leggings on the market that end up in landfill within 6 months, because they wear and tear so fast. Knowing what to look for on your product tags helps the environment, and it also helps you save money by buying less and wearing more ;)
I bet you’ve heard some people say “leggings are not pants”? Well, that was before squat-proof leggings were invented! These are made from fabric that is dense enough not to expose skin when you are moving or bending over during your exercises, whilst still being breathable.
If you are unsure if the legging is squat proof, look or ask about the GSM, a technical term that describes the weight of the legging fabric. You always want to look for a GSM of at least 220 or higher. If the GSM is low, the fabric is too light and will be see-through. It’s actually quite logical when you think about it. We all want to squat and down dog with confidence!
High intensity workouts can get sweaty! And there’s nothing worse than leaving the gym with a sweat patch on your crotch area. Moisture-wicking fabric solves this potentially embarrassing scenario, by quickly removing sweat away from your body with its high-tech, sweat-resistant coating.
The main difference between premium and lower cost leggings usually lies in how the fabric is treated with this additional moisture-wicking property. You can expect your premium legging to stay sweat-proof for up to five times longer than a cheaper legging, because the yarn is treated with wicking coating before they are knitted, and not on the finished fabric. Just like that old saying goes, “you get what you pay for”.
3. FABRIC CONSISTENCY
Who wouldn’t want to wear leggings that are buttery soft? In order to get this beautiful feel, look for leggings made from spandex and polyester, as they will have a bit of stretch in them. Spandex and polyester make the perfect combination for activewear as the spandex allows you to move during your workouts.
Keep an eye out for 10-30 percent spandex. The denser the fabric (remember we talked GSM above), the more spandex you will need to ensure it stretches adequately. It’s also wise to keep in mind that the amount of stretch will also impact the sizing (spandex is ideal in giving a body-hugging fit and you can always size down), so the golden rule here is to make sure you know your measurements before you buy.
To get your perfect fit, get out that measuring tape to check your measurements against the size chart! Trust me, it’s worth the effort to ensure those leggings will have you feeling fabulous if they fit you properly.
4. FADE-RESISTANT / COLORFAST
There’s nothing more upsetting than pitch black leggings fading to a dull dark grey after only a few washes! Look for leggings that clearly state they are fade-resistant or “colorfast” in their descriptions.
Once you have received your leggings, a super quick test to double check is to dampen a make-up remover cotton bud with water, and rub against the fabric. If any black comes off, you know you have a dud.
Stitching can significantly impact the life-span of your leggings. I love leggings without a side seam and premium brands offer stitching that is both soft and flat.
The fancy name for this is called a “flat seam” and it legit makes a difference in how comfy leggings feel and fit on the inside of the leg. This type of stitch avoids irritation on the skin when you move - genius! Cheaper leggings will use other seam types the side of the legging and it may stick out and impact your comfort levels.
High waistbands are great for delivering a body-hugging fit. They should follow the lines of your body and give you a smooth shape and middle. Whatever your preference for waistband height is, we all have one expectation in common: that they stay in place when we bend down!
If you’re not sure of the waistband height on the leggings you are eyeing off, shoot an email to the brand and just ask. More important than the waistband height, is making sure that good quality elastic is used inside the waistband. Ideally, this elastic should be around ½ inch wide (again, shoot an email to the brand). This ensures it will be strong enough to hold the legging in place and not too long that it will make the waistband pucker or wrinkle. A lower quality waistband can dig in and cause discomfort, and no one wants that.
So, there you have it! My top six insider tips for helping you choose your perfect black legging.
I founded fitphyt because I was always searching for THE softest, most premium black legging that will outlast the rest in my closet. I might be biased, but I can safely say our signature Prestige Black Legging ticks all of the boxes above. It stays up when you squat, supports when you lift and it also makes you look totally cool when you’re on the go, or grabbing a coffee!