First of all, to anyone who says “leggings aren’t pants,” you can stop reading right now and go F yourself.

Sorry that was harsh, but those a-holes deserve it. We all know TIGHTS are not pants (which your mama should have learned ya’ by age 6), but leggings are a beautiful thing–they’re comfortable, versatile, HAVE AN ELASTIC WAISTBAND but are still stylish (um, hello?), and can be super flattering (when you find the right ones). This season, my official uniform has been leggings, silky blouse (a longer/tunic cut if my ass is feeling fat), fur vest, and Frye boots.

Now I’m not suggesting you wear Lululemon pants on a first date (I mean, you COULD…), because there are different levels of leggings these days from “workout only” to “lifestyle/everyday” and many in the gray area, which I’m going to address. The most important thing is that they make your butt look lifted, legs skinny, and camel toe nonexistent. Below are my favorites with rankings from 1-5 (5 being the best) in the “Work Out” and “Go Out” categories:

leggings


1. MPG:
 It was immediate obsession when I tried on the MPG Avert Legging ($54-$70) at DEKA Atlanta. Super slimming, muffin top minimizing, AND they are extra long with multiple seams at the bottom, so you can actually cut them to your desired length or keep ’em long to go over your heels. I’ve been wearing them every time I travel, and like, I want to buy ten pairs in case they ever get discontinued.
Work Out Rating: 5. Great for running, cycling, barre, etc. because they stay up and move well. Plus, they keep your legs warm in cold weather and moisture wick in warmer temps.
Go Out Rating: 4. You can totally rock these at happy hour; the only drawback being a small logo on the left leg revealing that they’re fitness gear. BUT…high enough boots will cover it up #ForTheWin (my Fryes do).

2. Bia Brazil: First things first–these pants are one-size (WTF). I tried on the crop legging at DEKA knowing I would barely be able to stuff myself into them, and when they were halfway up my thighs and I was breathing heavy, I gave up and threw them out of the dressing room politely handed them to a sales associate yelling, “THESE ARE BABY PANTS!” But somehow, I fit in the full-length leggings (must have been a factory flaw on that pair) and absolutely love them. These gems are designed to make your butt look like a Brazilian bikini model (ish), and the wide waistband sucks in the stomach. I have dark gray ones with faux pockets for extra “everyday” appeal (and booty flattering). They do come in crazy prints and colors, but I’m sticking with dark neutrals as my personal goal with leggings is minimizing my bottom half, not enhancing it with a skintight solar system.
Work Out Rating: 4. A lot of women (and fitness instructors) swear by these and I do think they’re awesome, but the one-size aspect brings them down a notch in my book (but maybe I’m still bitter about the aforementioned dressing room incident).
Go Out Rating: 4.5. They’re made to wear everywhere, but again, there’s a small sporty logo at the waistband to cover if you’re trying to pass them off as fancy pants.

If you’re in Atlanta, pick up Bia Brazil at DEKA because, well….
ass pantCan someone please get that middle mannequin a sandwich?

3. Lysse: Does everyone know about these?! I actually saw my mom sporting a pair over Thanksgiving and was like, “Um excuse me, what are those?” She enlightened me about this incredible brand of high-end, super slimming (and REVOLUTIONARY tummy controlling) leggings that come in a ton of styles and fabrics. I love the denim ($68) and am lusting for the Ponte Equestrian ($84) and a comfy cotton pair. Also, they come in sizes up to 3X (ahem, did you hear that, Bia Brazil?).
Work Out Rating: 1. Meh. You could certainly Prancercise in the cotton ones, but these lovelies are designed for sweat-free style.
Go Out Rating: 5. Duh.

4. Elisabetta Rogiani: So, the tagline for this brand is “couture fitness” (gag) and some of the clothing is ridiculous and impractical, BUT…the quality and flatter factor are major. The first time I tried on Elisabetta yoga pants in Atlanta Activewear, I was like, “Wait…is that MY ass?” All the leggings are superb–it’s just a matter of preferring a roll-down or sport waistband (if you’re shorter, stay away from the roll-down) and an ankle gather or not ($87-$98). I also dig the stirrup pant because it reminds me of my early ’90s childhood (even if the model looks like a stripper on break). Yes, these pants are pricey, but they’re going to last a very long time, and as I mentioned, they flatter like whoa.
Work Out Rating: 5. They’re made for fitness. COUTURE fitness, that is.
Go Out Rating: 4.5. Almost perfection, but they could use a tad more sheen to get you to full-on fancy pants territory. But still, wear them out with boots/heels/whatever and feel free to let the label show (after all, it’s COUTURE).

Disclaimer: I’m not a Lululemon gal (maybe it’s their fat mirrors), but in case it is your jam (and you like fat mirrors), I did consult our friend and style expert Lillian on the best Lulu leggings and she recommended the Skinny Will (it has pockets!) and Wunder Under (not to be confused with Thunder From Down Under).

So say no to camel toe, get your gams into some badass leggings, and if someone says they aren’t pants, you send them my way.

LYLAS,
Ashley

Do you have leggings you love that I didn’t mention? Let me know with a comment!

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Fitness + Health, Style

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