Leggingsquest 2013: A Retrospective

This tweet was inspired by seeing a girl in the Eastern regions of Manhattan who was wearing a blazer, a pinstriped buttondown, thick perfect leggings that cupped and cushioned her perky butt, and some sort of riding-style boots. Her chestnut hair was stick-straight and gleaming. She was carrying, needless to say, a navy Longchamp ‘Le Pliage’ tote. Now, I am a tattooed hippie half-Jew whose fashion coming-of-age took place during an era when flannels and light blue, ill-fitting, purposely-ripped jeans were considered chic. But I don’t ever want to wear real pants, which means that rich bitch and I have something in common. Thus began an odyssey that is not even remotely over yet. Even so, I wanted to report back on my findings thus far. 

1. The gold standard: $10 H&M “basics” leggings, vintage 2011-2?

pros: I already own them, they are very comfortable and soft, I own 3 pairs.

cons: holes, baggy in the butt, bleach stains (from a flirtation with Proactiv?), cannot be worn outside the home. Also, not warm and due to bagginess not really suitable for layering. 

2. The upgrade: Uniqlo HeatTech leggings, $14.90

How does this “heat tech” work? Do the leggings have a computer in them? They have a cheap shine to them and don’t fool anyone into thinking I’m fancy. While they are pretty comfortable, due to butt-transparency they certainly cannot be worn alone as pants. Next!

3. Anne Klein leggings, $12.99 (with Amazon Prime, sorry)

These were recommended by Suze Myers, who is among other things our cherished and beloved Emily Books intern.  She said they changed her life. Sorry Suze but they did not change mine! Their waistband is too thick and constricting. It’s like it’s trying to “control” my “tummy.” If I wanted to be embraced too-firmly about the center of my body, I’d wear actual pants. Fuck you, Anne Klein. 

In their defense they are 95% cotton, which should make them hardier than some of these other pairs. But it also means you have to wash them in cold. Ew.

4. Fleece leggings Sari got me from T.J. Maxx in Kingston, brand unknown

These were great for the first wear. They have an innovative seam on either side of the butt which means they can’t give you a front OR a back wedgie. However they disintegrated substantially with each washing, EVEN on cold. 2 stars. (I will still wear them 10,000 more times.)

5. K. Bell brand fleece leggings, $19.00

pro: very warm, thick, plasticky fleece which you can legit wear while hiking in 20 degree weather.

con: no matter how you wash them they develop nubbly pills all over the outside and attract all kinds of dirt, fuzz, hair and filth. Also despite being expensive they are shiny and look cheap. 

6. Danskin leggings, $25.99

These are the clear winner for actual athletic activity. They stay put and are cute and flattering. The thick waistband is a plus if you want to avoid being tempted to picking your wedgie while standing in tadasana.

Cons: throw these on to just hang around the house? No, they’re not cozy enough or easy enough to slip on. Wear them with a skirt on a cold day in lieu of tights? Definitely not, skirt waistband plus legging waistband would suffocate your midsection. Also just a tiny, tiny, tiny bit too thin to wear in lieu of real pants in the nonyoga world.

7.Hotsox ribbed velour leggings that I found at a T.J. Maxx in MA

These are great. I got a size medium and they do slide down a bit, but they’re very thick and you can wear them as pants because to the untrained eye they look almost like corduroy. I can’t find them anywhere online. I guess the lesson here is that T. J. Maxx is a wonderland, except not in NYC where it is a hellhole. Oh, also they were like $3.

8. Splendid french terry leggings that I probably should have bought in the first place, $68

Cons: They’re $68. Also, I don’t actually own them yet. But I ordered them today. If they’re great I’m going to buy as many more pairs as I can until my bank account is empty and I just resign myself to being the Imelda Marcos of leggings.

I also realized today that all but 1 of my pairs of black tights have holes in the toes, but that’s a quest for another day. 

This Rookie guide to thrifting and its accompanying photos brought back so many memories of my trips to Value Village in Laurel MD, which looks exactly like this. I can almost smell it.  Despite which: I want to go to there! You could buy the outfits of everyone standing on a crowded G train platform at Metropolitan Ave at 11:20 pm on a Tuesday there for $40.  All of those outfits.  No kidding. 

This Rookie guide to thrifting and its accompanying photos brought back so many memories of my trips to Value Village in Laurel MD, which looks exactly like this. I can almost smell it.  Despite which: I want to go to there! You could buy the outfits of everyone standing on a crowded G train platform at Metropolitan Ave at 11:20 pm on a Tuesday there for $40.  All of those outfits.  No kidding. 

Tags: shopping