At one point, a couple of years back, my wardrobe was overflowing with leggings. Now, as you all know, there has been quite the shift from formal to active wear in recent years and it’s become a lot more acceptable to wear leggings and other sports associated garments as part of one’s daily and even work attire.
Just to clarify – this was not the reason for my excessive leggings collection!
I presume, like me, many of you struggle to find the perfect fit of leggings and possibly order multiple sizes from various brands and online stores before strutting your stuff on your living room catwalk to decide on the “chosen ones”. Or…maybe that’s just me.
Anyhow, after much frustration and many many many purchases (which eventually led to the massive clear out!) I am now somewhat an expert in how to decipher my leggings size and no longer need to order/try on twenty pairs before I make a purchase.
Sure, of course I’ll share how. If you’re anything like me and I most definitely don’t have a well-balanced body shape, with my short legs and wide hips, I am sure my top tips will be of help.
Key things to keep in mind:
Fit for purpose
Why, where and how are you going to wear these leggings? This is imperative to the sizing. Whether you’re wearing them casually, teamed up with a tshirt or sweater or for functionality at the gym, your fit expectations are going to be different.
I remember seeing a surge of memes on Instagram at one point, where women were baffled at the comparisons of how well known retailers sold pairs of jeans in the same UK sizes (e.g. a 12) but they all measured and fit differently. The point is – each brand or retailer follows a different grading structure for fit depending on their brand essence and target consumer. In my experience, the only way to overcome this is by trial and error. Shop around at different brands to see what size you are according to their fit and make a note for future reference, so you can make speedier purchases!
Size & length
If it isn’t difficult enough as it is, you have to decode the sizing structure – so you could opt for “one size” (bit of a gamble if you have curves like me!) or the small, medium, large bracket. Alternatively, and in my opinion, the most true to size, would be dress sizes, for example, UK 6-22+. Don’t forget to check the inseam length though, as your height will affect how these fit around your legs and waist and fabric gathering at the ankle is a pet peeve of mine so must be avoided at all cost.
Not all leggings are the same! Depending on where they have been manufactured, the fabric, fit and stitching method is going to differ. Ensure that there is enough stretch in places like your thigh because if they are too tight and you are going to engage in consistent or rapid movement, they may tear at the crotch or inseam.
Bear in mind how much elastane they have in them as this will give you a good indication of how stretchy they will be and whether they will be true to your dress size – you may need to size up and down depending on this.
Also, if they are high waisted with an elastic band or low waisted with a thick yoga band they are going to look and feel different. My preference is towards high waisted leggings, as I feel I am more true to size in this fit and they are snug around my curves; holding me in comfortably as required!
Be wary that the waistband is not too tight or you may have imprints when removing and you don’t want to cut off that all important blood circulation.
Key pointers on where to begin with making the final choice:
- A great starting point is your jeans size. Try on/purchase a pair of leggings in the same size and then decide whether to size up or down if the fit isn’t quite right.
- Ensure that there is enough elastane in the leggings and they are not too tight around your knees, especially if you are going to wear them to work out, as high impact movements could cause tearing and expose body parts that you’d rather keep covered.
- Unlike jeans or trousers, leggings are supposed to provide ultimate comfort!! So, whether you are wearing them casually, to the gym/for a workout, or to binge eat your favourite foods (that’s most likely just me!), they shouldn’t feel tight or restrictive.
Here are some of my favourites:
For when I need attention: https://banditbee.co.uk/product/girls-leopard-leggings/
For when I’m actually going to work out: https://banditbee.co.uk/product/fitness-leggings-black/
My day to night option – perfect for everything! https://banditbee.co.uk/product/womans-workout-leggings/