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September 17, 2018

2018 has been a year of changes in the leggings world.  From what's new, what's not so new, and how the world has changed how they look at leggings, there have been a lot of changes.  Let's take a look.

Fabrics

Fabric really have undergone a revolution in the last year.  Improved stretch, feel, moisture wicking, and durability have hit the market.

The improved stretch lets designers create leggings that shape and lift better than ever before, while the improved feel keeps you comfortable. Look for fabrics with brand names like 'Supplex' and 'FormaFlex' that will give you great feel and fit with high durability.

Also, recycled plastic fabrics are making great inroads.  Since their introduction in 2017, these fabrics with a high recycled content feel amazingly soft and comfortable.  Look for wider adoption of this innovative Italian fabric in 2018.

Improved printing processes leave printed fabric feeling soft against your skin, without the slick feeling earlier prints used to have.  Also, these new prints no longer show white stripes (known as 'grin') when stretched.  

Improved fine nylon threads used in mesh panels has created softer and stronger mesh, while increasing strength.

The leather look has had it's day.  In it's place, upgraded fabric treatments add a subtle sheen to leggings that creates a fine glimmer that complements you and the rest of your outfit. Perfect for social and holiday affairs, and you don't have to be a size zero to look good in them!

Styles

Leggings are getting better styles as designers continue to refine how they work with stretchable fabrics.  The days of stuffing your legs into a plain fabric tube are thankfully over! 

Designers now start with actual anatomy when designing leggings so from top to toe, each millimeter fits perfectly.  You can see this care when you look at quality plus size leggings size charts - they now have nine or more points of measurement so the fit matches perfectly.

New cuts are taking advantage of advanced fabrics to lift and shape while taking comfort to new heights.  And quality leggings won't ride up in front - they stay put!

High wasted leggings continue to be in style, with some designers pushing up an extra half inch.  If you like them a little lower, no worries!  Just fold the waistband in half and you're good to go - and it's just about impossible for the leggings to slip.

Black continues to be the go-to color for everyone's must have leggings.  And deep, muted greens like Forest and Pine add extra interest in a refined way.

Bold prints made possible by advanced processes are coming on strong.  Look for big patterns in new fall colors like Tomato.  Also, look for new styles in camo that take advantage of advanced printing for an unexpected look that's edgy without being military.

Designers are dialing back the mesh, which hit it's high mark last summer.  Moving to subtle slices of mesh that complement the cut without dominating shows a sophisticated style while keeping you frosty.

What's out?  Motos.  They had a great run, but it's over.  Thankfully, yours are likely worn out by now, so you can toss them knowing you got good value while it lasted!

Prices

Competition between design houses has intensified, driving down prices for quality leggings with great designs.  Flat lock seam stitching has come to moderately priced leggings, as has upgraded fabric.  Smart shoppers are finding quality that used to cost over $100 USD at lower price points.

Basic spandex and one size fits all leggings will continue to be available for novelty leggings for holidays like Halloween and Christmas, but there's no place for them in the daily wardrobe of those who are in the know.

High end leggings will continue to trade on their name, celebrity endorsements, and intense advertising to generate sales.  But the quality gap between them and moderately priced pieces has narrowed dramatically, and will continue to shrink. 

And specialty leggings that trade on shaping and enhancing will always be there for those of us that feel they need them.  This will continue to be a small, but eye catching (ahem) part of the market.

How we wear leggings

Remember when a woman got thrown off a Southwest Airline flight for wearing leggings a couple of years ago?  That's not happening any more!

The #LeggingsArePants movement has driven acceptance of leggings at work, play, and, of course, lounging around the house.  Also improved quality in reasonably priced leggings has thankfully eliminated leggings turning translucent when you bend over.  So they can be worn anywhere without flashing the local gentry.

For a go anywhere, do anything outfit, pair your leggings with a loose top and you're good to go for any outing.  Dial it up for a party or fun get together with some heels, or throw on some flats for a more casual look. 

Pairing patterned leggings with skirts will keep you warm and stylish this winter, and if you have a skirt that is just a bit too short for comfort, put it on over a pair of leggings and you'll be confident however you move.

And compression leggings are now encouraged on airline flights, to keep blood from pooling in your legs on long flights.  And the stretchy waistband of leggings doesn't pinch you the way jeans do! 

So...

The state of the leggings art continues to improve.  More comfortable and durable fabrics, coupled with smart design, are increasing options for women that want value with their fashion.  

Black leggings, like the little black dress, continue to be a must have in every closet, but smart and subtle colors and refined prints are making inroads, so you can express yourself confidently.

Social acceptance of leggings has grown with leggings wear moving into almost every situation.  The versatility of leggings continues to influence fashion, both in and out of the studio or gym.

Bonus: What to look for when buying leggings

Sizing

Size and fit is the number one problem when buying leggings!  Here’s how easily to sidestep that forever! 

When buying leggings, check the size charts!  It doesn’t matter if you are buying from someone for the first time, or the 50th.  Your hard work at the gym might have changed your measurements – or the leggings may have been resized from the last time you looked at them.  Whatever the case, a quick check before you buy will pay off in a perfect fit!

Quality Counts

You are better off buying one pair of good quality leggings than three pairs of cheap ones!  Cheap leggings will let you down when you least expect it with thin elastic in the waistbands, which will let them droop, or poor fit after a few wearings, which will cause baggy knees and embarrassing wrinkles in front, or fabric that will fail the bend over test when you least realize it.  No one wants to flash everyone behind them – and you may not even know its happening!

On the other hand, unless you are on love with something that is totally perfect, there’s no need to crack $100 for a pair of leggings.  We all have those moments of madness, but stay out of the ultra high end shops and your pocketbook will thank you!

Value priced leggings start at the mid $30 at the bottom to $80 at the top (in 2018).  Passing on that morning latte will pay that off fast!

Accentuate the Positive

A great fit is all about supporting your confidence!  Everyone has their own body type, and that’s great!  So buy leggings that work with your strong points and help everywhere else.

Have long legs?  Then go for a 7/8ths length to accentuate them.  Wide hips?  Go for high wasted leggings for a clean line.  Capris break up wider legs, and check your leggings for how the cut hits your backside. 

Pockets count!  We’re all played hide and seek with our keys at the end of a workout.  Having a waistband or thigh pocket lets you forget about your cards and keys until you need them.  But make sure the placement will not interfere with how you move. 

Waistband pockets can only carry so much, but pockets on the outer thighs can carry your phone, cards, keys, and some change.  Check the design on side pockets.  Good ones will hold your good securely when you hit the ladies room.  Older designs had a nasty habit of dumping the contents while you are on the loo.  Fortunately, new designs have fixed that.  No one wants to go iPhone fishing! 

Covering the basics

There are a few basic leggings that belong in everybody’s closet. 

Basic Black 

These are the leggings you will be wearing more than any other, so get good ones.  You should pump up the volume with some subtle mesh or two different styles   Click here

Shorts

If you’re doing hot yoga, or if the temperature is scorching, a good pair of shorts is something you need to have.  You can get them in whatever length you like, and go for a color.  Basic black is pretty boring in shorts!  Click here

Colored Leggings

Look for leggings that have a bit of color to them.  Dark blue, pine, and dark brown are some options that are flattering without being too flashy.  Pairing colored leggings with black tops gives you a fresh look for very little cash.

Thermal Leggings

Perfect for winter shopping, visiting, or that surprise hayride.  Cold weather leggings are surprisingly sleek and comfortable, thanks to new fabrics that are both thin and warm.  Available in a multitude of colors, as well as basic black.  Pair with a nice top and a winter coat or jacket for a totally put together look.

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Party Leggings

Add some flash to the party and holiday gatherings with some patterned leggings that fit the season.  You can go from a subtle sheen of joy to full-on bling legs.  As always, buy quality, since they only come out a few times a year, and barring party mishaps, will be with you for a while!

So that’s it!  We hope this guide helps you to find the leggings that work best for you, as well as inspiring some ideas on how wearing the right leggings will help you move with confidence, no matter what you are doing!

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