At my Pilates class this morning my instructor asked what I was up to for the remainder of the day. I said I was having a writing day but hadn’t made up my mind as to what to actually write about. He suggested, “why not a blog on workout wear?” So I took his advice and started writing, but as you will read below, it turned into another rant about leggings…
I’ve played competitive sports all my life, but now in my 40s, I’ve slowed down a little and now rely on regular long walks, treadmills and more recently discovered the brilliance of Pilates.
And with my change of sporting activity has come a change in my exercise gear. Previously my need for track suits was either to represent a sporting team or to wear over my short tennis or netball skirt in winter. My choice of apparel also needed to be taken off quickly; warm up, trackies off, game on.
Nowadays, my workout wear consists of Lycra- not so easily removed, but very functional and comfortable to exercise in. Living in the city, I walk to my Pilates class (and walk around the streets for exercise) in my workout gear, so I’m very conscious of my tight Lycra pants not being mistaken for leggings. That is to say, I’m wearing ‘leggings’ for exercise purposes and not as pants. But all the same, I’m still wandering the streets in leggings, sort of.
It’s pretty obvious I’m either exercising or on my way to exercise, considering I have my runners and track top on. But even in this instance, I’m still very mindful of covering up and not leaving too much on show. So the tops I choose to wear have to be long. This is quite an effort in itself as being tall, lots of workout tees and jackets don’t quite give me the coverage I’d like. This is why most of the workout wear I now own is Lulu Lemon. They tend to cater for tall women with most of their styles having a curved hem which discreetly gives me the bottom coverage I like.
My leggings are Lorna Jane; they’re ridiculously comfortable to exercise in and they hold me in in all the right places. And yes I’m quite comfortable walking the streets in my exercise leggings (as long as there’s adequate bottom coverage) but that’s where I draw the line because as we all (should) know, leggings are not pants.
Walking home from Pilates this morning I counted the number of women I passed wearing their leggings as pants. There were quite a few. They were not exercising, on their way to exercise or coming from, they we women wearing their leggings with ballet flats, heels, boots, shirts, jumpers and jackets, going about their everyday business- working, shopping, socialising with friends.
This is not the first time I’ve written about leggings as pants, and it probably won’t be the last. Clearly women just don’t get it.
But this post is about exercise leggings, and there are some tips for getting them right.
1. Avoid ¬æ length- just like a ¬æ length pant or skirt, a legging that chops you off at the calf (the widest point of the lower leg) will shorten and thicken your legs. Opt for full length to the ankle or just under the knee for the most flattering look.
2. Not too tight- as I was walking home from starting this post at a nearby caf√©, I saw a women wearing her leggings way too tight (but credit to her for wearing them whilst exercising- she was a Fitness First instructor) Demerit points however were given because her leggings were SO tight that the fabric was stretched to within an inch of its life exposing visible knickers! She may as well have been wearing her undies on the outside. Not a good look.
3. Seam free or laser cut knickers will help to avoid the dreaded VPL (visible panty line) Choose knickers with a soft edge or even a laced edge that don’t dig in causing the ‘double bum’ look. My tip is the ‘Light as Air’ undies from Lulu Lemon- they’re brilliant.
4. Strategically placed seams- most proper sporting tights have some sort of seam detail with a contrasting panel. Mostly functional (i.e. they offer ventilation) if placed correctly, they can also be very slimming to the thighs.
5. As soon as you’ve finished exercising, leggings off.
I’ll revisit workout style next time and promise not to go off task.
Lorna Jane full length tights