Fashion Tips & Reader Questions

In Which I Answer My Own Question About Leggings

Me, 2 years ago, in The Leggings That Died

I’m doing a much better job of getting dressed these days. Meaning: I actually do it! Regularly! First thing in the morning! It’s not because I *want* to, exactly; it’s because the kids’ new school is…well, have you seen Big Little Lies? It’s like that.

As an example: On our third day, I had a woman come up to me and ask me whether I owned a pair of oversize round Tom Ford sunglasses.


Oh, she said, one of your lenses is flipped upside-down. You can tell by the gradient.

Then her husband came up: Oh! Is that the Tom Ford flipped-gradient lady?!

They accurately identified my sunglasses. Noticed the gradient was off. And had AN ENTIRE CONVERSATION ABOUT IT.

Now granted, this couple’s business is sunglasses – I asked – and they were hilarious and lovely, and I absolutely did stop into their shop for a gradient adjustment and to set up a playdate, but STILL. I’m getting the sense that my go-to drop-off outfit of “whatever I wore to sleep the previous night” might need a tiny bit of an upgrade. Also, you know, it’s not like my kids are babies anymore; they (theoretically) brush their own teeth and get themselves dressed, which means I’m fully capable of returning to the land of looking like an actual human being.

That said, every cell in my body objects to putting on any clothing that isn’t supremely comfortable, especially first thing in the morning. I own a lot of rather excellent sweaters and sweatshirts, which is a good start – but it’s the bottom half of me that’s the problem. I’m really picky about my pants – even jeans aren’t a thing I typically like to wear for lounging around, because I find even the stretchiest ones constricting.

My absolute favorite pants are a pair of leggings that – I kid you not – date back to middle school (the ones pictured in the photo at top). They’re so thin that they’re legitimately see-through, but I can’t bring myself to throw them out. I also don’t wear them out of the house (or at least not *anymore*; definitely pushed that envelope further than I should have). My second-favorite pair of pants? My friend Alisa’s oldest and most dilapidated pair of leggings, which she gave to me because she herself refused to wear them anymore, and they were (marginally) less horrifying than my own oldest pair.

Which is all to say that I started writing this post as a crowdsource, planning to ask you guys to tell me where to find amazing leggings up to my highly precise specifications. And then I realized that’s kind of…my job. To give you suggestions.

So I did my research – this Who What Wear article and this Glamour one were particularly helpful – over the weekend I popped over to the epicenter of athleisure – Malibu Country Mart – with the following criteria in mind:

  • My leggings must be soft. Like, so soft. Buttery, even.
  • They must be matte. I do not need or want my legs to shine.
  • They must be acceptable to wear as pants – i.e. not see-through – but only just. Thick fabrics need not apply.
  • They must be ankle or 3/4 length.
  • They don’t need to be low-riding, but they must have a wholly non-constricting waist.

In other words, I want to feel like I’m not wearing pants, while actually wearing pants.


best leggings review


I actually saw these pants on another mom at my kids’ school the other day and almost ran her down to ask her who made them, because her butt looked that phenomenal – and then I went into lululemon and bam: There they were. Expensive, yes, and also completely worth it when you factor in the price-per-wear ratio. Worth noting that they aren’t super supportive and don’t tuck you in as much as other pairs I tried on, but I prefer my leggings as lightweight as possible. If you want an almost-identical look with slightly more support, try these.

I am mildly distressed that I am now a suburban mother who wears lululemon leggings, because really: could I be any more basic? But there you have it.

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