"Jade... where do you get your leggings from?" is one of my most frequent questions in class... given the amount of pairs I get through in any given week, they are one of the most important bits in my kit. Aside from a mat, your sports gear is indespensible.
And there's nothing more frustrating that buying a pair, then getting to class in them and just getting really annoyed because they do nothing but fall down or dig in.
Here's my guide to getting great leggings that look, and feel fantastic.
Guys.... I've not forgotten about you either - scroll to the end :)
What to look for when shopping
A high waistband sits roughly around the belly button with a really deep band to the top of the hips.
A standard waistband is probably about an inch deep, but personally I find these really irritating because they roll down and move when I practice.
I always go for a form of Lycra and sweat wicking leggings. I practice a lot of hot yoga and cotton leggings just don't work - they end up with sweat patches in undesirable places, get heavy and pull out of shape. Just no.
Lycra is stretchy, quick dry and comfortable, which is fantastic for all kinds of practice.
Always a funny one, I tend to pretty much always buy a size smaller than my regular size. They need to be snug so they do not budge. I'll add my sizing verdict below on my favourite brands, but I always take my regular size to try and a size smaller and I'd say if I can get the smaller size on comfortably... then I buy it.
Lets face it... we don't want anyone seeing our underwear in forward folds, downward dog or any time at all!
I always take a wide leg forward fold in the changing room and have a nosey through my legs to check how (hopefully not!) see through my leggings are... or I rope Josh into checking for me.
All the brands below I've found particularly good, but I'd always double check as they do sometimes vary style to style.
Budget: £20 or less
Confession: I am a bit of a leggings snob... I usually spend up to £50 on a pair, but recently as I've been teaching more and more - I've dropped my budget and these pass muster!
PRIMARK - £8
I found a fab pair of lycra leggings in Primark recently, and they were a bargain £8, and even had a matching bra!
The leggings are a size XS, and I got the bra in a S.
The back band on the bra is a bit oversized, but the leggings are a perfect fit - and importantly, not see through.
What I would say is Primark is very hit and miss with their leggings. I had a knitted pair and the quality was awful - they pulled and ran on the first wear, and their plain black ones are totally see through.
VERDICT: 3/5 - Watch what you buy. It's a bit pot luck, but if you find a great pair - it is a good affordable place to shop.
H&M - £12.99 & £15.99 in the sale!
My student teacher mentee Sam really rates H&M for leggings, so I recently went shopping in there to see what the fuss was all about.
I have to say, she was right - this is a total revelation.
Most pairs are less than £20, like this lovely pair on the right.
I've bought two pairs of the Yoga range of leggings - a high waist and a shape waist pair. I really rate these I think the material feels way more expensive than it actually is, isn't see through and they are super flattering.
They also have a great range of colours and patterns, so there's sure to be something for every taste!
Word of caution; the Training leggings are nowhere near as good.
The material is a lot thinner, not very forgiving and shows every bump plus your undercrackers. Avoid.
Slightly more spendy: £20 and beyond
Here's some of my other favourites over £20. Some brands you can often find on sale for £20-£35 for a £50 pair of leggings... so hence they are here not in the Budget section!
ONZIE - Around £50-£60
These are fantastic.
Fit great, high waisted, not see through and in a great range of colours and patterns. I wear a S/M in these.
These are a silky lycra material and I think these are particularly great for anything where you are going to be getting very sweaty.
They are one of my favourites in terms of patterns, given my taste for leggings that are as fancy as possible!
I try and get these from ASOS in the sale, or an online supplier like Yoga Rebel.
I aim to pay somewhere between £28-£35 in the sale, which is a lot better than nearly £60!
Lululemon - Align Yoga Pants £85-£90 RRP
Confession... the pair I have I didn't pay for. Lululemon kindly gave me these in exchange for teaching a class for them which is very lovely!
These literally do not budge at all. They are totally solid, comfortable and feel like a second skin - probably the best fitting pair of leggings I own. They are made from Lululemon's Nulu fabric which unique to them, and I have been impressed by.
They aren't very sweat wicking though (Lululemon say they are... but they really aren't as effective as some of the Lycra pairs I have) which is the only downside - meaning I don't wear them for my own practice as much as I'd like due to my preference for taking a heated class whenever I can.
The pattern I have is more muted and understated than what I would usually go for, but I still love them. I wear a size 4. The Lululemon palette is very muted, but they do sometimes have some louder prints too.
Good news for us in Bicester, is you can drop over to Bicester Village and head into the Lululemon Boutique - They are priced around £50-60 which is a huge discount off RRP.
VERDICT: 4.5/5. I've given these 4.5 because they aren't my favourite for hot yoga as they aren't particularly sweat wicking - I feel clammy in them personally. For non heated practice, sofa snuggles, gym workouts - totally 5/5.
AVOID - Don't waste your money on these
Alas, I've also come across some shockers in my time unfortunately, mainly because at the crazy price point you expect something fantastic; not something half-arsed that would pass for a Primark £8 pair....
Sweaty Betty - Reversible Yoga Leggings around £80-£90 (depending on length)
I got given a pair of these for Christmas last year and I was so chuffed.
But then I wore them... and I am so disappointed with them.
They have gone all bally on the knees from practicing. This is something you'd expect from a very cheap pair, not a near-100 quid pair. It's crap quality.
In addition, they are so blinking hot (due to the double thickness) they are uncomfortable. I can't wear this in the summer for fear of boiling to death.
Saving graces are they are not see through, and they look nice on. I wear a size S.
They're always in the bottom of my drawer for this reason. So overpriced, and such poor quality.
Honestly? Sweaty Betty - utter shambles.
Go and buy 4 pairs from H&M and grab yourself a Pret coffee and cake with your change.
The go-to with by guy yogi friends really does seem to be Lululemon!
The guys say they really like the fit of the shorts and tops, as well as the range of colours and styles - and the quality is fantastic in terms of durability and sweat wicking.
Again, head over to Bicester Village's Lululemon Boutique for some hefty discounts of RRP too!