In my ongoing quest to win a Pulitzer (2019 is my year, I can feel it!), today I bring to you the complex, potentially divisive topic of leggings. An item of clothing that once acted as a substitute for trousers, back in the mid-noughties when I – and my wardrobe – was peak Laguna Beach (but in Lincolnshire), leggings have evolved into something else altogether. Yes, I’m talking about athleisure. More specifically, leggings you can wear to the gym or on the sofa, when you want to be liberated from the tyranny of trousers. In the spirit of democracy, which we all know is alive and well, I consulted Team Pool to discover which leggings get their votes. After all, there’s only so many pairs of leggings one person can wear, and I am but one person.
Elle Turner: H&M
I like this pair from H&M; they're stretchy, comfy and do the job. By job, I mean I wear them at home, on weekends or just generally when I need to feel entirely comfortable. The only downside is that, having owned a pair for over five years, somebody at Tesco pointed out to me that the, er, bottom area had gone a little bit see-through. I have to admit – I was so comfortable, I cared less than I probably should have.
Tory Frost: Sweaty Betty
I’d heard so much fanfare about Sweaty Betty’s leggings that I’d automatically dismissed them as more hype than anything else. I then, however, bought a pair in the sale, when I urgently needed something to wear to yoga and good lord – I take it all back. I hate to be that person, but they really are a dream to wear – I’ve since worn them for pilates, a run and on Christmas Day, when I couldn’t face anything without elastane, and they were equally up to that task, too. They are more expensive than your average, run-of-the-mill leggings, but I would suggest they’re worth it, particularly if you happen to find a pair in the sale.
ZoË Beaty: Puma
I have a beloved pair of black Puma running tights, in which I do anything but. And by that I mean that I now refer to them as my “sitting-down pants”. I rarely exercise, so I can’t possibly recommend them for the gym, as I have no idea as to their performance. But what I can say is that, as a tall person, I find it difficult to find such items that fit me properly and these do. Plus, they’re so bloody comfy, you probably won’t want to remove them any time soon.
Frankie Graddon: GAPFIT
I always reccomend GAPFIT for leggings – I’m a firm believer in finding what you love, and sticking to it. I first discovered them when I was just looking for something comfy to wear on long journeys or around the house, but I’ve since taken up yoga and they’re perfect for that, too. I’m never aware of any uncomfortable waistbands or too-tight material, which is great, as I can concentrate on feeling “Zen”. They also have a little pocket above the bum, which is perfect for sticking house keys in on a run… or a fast walk to the corner shop for more wine.
Sally Newall: Asos
For me, Sweaty Betty Power Leggings are the holy grail of gym kit, because they come in a shorter leg length and ⅞ option (the latter being a perfect fit for my 28-inch “micro pins”, as I like to never call them). They genuinely do deliver on their “bum-sculpting” promise and they don’t go see-through when you bend over, which is reassuring. They are expensive, though, so I’ve found a great petite option at ASOS, too. They’re not as thick (or bum-sculpting, for that matter), but they do the job. By job, I mean that they’re comfy enough for me to wear to pilates and then around the house, too.
Mary White: Lululemon
These are my absolute favourite pair of leggings I've ever owned, and I say that as a fussy person. Perfectly high-waisted without cutting into my tummy, the fabric is seamless, stretchy and feels like I'm wearing nothing at all. They’re ideal for any type of exercise, because you don’t have to worry about them falling down, digging in or making you feel uncomfortable in any way. I have also been known to attend Sunday brunch in my “activewear”, but don’t tell anyone.
Hannah Banks-Walker: Tu
My idea of dressing down is to wear my most casual of midi dresses and just a small block heel. I’m aware I sound incredibly “extra”, but I believe in sticking to your personal style. This is why something like gym wear is honestly my idea of hell. Purely functional, it needs to serve a purpose, which is honestly the opposite of my approach to clothes. I hate exercise, I really do, but I have weirdly found solace in boxing – I think that, because I’m so preoccupied with trying to be coordinated, I’m distracted from the fact that I’m actually doing exercise. Genius. Anyway, I need leggings that will just stay put, I won’t think about and that do the job. This Adidas pair does just that, and they’re still going strong after a year or so. I’d also like to give an honourable mention to Tu's leggings, which are super comfy and – forgive me for being so boring here – wash like a dream.