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After almost a full year of social distancing, closets and fashion trends have changed in big ways. Mainly, loungewear is the new standard and leggings are go-to pants — you know, if you’re wearing any pants at all.
With leggings becoming such a closet staple, it seems every brand is creating countless styles to lure in customers. Needless to say, trying to find the best of the best leggings can be an overwhelming — and expensive — endeavor.
In The Know’s shopping editors try countless brands day-in and day-out, curating our personal topic picks across a wide variety of categories — and that includes discovering our go-to leggings.
The perfect pair of leggings passes the infamous squat test with flying colors. Top leggings also have a killer fabric with just the right amount of stretch and hold that won’t wear easily. And pilling? Forget about it.
Check out these six shopping editors’ picks for the best leggings that will dominate your lounging wardrobe.
Shop: J.Crew High-Rise 7/8 Signature Flex Leggings, $49.99 (Orig. $69.50)
“Before the pandemic, I never wore leggings. Now, they’re pretty much the only pants I wear. I first bought these J. Crew leggings in March 2020 and have since purchased six more pairs. Yes, they are so good that I need a pair for every day of the week. Unlike “workout” leggings that are super tight in the stomach area and throughout the legs, these leggings gently hug your body. The fabric is soft and stretchy but holds its shape. Best of all, these leggings don’t dig at the waist. As much as I miss what used to be ‘normal life,’ I will be incredibly sad when I can’t wear these leggings every day anymore.” — Jeanine Edwards, Commerce Director
Shop: Aerie Offline Goals High-Waisted Pocket Legging, $32.97 (Orig. $54.95)
“While I probably have about 30 pairs of black leggings in my dresser drawer, I’ve found myself continually wearing Aerie’s Offline Goals High-Waisted Pocket Leggings. My favorite thing about this pair is obviously the pockets. How did we ever live in leggings without pockets?! But I especially love the material — it’s super soft but also holds in all of the right places. While I thought I would hate the see-through mesh design, I actually think it adds to the otherwise basic pair of leggings. [It’s a] 10/10 in my book.” — Madison Alcedo, Senior Commerce Editor
Shop: Athleta Rainier Tights, $79.99 (Orig. $98)
“My favorite leggings are Athleta’s Rainier Tights. They’re great for my morning runs around the park, but are also comfy enough to lounge in. They’re soft and simple enough you can wear them with anything. They also have a drawstring for a better fit and a hidden back pocket that hits on your lower back for stashing your keys, wallet or phone.” — Ellie Conley, Commerce Editor
“I first tried these leggings after they went viral as “Lululemon legging dupes” on social media. I bought them without much expectation, fully unconvinced that a no-name brand from Amazon could beat anything in my leggings drawer. Boy, was I wrong! These leggings have the perfect amount of stretch and hold, making me feel like super confident and cute. Plus, my butt looks stellar and really that’s the most important thing. Oh, and pockets. Just pockets.” — Katie Dupere, Commerce Editor
“Back in 2016, an emerging brand called Girlfriend Collective decided to lure potential new customers by giving away free leggings (minus shipping costs). Only a fool would say no to free leggings, so I paid the $20 shipping and waited for my new leggings. I didn’t really have any expectations for the leggings. How could I when, at the time, the brand hadn’t even officially launched yet? When my leggings finally did come, though, I understood why founders Quang and Ellie Dinh were so confident in their product.
“The black leggings I received in the mail were sturdy, but not overly thick; form-fitting, but not overly tight; and casual, but not too casual. After doing some research, I learned that the leggings were made of recycled water bottles. In the four years since I received my first pair of Girlfriend Collective leggings, I’ve bought three more pairs. I still have that very first pair, the one that I paid $20 for, and it’s still in great condition.” — Morgan Greenwald, Trending Editor
Shop: Leggings Depot High-Waisted Leggings, $12.99
“Let me start by saying that I absolutely do not care what I look like from the waist down right now. I don’t care if my butt is lifted or my tummy is under control or whatever — comfort is everything. This pair feels like a dupe for the ultra-comfy leggings from that infamous multilevel marketing company that coined the term ‘buttery soft’ for its items. These certainly make me feel like a warm bread roll. Amazon says I have bought them 12 times over the past three years — and I’ll do the same for the next three.” — Kelsey Weekman, Trending Editor
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