Black leggings have been elevated to a closet staple over the past decade. In my years as an editor, I have tested hundreds of different leggings, in a variety of settings from Pilates to training with Hollywood stuntmen to lounging on my couch and irresponsibly texting exes. And I have found that Sweaty Betty Power 7/8 Workout Leggings ($100) are the best black leggings. Full stop. They are the Chris-Pine-buying-books of leggings. The sartorial equivalent of the Lady Gaga “HAAAA AH AH AHHHH” moment when she sings Shallow. They are perfection.
One of the most important qualities in any legging is that they are not see-through. They could be the softest, comfiest leggings ever, but if they are sheer, then that’s a no from me. These leggings pass the squat test—my butt crack does not show through when I bend over or squat down. (Yes, butt crack and not underwear, because wearing underwear with leggings makes zero sense to me.) The fabric itself is soft and lightweight, and it manages to be very stretchy while retaining its shape.
Shop now: Sweaty Betty Power 7/8 Workout Leggings, $100
These leggings are also incredibly comfortable. When you slip into them they conform to your body like they’re giving you a hug (for those of you who remember what hugs feel like). You know the feeling when you leave a hot yoga class, when the first blast of cool air hits you. It’s refreshing for a second until the chill on your legs makes you acutely aware of how soggy and damp your leggings are. Well, these leggings don’t get that feeling, and I am a person who sweats a lot. Another leg up they have on the competition: They don’t get covered in lint and/or dog hair 30 seconds after I put them on. Leggings that attract dog hair make me sad.
The fit is where they really shine. The rise features a wide band that doesn’t dig in or roll down, regardless of the activity that I’m doing, and it hits right above my belly button. I’m 5’3″ and these are the perfect length, hitting right above my ankle. If you’re taller, the brand also makes a full length as well. There’s also some strategically placed seaming and “bum-sculpting technology,” which sounds like it’s just marketing speech but isn’t—out of every pair of leggings I have, my booty looks the best in these ones. They’re the leggings you’d wear when you knew you were going to run into your crush, even if it meant you had to scrounge up some quarters and do an extra load of laundry to get them clean. It is not hyperbole to say that the way my butt looks in these leggings was instrumental in seducing a hot Australian man last year when I was in Brisbane. With great power comes great responsibility.
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