A few years ago, mesh leggings were a shocking style statement: a little functional (hey, breathability!), a lot sexy.
But thanks to brands like Michi and Alala, the sweaty-chic cut-outs are practically part of the fitness fashion uniform (paired with a pair of Flyknits and a knotted tank, natch). So what’s the latest iteration for spring?
Where it was once sleek and understated—barely-see-through hits behind the knees or patches along the outside edge of your leg—mesh is making its presence known with thicker material and larger holes reminiscent of your JV basketball jersey.
“This trend has become more than just breathability—it’s become a defining statement piece.”
“Traditionally, mesh was used in activewear for ventilation and to keep you cool in areas where sweat could potentially pool, but today it’s so much more than that,” explains Lorna Jane Clarkson, the founder of the eponymous brand Lorna Jane (which has gone all-in with the trend this spring). “Intricate mesh panels have become somewhat more of a fashion statement and an essential part of the sports-luxe aesthetic that’s growing across fashion.”
It’s not the only brand upgrading its mesh detailing; from Reebok to Adidas by Stella McCartney, the thicker gauge is making its mark on tops and bottoms alike. (It’s also a look approved by street style elite—even The Sartorialist took note outside of the shows at Milan Fashion Week.)
“Over the years, the mesh trend has evolved with a more varied approach to scale and texture,” explains Diane Mohamed, the design director of Reebok’s training and studio apparel. “Through the use of larger perforations, seamless laser cuts, and jacquard executions, this trend has become more than just breathability—it’s become a defining statement piece.”
Ready to make your own statement? Scroll down to see 8 mesh pieces to add to your closet ASAP.
Splits59 Iron Capri, $128
If your spring cleaning has left you more space to fill, here are some ideas for restocking your activewear drawer: the best-selling leggings of all time, and the pairs that celebs are loving right now.