The It-Girl’s Guide to Pulling Off Bold Leggings

Photo: Instagram/@sweatwithbec

Basic black leggings may be the LBD of the athleisure world, but sometimes you're in the mood to pull on a pair that turns heads—think shiny fabrics, cut-outs, and statement prints.

Not surprisingly, the fitfluencer sphere has fully embraced the bold leggings trend, with early adopters like Hannah Bronfman, Chinae Alexander, and Bec Donlan rocking bright eye-catching looks both in and out of the gym.

“We show our personality through everything that we do, [and] rocking a killer print is another way to do that,” explains Donlan. “It's so easy to fall into the trap of all-black everything, so it's nice to inject a little fun into your look and change it up.”

"It's so easy to fall into the trap of all black everything, so it's nice to inject a little fun into your look and change it up."

Donlan's current faves include pairs with mesh and paneling details, as well as vivid patterns. Another seriously buzzy style this season is "tropical, multi-colored florals," says Sarah Carlson, head of design and innovation at Athleta. "Camo is [also] becoming an easy-to-wear, almost evergreen print."

So what's the trick to pulling off the look in a way that's cool, not kitschy? “I keep the same style rules from gym to street,” says Alexander, who regularly rocks her flashiest leggings with a solid tank, jean jacket, and understated sneakers.

If you’re a LBL devotee (raises hand), try easing into the trend with a partially printed pair, suggests Carlson. "It’s subtle and ‘safe’ way to experiment with patterns and bold statements, without committing to an entire print pant," she says.

No matter which style you gravitate toward, the key is to think of your leggings as confidence-boosters, rather than a piece you need extra confidence to pull off. But don't be surprised if they do end up boosting something else: your exercise habits. “If you would’ve told me a few years ago that stylish spandex could actually help move my ass off the couch, I would’ve laughed in your face—but looking great for a workout is an insanely helpful motivator. On the days I want to work out the least, I wear my favorite outfit," Alexander says.

Ready to go bold with your leggings? Take a page from these activewear it-girls.

Photo: Instagram/@tatiboncompagni

Mixed prints: Athleta Print Mix Salutation 7/8 Tight, $89

Seen on: Tatiana Boncompagni Hoover

Photo: Instagram/@chinaealexander

Color-blocking: Adidas Ultimate Long Tights, $90

Seen on: Chinae Alexander


Animal print: Varley Biona Desert Snake Legging, $100

Seen on: Tara Margulies

Photo: Instagram/@traco4

Graphics: Nike Power Legendary Training Tights, $95

Seen on: Traci Copeland

Photo: Instagram/@alyraisman

Mesh: Reebok Cardio Legging, $85

Seen on: Aly Raisman

Photo: Instagram/@sweatwithbec

Stripes: K-Deer Legging in Jody Stripe, $98

Seen on: Bec Donlan

Photo: Instagram/@hannahbronfman

Floral: Adidas by Stella McCartney Run Sprintweb Tights, $120

Seen on: Hannah Bronfman

Photo: Instagram/@sweatsinthecity

Stars: Ultracor Ultra Highlux Knockout Print Leggings, $196

Seen on: Elizabeth and Dale of Sweats and the City

Photo: Instagram/@alyssabrieloff

Shiny: Koral Lustrous Legging, $88

Seen on: Alyssa Brie Loff

These chic designer sneakers are another way to make a statement this season—could be the perfect fashion combo for a night out at a fitness speakeasy

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