How many pairs of leggings have you bought that end up at the back of your drawer or worse yet in the ‘Give Away’ box? What makes a great pair of leggings is more complicated than you’d think. I’m dividing this subject into three posts as there is a lot of information you will learn and need to know if you want to have legging products that you’ll cherish for years………and years! Truthfully, we have many customers who’ve been wearing our Winter Woolies leggings since we first launched them back in 2008! Now that’s longevity in fashion and performance leggings!
Okay, Let’s talk FABRIC
Fabric is important…. that’s what you see and what you feel and how you’ll look. Whether solid coloured or printed you can choose fabrics that are shiny or matte. Matte means they have a flat non reflective appearance and the fabric could be ‘sueded’ or brushed to give it a nice “hand” …that’s what you feel when you run your hands over it. Check the feel of the fabric both inside and out. Look for softness, silkiness and a smooth finish, not scratchy or prickly.
Natural or synthetic or a blend? Natural fabrics like bamboo and cotton or even linen have made their way quite successfully into the active wear market. These are very suitable for athleisure garments and casual wear. There has to be a significant spandex count in performance wear fabrics of at least 9% or you won’t get the ‘hug’ and compression that you want to feel for workouts. Also, something you won’t be able to determine other than by feel is the ounce weight of the fabric. A good blend of cotton 90% and Lycra Spandex 10% at a 12 oz weight would be a fabulous, moderate to high compression fabric for leggings. The same fiber content at a 6 oz weight would be loose and baggy and lightweight.
Performance fabrics today have come a long way. Synthetic fibers, once frowned upon by people trending towards natural fibers, can now emulate every quality and even outshine naturally based performance fabrics. In either case, natural fibers OR synthetic blends, you’ll want to look for fabrics that have ‘retention’, ie the hugginess or the compression. You want to check recovery qualities…ie when you stretch out your leggings from workouts or exercise, the fabric returns to normal and doesn’t bag out a lot. Poke it with your finger, the indentation should return to resting state within a few seconds. That’s recovery. You’ll want fabrics, natural or synthetic blends, that can breathe, have air pockets and can wick away moisture to the outer surface and ideally an antibacterial quality as well (Power Core) Our solid leggings are colorfast, Chlorine and salt water resistant and have UV Protection.
Consider sustainability. Bamboo, cotton, flax, and wool blends are worth considering. As well performance fabrics today are made from recycled water bottles (like our Bali Solid Leggings) and fabrics with polymeres can all now be recycled and made over and over again into new recyclable products. Way cool?
Recycle or donate your worn out leggings, cut them into shorts to wear under dresses and skirts, make headbands from them. Make those leggings work for you girl!
Join me next week for more learning about Leggings and “Construction”.
Artistic Director, Designer