What I Look For in Quality, Ethical Leggings
The Best Ethically Made Leggings
Plus, What Makes for The Perfect Fit? Hint: 🍑
There was a point in my life where the thought of wearing leggings in public made me shudder. But that was before I discovered high-performance athleticwear. Now I wear leggings several times a week, even *gasp* when I’m not heading to the gym. I slip them on and go without a second thought to go for a coffee run or to the grocery store. And I can do it confidently now because I know what to look for.
Having said that, there is a lengthy process I go through before I even consider buying a new pair of leggings. By sticking to these three strict pieces of criteria, I know my body will be looking its best and that I’m spending my money with companies I actually want to support. And hopefully, you will also hold your leggings to the same standards too!
The Fit Is Everything
I’m just going to put this out there: When it comes to leggings, for me, it’s all about the booty. If that comes off as selfish, I don’t care. 💁♀️ When searching for the right pair of leggings, my aim is keeping my assets locked and loaded.
A high-quality pair of leggings should give good lift and create a flattering shape. And honestly, if a pair of leggings doesn’t make your derriere look bangin’, then why would you even buy them? The perfect pair of leggings should be well fitted and hug your curves just right. If they don’t make you feel like Beyonce, don’t buy them. You should feel confident but never exposed. Which brings me to my second piece of criteria…
Look for Quality Fabric That Shapes and Conceals
If the fabric is made from t-shirt material, back away slowly. And then continue backing out until you leave the store. Do not ever buy leggings that are made of thin, cheap material. It doesn’t matter if they cost $2. Thin material will be rendered pretty much see-through in direct sunlight. Trust me, it’s happened to me. And it’s super embarrassing. So unless you’re an exhibitionist, don’t go there. (Here’s a tip: If in doubt, hold it up to the light. Can you see through it?)
Material that is lightweight but dense is usually safe. Most athletic wear companies utilize NASA-worthy breathable materials that won’t ever showcase what lies beneath the fabric. If you don’t want to take any chances, look for thicker fabrics with less stretch. Regardless of the thickness of the fabric, high-quality leggings won’t give out over time. Which means less washing, less baggy knees, and assurance that your bum will always looks lifted.
Money Well Spent
Lastly, I look at the company’s policy on ethics and sustainability. Because quality leggings are something that I know will last me a long time, they are also something I’m willing to spend more money on. Remember: Every dollar you spend is a vote for the type of world you want. So with my big purchases, I want my dollars diverting to the right companies. I want reassurance that I’m backing a manufacturer that doesn’t exploit its people, that measures its carbon footprint or helps build up local communities.
The Best Legging Brands in North America
The legging brands in the following list meet all the above-mentioned criteria. So don’t worry sister, I’ve got your ass covered. 🍑
Sh-bamm! That is basically the sound effect your legs and booty make when you slip into these leggings.
As if thoughtfully using recycled water bottles in their fabric wasn’t enough! Their body positive and inclusive marketing images are beautifully swoon-worthy. Girlfriend Collective is your new best friend.
I’ve had my Girlfriend leggings since University, and they have yet to stretch out, fade or warp. If you need sturdy, warm leggings, these are truly, hands down, the best.
// Tonic Active
Based out of beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Tonic Active not only designs in Canada but they manufacture here as well. Their collections are made with a variety of responsibly made fabrics that provide amazing shaping and sweat wicking properties. (AKA: you look fabulous and not sweaty.)
I have a few pieces from Tonic Active and they have held up phenomenally over the years. I love these leggings for working out, as they are really breathable and have a lot of stretch in the right places.
// Altar Ego
If you are looking for a unique pair of leggings, look no further than Altar Ego. Prints range from paintings to serene landscapes, so there is a gorgeous pair of sleek leggings to suit anyone’s taste. For myself, it was love at first sight when I spotted their marble print leggings! (Available in black or white at the time of me writing this post. Grab yours for 15% off with the code thepurist.) Altar Ego is a female-run athleticwear line that strives to make a difference. Manufacturing is done in downtown Boston and their raw fabric is sourced from Italy.
I love how these leggings look and feel on my legs. PS: Being only 5’2″ means leggings are typically too long for me. However, I don’t have that issue with Alter Ego leggings. Nice!
Lululemon is the O.G. legging line. They basically made leggings cool, so it would be wrong to not include them on this list. After all these years, they still produce solid, flattering, high-performance leggings. I also really like that they include extra details like small pockets. If you are going for a jog, it’s super convenient for your keys or a credit card. (Am I the only one who treats herself with Starbucks after a successful run?)
Because Lululemon is available in most major cities, they make it easy to find the right style for your body. I tend to gravitate towards anything in their “run” line. The fabrics are lightweight and breathable, but never sheer. And because I’m a shorty, their full-length leggings are too long for me. I always go with a cropped style for a proper fit with this brand.
Zip up Jacket: Joe Fresh
Cropped Coat: Zara