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Since rising to popularity in the 1960s, leggings have become a bona fide wardrobe essential. From sports to loungewear, casualwear to smart, their comfort-factor and dress-up/ dress-down versatility is unrivalled by any other garment, and makes them the perfect piece to reach for on busy mornings.
What’s more, their stretch-to-fit quality means not only are the best leggings universally flattering, they’re also the easiest trouser style to shop for (even online), as sizing is straightforward. While every woman should undoubtedly own at least a couple of different types of leggings, there is one brand in particular that’s well worth considering: Spanx.
Launched more than 20 years ago, Spanx has become the last word in confidence-boosting shapewear. The business was conceived after founder Sara Blakely was unable to find the right underwear to layer underneath her white trousers. Her solution in the moment was to chop the feet off a pair of control tights – not something we’d recommend. Since that prototype (of sorts), the brand’s smoothing, sculpting foundation garments have revolutionised the underwear industry. They’ve garnered a cult following too, including A-listers Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah.
But while the briefs and bodysuits make for the ultimate underpinnings (Kim Kardashian apparently wears two pairs underneath her form-fitting dresses), Spanx leggings are in a whole league of their own. Combining innovative technology with style, they are a figure-flattering outfit all by themselves.
What makes Spanx leggings so special?
“Flat gut, great butt!”, promises the brand, and on this it delivers. Made from a unique elastane mix, each style of leggings has the ability to lift, slim and support, for a streamlined look. Particularly of note is the non-slip, high-rise waistband which at once smooths the tummy area and gently cinches for a defined, feminine silhouette. Each style is also seam-free in the centre meaning no unfortunate camel toe – hurray! And while the thought of control leggings might feel a little sweaty, a clever lightweight construction means they stay breathable even on warm days.
If there is a potential downside to Spanx leggings, it would be the price. Unsurprisingly with so much technology and attention-to-detail involved, these leggings don’t come cheap. Styles start at around the £60 mark, rising to more than £100 for some looks. However, their timeless appeal and versatility means they are most certainly an investment purchase you’ll be reaching for in years to come. If you look at your cost-per-wear, they’re guaranteed to stack up.
The trick to ensuring you make a savvy investment is to pick the right pair. While it’s tempting to size down in shapewear, the aim is to sculpt not squeeze, so make sure you choose the same dress size as you normally would. This will mean your leggings are comfortable enough for all-day wear, and will avoid any muffin tops escaping over the waistband (an immediate outfit killer). When it comes to selecting from the myriad styles available, consider your lifestyle and choose an option to suit.
Which Spanx leggings styles should I try?
Spanx Ankle Grazer Jean-ish Leggings, £89, ASOS
For off-duty wear, the Jean-ish leggings fit the bill. Made from a soft-to-touch cotton blend, in chic indigo wash these have the look of skinny jeans but with all the body-boosting appeal of Spanx. Faux front pockets make for a streamlined silhouette, while function comes via usable back pockets which sit high to emphasize their bottom-perking effect. For a laid-back leggings outfit, eam with classic white trainers and a parka for weekend walks, or add a pretty blouse and heels for dinner with friends.
Spanx Stretch-Ponte Skinny Pant, £96, Net-a-Porter
Spanx for work? Absolutely! The Stretch-Ponte Skinny Pant comes in classic black and features elevating details, such as sleek pockets and leg-elongating cropped length. Wear in place of smart work trousers, teaming with a silk shirt, blazer and pumps.
Spanx Velvet Leggings, £89, Harrods
Eveningwear calls for outfits with va-va-voom, and I can think of nothing vampier (or more luxurious) than velvet. Spanx Velvet Leggings are uber soft and come in classic black, midnight blue, soft silver and rich malachite. Channel Yves Saint Lauren’s iconic Le Smoking look by teaming with a white shirt, tuxedo jacket and stilettos for the upcoming party season.
Spanx High-Rise Faux Leather Leggings, £89, Selfridges
If you’ve been tempted by leather leggings but are yet to take the plunge, the rave reviews of Spanx’s faux iterations should convince you. Hailed as ‘fabulous’, ‘amazing’ and ‘perfect’ by Amazon shoppers, they are one of the brand’s bestsellers. Go classic with the High-Rise Faux-Leather leggings (£89, selfridges.com) or add an edgy biker twist with the Quilted Leggings (£96, Harrods). For a really eye-catching look, try the Black Camo style (£96, next.co.uk). Team with a simple white T-shirt and ankle boots during the day, switching to a luxe cashmere jumper and bejewelled flats for evening.
Spanx Look At Me Now Leggings, £58, ASOS
Of course, every wardrobe needs a pair of classic black leggings and the Look At Me Now (£58, asos.com) are the perfect all-rounder. Ensure they keep their shape sculpting abilities by machine washing on a cool setting and avoiding tumble drying and ironing. Nothing destroys elastane quicker than heat!
Which Spanx leggings will you choose?