My leggings make me look like The Saggy Baggy Elephant
December 6, 2011 5:50 PM   Subscribe

I love wearing the boots/skirts/leggings or tights combo in the wintertime. I also am all over the place for work - sitting down, standing up, kneeling, crouching, you name it - and I'm incredibly hard on my clothes. Can you recommend a brand of leggings or tights or similar garments that will stand up to lots of abuse and not bag at the knees after 20 min?

The above pretty much covers it. I wear leggings or tights and boots at least 3 days out of 5 in the winter, but the tights and leggings I have are getting runs and/or baggy at the knee earlier than I would like. I'm willing to shell out a decent amount for these items provided they last me more than one (6 month long) central NY winter.

Yes, I hand-wash the ones I have and am careful about pulling them on. But I'm a children's librarian and end up kneeling or crouching down at least once a day - most days I'm up and down and all over the place. I've yet to find tights than can hold up to this abuse or leggings that don't look like crap after several washes/wears.

Color/fabric requirements: I don't really care much about fabric (thick is better than thin), and if I can only find these miraculous garments in plain black so be it (but other fun colors would be a plus). Durability is by far the most important issue.

So - do such leggings or tights exist? Or am I doomed to dress in khakis and cardigans forever?
posted by Knicke to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
if you're making a trip to nyc any time soon or know someone who is, get a bunch of leggings at uniqlo! they're cheap, awesome, and last a long time.

do you wash your tights & leggings after every use? use hot water? hang them up to dry?
posted by lia at 5:54 PM on December 6, 2011

For just straight up (non knit/sweater) tights in a huge variety of colors, go to Target. They have them for five bucks (five bucks!) a pair, they're very opaque (which my pasty and constantly bruised legs appreciate), they hold up surprisingly well for being so cheap, and for five bucks (FIVE BUCKS!) a pair, you can replace them pretty frequently if needed.

I have much more expensive tights that I've not been nearly as happy with.
posted by phunniemee at 6:04 PM on December 6, 2011

I can also vouch for target tights. I actually wear the $12 Merona tights (I think they're called "premium" or somesuch) which are thicker than the others target sells. They're warm and durable.
posted by samthemander at 6:08 PM on December 6, 2011

Try Danskin leggings. I have a pair that I've had for years - and they are still as black, smooth, and unpilly as they were when they were new. Just checked their site - at $36, you could pay less, but that isn't so bad if they last for more than one winter.
posted by pinky at 6:09 PM on December 6, 2011 [5 favorites]

This winter I've been wearing running compression pants, like this or this, as leggings. They're very thick, opaque, warm, and haven't stretched out, bagged, or pilled at all yet.
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:20 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would suggest any type of legging/tight made for dance. My favorites were always Capezio or Bloch. Dance tights are designed to not sag or snag easily. Be careful not to get a shimmery pair, though.
posted by tryniti at 6:25 PM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

I remember reading someplace that Vera Wang's favorite leggings are Danskin Supplex Ankle Legging. Reportedly they do not pill or fade or bag in the knees. I tried to Google and find the original magazine article but only came up with blogs discussing the article.
posted by Fairchild at 6:36 PM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

I don't know, but the people at sockdreams will.
posted by chaiminda at 6:42 PM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

I wear skirts all winter long and my favorite tights are the combed cotton ones from Foot Traffic They are warm and comfortable and don't slide down or bag at the knees at all. I also work in a job where I am very active and I need tights that are durable and functional, and these are the ones! They last a long time if you wash them in cold cold water, hang them up to dry, and remember to keep your toenails trimmed to avoid holes in the toes.
posted by ezrainch at 7:06 PM on December 6, 2011

I also have a fit suggestion to add. I fall squarely into the smallest size on the charts of most tights manufacturers. They always sagged at the crotch and bagged at the knees and I was a sad panda.

But then I read advice somewhere (maybe on metafilter? not sure) that blew my little mind.

Buy the next size up.

No more bagging. No more sagging. I am a happy camper.
posted by bilabial at 7:09 PM on December 6, 2011

I love Hue tights. They last forever, and they're always available at discount stores like TJMaxx for $6-7/pair.
posted by bryghtrose at 7:13 PM on December 6, 2011

I have heard good things about We Love Colors from a family member.
posted by annsunny at 8:23 PM on December 6, 2011

I've had good luck with the ones from Express. They are a bit thicker and are made well. They eventually got holes in the feet but no runs or snags. Bonus: They come in lots of fun patterns and colors!
posted by DoubleLune at 8:31 PM on December 6, 2011

Nthing recommendation for dance wear, I still wear tights from high school as layers, and they fit substantially better than anything normal I've gotten. (Unfortunately, I only have them in that particular shade of pink, which limits their wearing, but still!) Make sure you're getting the right fit and seams for what you want; I have the kind with a single foot hole on the bottom instead of a toe-seam, which comes in handy even during real life for blister-fixing and other feet issues. The stretchiest ones are fine enough to wear under pants or even under another pair of leggings, although I do start to sort of look like a snowman at that point. A warm, cheerful snowman.

I also have three pairs of winter running tights in a variety of fabrics and pretend they're real pants all the time. Usually these are better with boots because they have zippers/reflective tape on the first eight inches of the leg, depending on the brand and make.

Also, check out the nearest DSW/Filene's/TJ Maxx-- often they will have great deals on colored wool tights in fancy patterns from better brands. I have several pairs of heavy cotton tights that have held up very well, even with the abuse of a four-mile commute/library work.

(Has anyone tried the fleece-lined black tights? They were a huge thing on Jezebel or something last year and I couldn't afford the fancy version, but apparently Target did/does make a cheaper version. Fleece-lined tights! If you can find these, they sound like a great option for you.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:39 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been wearing a pair of fleece-lined tights a lot so far this winter, and they're surprisingly durable. Even thought they're tights, they're thick enough that they feel like leggings. Mine are mostly polyester, and thus, seem to keep their shape in ways my nylon/cotton/wool tights do not. I got mine at the local TJ Maxx for about $7.
posted by heurtebise at 10:11 PM on December 6, 2011

Adding to Knicke's requirements of thick, black, and durable... can anyone recommend tights with a super low-rise/hipster waist and no/minimal seams?

My jeans are skin tight and ride low, I've got no wiggle room here. Fashion monster strikes again!
posted by fritillary at 3:28 AM on December 7, 2011

Another vote for Hue for tights (and leggings). they come in more colors than black, no bagging, and they are CRAZY durable. I even run mine through the washing machine (*gasp*).
posted by somanyamys at 5:40 AM on December 7, 2011

For extra warmth I've been wearing American apparel thigh high socks over my sweater tights. The knit on knit combination helps them to stay up, they don't bag at the knees, and the socks come in lots of fun colors. The downside is the foot part of the socks is a little thicker than tights alone, so you'd need some looser fitting boots. Also they do need to be tugged back up maybe once a day. It's a super warm combo!
posted by travertina at 5:43 AM on December 7, 2011

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