1 Noli Yoga galaxy print leggings | $70 at Noli Yoga – seen on me here (made with partially recycled polyester)
2 LVR organic cotton crystal wash leggings | $60 at Rodale’s
3 NUX tulip leggings | $72 at Nux (made in the US)*
4 Karma Golda leggings | $92 at Nordstrom
5 Emerson Fry party pants | $98 for set of 2
6 Icebreaker Merino wool leggings | $129 at Rodale’s
7 The Upside leggings | $95 at Net-a-Porter
(honorable mention, but not shown: Lina Rennell for Prarie Underground printed leggings)
Did you know that while I eschew print and color on my everyday, public wardrobe, I can get a little crazy when it comes to what I wear to Pure Barre. Not all the time, but every once in a while I throw a pair of “crazy pants” in my rotation because they make me smile. My latest acquisition is the Noli galaxy print pair I featured above. I’ve only worn them to class so far, but I wouldn’t be opposed to layering them with a gray oversized sweatshirt and sneakers for a casual day doing whatever. They’re opaque, and comfortable enough to wear all day; cute too. They are definitely attention-getting though, so be ready for questions 🙂
So after I posted about those, Jenne asked for a post with more cool printed leggings. Your wish is my command.
I have found that most of the cute/cool print leggings are, indeed, workout wear, but they don’t have to be exclusively for exercising. I like wearing exercise gear in “normal” life anyway, because it’s usually meant to hold up to washing and wearing better, and quite durable. Depending, of course. For me, also, “printed” means mesh, and moto-and/or coated-leggings, so I featured some of those here.
I’m a HUGE fan of mesh on leggings and now I have two pairs of leggings with mesh, my Lululemon high times mesh tights (current version), seen on me on Instagram, and SoLow mesh insert ankle leggings (seen on me here). My Lululemon leggings are a little over a year old now and they’re holding up nicely. I wear them at least once a week, and the mesh is still in tact. They ARE showing wear around the seams though, from our mat/floor work. I’m DYING over that Karma mesh inset pair I featured above, they are insane!! I have a pair of two-year old Karma tights that I wear and love once a week (seen here), so I know these would be a good investment.
I just want to make a note about materials – generally leggings made mostly from polyester, like the Noli ones I featured, and the Nux ones above, are quite “slippery” and can be thin. My Nux printed capris are thin, but still opaque, and my Noli leggings are heavier-weight. I prefer leggings like Lululemon’s luon material, or SoLow’s nylon/spandex jersey fabrication because it “holds on” to my workout camis better, and it’s softer and more compressive. I wear all types though, but just keep in mind the difference. Generally if something is meant for, or particularly good for hot yoga, it will be extremely sweat-wicking, and therefore more “shiny” and “slippery.”
I also tend to shy away from mostly cotton, wool, or cashmere leggings (but man!! I want a pair of cashmere leggings!!) because I know they’ll stretch out A LOT. My favorite James Perse leggings are 93% cotton and 7% elastane and they are perfection; they don’t stretch out and fit just like I want my casual leggings to fit. But I did find a cool printed pair of wool Icebreaker leggings (you can trace the wool back to the SHEEP!!) at Rodale’s, and an organic cotton pair that I’m interested in trying.
And of course, here are quite a few more cool printed leggings I found:
Besides Nordstrom, Shopbop, etc., etc., who all have great activewear categories now, here are a few more places I like to browse for cute leggings:
Anymore suggestions? Do you wear printed leggings in the fall/winter? What are your favorites?
I have some icebreaker merino base layers – I travel with them to cold destinations so I can wear them under pants if I need to, or for lounging around the room/apartment – fantastic!
I also found some Saks cashmere “lounge pants” years ago at a thrift store. Perfect condition (odd color) so for $5, yes indeed I bought them. The elastic waist is gone but I still wear them around the house when it’s really cold.
I love funky leggings and tights but one thing I’ve seen lately from several high-end companies (specifically Noli and Teeki) that really bothers me is the cultural appropriation of Native American symbols. Dream catchers, medicine wheels, feathers, etc. I really dislike it when companies “borrow” images, decontextualize them, and then sell them to predominantly white market, presumably to evoke a “bohemian” vibe. It’s unbelievably disrespectful and something I feel we ought to be holding companies accountable for, because it often goes unnoticed.
The ones you’ve featured here are super-cute though!
While I love all the cool leggings that are available, I’m still a black capri gal. I just can’t see prints on my thighs .. maybe one day.
Agreed on the cultural appropriation.
I’d love to try some wild leggings for exercise. These are great suggestions. I buy Icebreaker for almost all my workout gear, and I always look up my sheep through their online portal! I have some fairly thin wool pieces that I can wear outside in the summer, but I imagine that even the breathability of wool would be too much in the Texan heat.
I never regret buying my James Perse cashmere leggings. They don’t have any lycra, so get too droopy and saggy to wear out, but they make winter evenings at home so happy! I also have Inhabit cashmere pants/leggings. I’m equally happy with them. As someone prone to buyer’s remorse, especially when stuff doesn’t fit perfectly, this is a rare moment of purchase appreciation on my part. 🙂
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Grechen Reiter says
agree. although i will readily admit that i’ve not thought very much about that issue.
of course i don’t “go” for that sort of vibe much anyway, but still…
Grechen Reiter says
i can’t imagine wearing wool (even thin) in the summer. ugh.
i STILL want cashmere pants. i know i would wear them ALL THE TIME when it’s cold – i get really cold at home too – but i also know that they would pretty much have to be only at home wear. i don’t know why i have such a problem with spending $$ on stuff to wear at home, when really, that’s when i spend most of my time. i actually DON’T have a problem with it, because i do spend $$ on “lounge” wear that i wear mostly at home, but cashmere pants just seem AWFULLY excessive LOL – amazing, but excessive. even for me. soon i’ll get over that though, i’m sure 😉 every year i say it’s the year for cashmere pants…
Oh no, I just noticed that James Perse has a new pair of cashmere sweatpants this year. And shopbop as a version as well! Best way ever to spend credits! They are both about twice as much as I would want to pay for a pair of fancy pants…but I’d trade two or three of my sale jackets and shirts just for another pair of those. Just sayin’. 🙂
Grechen Reiter says
lol. uh, yeah, those are in my hearts section. i’m waiting for their friends & family (think it’ll be next week – i have no evidence of that but…) and have been stockpiling credits. i’m just not sure i want to spend them on those. i do, but when i think of other things i can have instead…
just in case though, what do you think of the sizing? should i get my “normal” jp size? are you ever able to wear them out? do they hold up okay? like no holes or anything yet? how do you wash them?
I really really want to love Icebreaker but I’m starting to think we’re not meant to be. Maybe it’s my closet… I had a dress that I really loved (so much that I had it in two colors). But after a year or so they developed holes in them. I have a t-shirt that has the same problem but I only wear it for working out so it’s not that big of a deal (except these clothes aren’t inexpensive). I’ve had had two pairs of undies and a cami that I think the lycra started to break down and they developed this weird, red patina that didn’t look right.
That said I have two sports bras from them that have held up very well.
Any other sources of lightweight wool clothing?
I feel shy about giving recommendations because you are the one I go to for advice.
If it were me, I’d go to the online chat on the JP site, and ask them if this year’s version of the cashmere pant fits large like they did last year — because I notice that this year’s is 100% cashmere again…no lycra, etc. Last year’s listing stated that they recommended sizing down. Based on that, I ordered a size 1. I would normally order a 2 in pants but am really in-between 1-2 in JP. They stretched out more than any pants I own, and I think I could have ordered down another size. HOWEVER, they were more of a waffle pattern last year, and anything with a rib stretches more than a plain weave.
I think you’d be fine wearing them out in the same kind of scenarios that you’d wear sweatpants. (Though definitely not for exercise). They fit into my life like the comfort food of clothing, so I just don’t think of wearing them during the day, preferring to save them for cosy evenings at home. This year’s version has a waist tie, which is smart as I have to pull mine up. If I get another pair, I’d still stick with the darkest color because I think it makes any of the oddities of fit less noticeable.
I have had absolutely no problem with wear. I don’t mind removing balls from cashmere, but have had no problems yet with the pants. The material is thicker than it is on the sweaters, so that contributes to the durability. I generally wash my cashmere by hand using The Laundress cashmere soap. Because both my Inhabit and my James Perse pants are a bit big, I threw them right in the washing machine on delicate (confession!), and stretched them out to shape them before hanging them dry. Neither of them felted. Worked beautifully.
Did you notice how much shorter the pants look on the shopbop model than on the JP model? The inseam is the same, so I think they are the same pants. If I Marie Kondoed my way through my closet again, my cashmere pants would be sparking a lot more joy than most of the pants I own. Too bad they aren’t the kind of things family think of giving as gifts…they are the perfect combination of “something I wouldn’t buy for myself but don’t want to live without.”
thanks for doing this post Grechen! some excellent choices, now just have to decide which to buy!
Sigh, back when I lived in the northeast I could wear wool pretty much year round. But now that I’m in the extreme-heat southwest, even the softest, finest, lightest Icebreaker and Ibex gives me a prickle. No wool above 90 degrees I guess is my unwritten rule.