My quest for the best black leggings was an unexpected one. I've never been one for the stretchy pants, but upon seeing how much everyone else depends on and obsesses over them—not to mention the fact that stylish girls are now using this outfit combination IRL—I thought it time to investigate. As a woman who wouldn't be caught dead in a pair outside the house (even the sad-looking ones inside my house should be arrested for crimes against fashion), I found this quest was about finding not only the best black leggings but also the versions that are good enough to convert a self-confessed leggings hater. What I was looking for? Leggings that lift and skim and do wonderful things to my otherwise not-so-wonderful legs…
It's all well and good being Kendall Jenner, flinging on any pair of flimsy black leggings and having automatically cracking pins, but when you're not made of supermodel stuff, which stretchy super-pants really do the trick? I tried on loads—some incredible, some shockingly unflattering, and some really expensive (heading well into the £300 arena), but I avoided the really cheap versions as a rule. There's no denying you need some fabric tech and a certain level of quality to wear leggings in public feeling confident that they won't go sheer when you bend over or fall apart in the wash after one cycle. So, after my extensive trials, I can confirm that the following black leggings are the best in the business—and each pair excels in a different way, meaning you can locate the style (or styles) that fulfill your deepest black-legging desires. Read my reviews and shop the winning leggings below.
These are somewhere between treggings and leggings, and that slightly more structured fit makes them 100 times more appropriate for a work environment. The ankle-grazing length hits just at the right point to show off a posh pair of pumps. These have phenomenal sales records, and I can really see why.
These use a state-of-the-art, breathable fabric that genuinely clears up any cellulite patches, lifting and sculpting your derrière as they go. They do have a more synthetic feel and logo placement that you'd associate with your gym kit, so I'd say these are the perfect Saturday workout-to-brunch solution.
Don't be scared. Spanx have three levels of compression, and this pair of leggings sits in the middle, claiming to "shape" and "hug" rather than, erm, cut off your circulation. The slightly forward side-seam placement helps slims thighs, and they also have a clever tummy-flattening panel, which could be considered very beneficial on a bloated day!
I found that the common thread throughout the chosen black leggings in this story is that they all share hidden, thick elastic waistbands. Winser London is no exception. These have a slight sheen to them, which made me more inclined to wear them after dark. I'd recommend you size down by one or two to avoid a saggy back-of-the-knee and under-bottom. So instead of my usual 12, I'd (happily) opt for an 8.
H&M's basic black leggings are favoured by fashion insider like Natasha Ndlovu of Natasha Bisous, but they're also a bit of a secret source for quality cut-price treggings. Also, it's excellent that they tend to go up to a size 18 or 20 in most iterations.
Joseph's top-notch leather goods have a solid reputation in the industry, and it's their slimming, pull-on, elasticated-waist classics that have fashion girls investing in a pair for life. They're pricey, yes, but if you're a leather-trouser girl through and through, it's a cost-per-wear calculation you should make.
Yes, those are stirrups. These leggings are actually the first pair that properly changed my mind. The flatting seam-work, darted waistline and of-the-moment silhouette could lure in the more dressed-up girls out there.
Heads up: We're waiting to hear whether these will come back online, but they are currently stocked in all Kit & Ace stores.
Scroll through to shop more of our favourite black legging styles:
Another option for fashion fans looking for a smart (and stylish) legging option.
We know, we know, these are more than we'd usually spend on something so casual, but these luxurious leggings from The Row promise a super-sculpting, second-skin fit.
To ensure a great fit on the waist, look for styles with an elasticated band.
Looking for something slightly cropped? Try Wolford for the chicest (and cosiest) ankle-grazing option.
Perfect for your workout or for wearing with chunky knits, these leggings feature compressive technology for added support.
Opening Image: Collage Vintage
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.