Specialty Leggings - iStock

Skinny Legs And All

Fashionista Laurel Zapke picks her top 10 leggings to take you through fall—both plain and sexy kinds.

Specialty Leggings - iStockBUY RIGHT | Blame it on Betsey. American fashion designer Betsey Johnson, known for her princess-meets-punk designs, has long loved leggings. Betsey knew what she was doing in the 1980s when she paired a cropped black cotton legging with a sheer black full chiffon knee-length skirt attached to a black cotton top with a sweetheart neckline and capped sleeves. I borrowed that dress from a friend in 1988 and wore it with all the glory and pride of a blushing bride. I still wear Betsey today—only now the Betsey pieces are not borrowed, they are mine. And anytime I want a little edge in my look, I just “Betsey” things up with a legging.

Leggings, worn by the lazy, the luxurious and the Lululemon crowd alike, work for both casual and dressier looks. Paired with shorts, an oversized asymmetrical tee, a flouncy dress or a skirt, leggings are the versatile accessory this season. The one rule that must be followed: CYA. Yes, ladies, not just in the boardroom, but on the street, too. Those leggings are meant to show your legs, not your derrière.

Today’s leggings have made huge strides in comfort (waistbands have practically disappeared) and durability has improved. Mavi and American Apparel leggings may say cold wash and low dryer, but they can handle dorm-style laundromats and still hold their colour and shape after many months or even years.

Leggings are a fashion treat that fits all budgets, and Vancouver boutiques and chain stores have wide selections. To save you some legwork, we checked out the local shops and chose 10 leggings in a range of styles and prices. So get your game on, girls, and your leggings. —Laurel Zapke

Laurel’s top 5 utilitarian leggings

A utilitarian legging is a four-season staple and your best friend when you have no idea what to wear. A neutral-coloured, comfortable choice like the American Apparel 95% cotton and 5% spandex works on most body types.

Uann, $16.95 at Halo: The “Seamless Tight” actually has an inseam; these leggings rank high for comfort. Light grey, dark grey and black. Made in China of 92% nylon/8% spandex in one size. Halo Boutique, 2693 W. Broadway, 604-568-4256

Mavi, $24 at Plum: This no-tag legging holds its colour after years of washing and ranks high for comfort. Made in Canada of 92% cotton, 8% spandex in XS-XL. www.plum.ca

Cherish, $28 at Orb: Magenta floral print legging. Made in the U.S.A of 94% cotton, 6% spandex in S and L. Orb Cothing, 2028 West 4th Ave., 604-568-6720

American Apparel, $32: Colour palette features a wide array. Made in the U.S.A. of 95% cotton, 5% spandex in sizes XS-L. store.americanapparel.ca

American Apparel, $40: Shimmering texture without being shiny. Made in the U.S.A. of 80% nylon, 20% elastic in sizes XS-L. store.americanapparel.ca

Laurel’s top 5 specialty leggings

A specialty legging may have dressy details along the ankle, perhaps a fancy hemline, a lace cutout or be embellished with sequins or studs. Wear it clubbing or to that holiday party and handle delicately between wears.

TriFil, $29.95 at Ethel’s: Reversible patterned non-waistband (feels amazing!) leggings. Colour combinations include black/brown and black/grey. Made in Brazil of 49% poly, 39% nylon, 12% spandex in one size. Ethel’s Boutique, 2346 W. 4th Ave., 604-736-0910

Anglaise Legging by Veromodo, $45 at Plum: This print legging with a 40-inch inseam is a must for long-legged ladies—and it’s great for ruching, too. Made in China of 95% viscose, 5% elastin in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10. www.plum.ca

Nissi Jeans, $48 at Orb: Jegging—all the comfort of a legging in a jean. Elastic waistband. Made in the U.S.A. of 80% cotton, 15% poly, 5% spandex

Scala, $65 at Ethel’s: Bio-Promise anti-cellulite slimming legging with microfibre active bio-crystals. Made in Brazil of 90% polyamide, 10% elastic in S-XL. Ethel’s Boutique, 2346 W. 4th Ave., 604-736-0910

David Lerner, $110 at Blubird: Black latex (OK—it’s nylon and spandex but it looks like latex) matte legging with smooth, non-waist band. Think Olivia Newton-John in “Grease.” Made in the U.S.A. of 80% nylon, 20% spandex in XS-L. www.blubird.ca

Photo: iStock

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