I bought my first pair of Madewell leggings in 2008 at the flagship store on Broome Street, just up the block from the NYU dorm I was bunking in that summer. I’d never owned a pair of leggings, and wasn’t really sure where or how to wear them, but they were one of the few things that I — an unpaid magazine intern — could afford to buy at Madewell, then still a little-known spinoff of J.Crew.
I no longer worry about where or how to wear them; over the years, I’ve learned the answer is: everywhere, with anything.
I got rid of that first pair a year or two ago, because they’d faded to gray and lost their elasticity after almost a decade of wear, but it’s impossible to say how many pairs I’ve owned since then. I currently have five in my drawer, one on my body, and two on the way.
They’re sturdy in a way that no other leggings I’ve tried are. Substantial, but not suppressive. Since 2008, the design has changed only slightly. As far as I can tell, the only difference is that the waistband is now thicker — a good inch or so wide, and a noted upgrade from its previous iteration. This one doesn’t roll down and, just as crucially, doesn’t bind. It expands comfortably if you’re lounging on the couch or working from bed, but it also retains its shape.
I prefer to wear them with longer tops, because I’m not a teenager, but they’re opaque enough that if I do run an errand or walk my dog in a hip-length T-shirt or cropped sweater, they aren’t at all see-through.
I usually change into one of my many pairs as soon as I get home from work, but in these strange times, where many of us have been working from home, I’ve found myself wearing them morning to night (and, depending how cold my apartment is, even to bed). In the past, I’ve worn them to yoga and on the treadmill — when those sorts of things were still permitted — but they’re better suited for indoor activities. (If you do wear them outside and have concerns about contamination, they’re very easy to hand-wash and hang dry.)
As my colleague Dominique mentioned, the typical WFH advice is that many people “find it helpful to get fully dressed and ready in the morning as though they are going to the office.” I am not one of those people, so I’ll be WIL — working in leggings — until further notice.
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