Choosing leggings in the right size

4 Tips and Tricks for Choosing Leggings in the Right Size and Fit

In Fashion & Culture, Mingle Marketplace, Style & Beauty, Style Advice by Melanie Shaw

Finding the right size and fit is important when you’re shopping for any article of clothing. This is especially true if you’re on the hunt for a new pair of leggings. Whether you plan on including them as part of your daily ensembles this fall or are looking for leggings to work out in, you’ll want pairs that offer ample coverage without compromising on freedom of movement.

Unfortunately, sizes and fits for leggings aren’t standardized across all apparel brands. It’s all too easy to find yourself the perfect pair in a specific size at one store, only to discover that you’re an entirely different size at another establishment. In this article, we’ve got a few advanced hacks that can help you determine which leggings are the right size and fit for your body. Knowing these tips and tricks can also be useful when you go online to browse a selection of leggings. Read on below:

Start with Your Normal Pants Size

Leggings won’t—and shouldn’t—fit you in the same way that normal pants do. That said, your pants size is still a good place to start. If you usually get your pants in a small or extra-small size, you likely won’t need extra-large leggings.

However, size formats can differ, depending on where you live. If you’re shopping for leggings online, this can quickly become a headache. For instance, some brands use the international system of Small, Medium, and Large. On the other hand, sizes are measured in inches by US brands and in centimeters by EU companies.

The simplest way to cut through all of the confusion is to find an international size conversion chart. Most brands that sell leggings online typically have a size chart or guide posted somewhere on their website. You might also find them embedded directly in their product pages. 

Measure Yourself

Now that you have a general idea of your leggings size, the next step is to narrow it down further by taking a few measurements. For the most accurate results, we recommend taking them first thing in the morning before eating or drinking.

First, measure your waist. Take a tape measure and loop it around the smallest part of your waist, just above or along your belly button. Next, measure your hips. To do this, stand with your feet together and wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your hips, just below your hip bones and around your buttocks. Finally, measure your inseam, otherwise known as the length. Run the tape measure along the inside of your thigh, starting from where your crotch ends to the bottom of your ankle bone.

Optionally, you might want to measure the circumference of your thighs, too. That’s because your thighs may not be the same size. To start, wrap the tape measure around the top of one thigh and take note of the number. Then, do the same for the other one. If you do find that one thigh is larger than the other, you’ll want to get leggings in the bigger size just to be safe. 

Seek 4-Way Stretch Fabric

Stretch fabric is available in two variants: two-way stretch and four-way stretch. Two-way stretch fabrics can only stretch in one direction, while four-way stretch fabrics can stretch both crosswise and lengthwise. This means that two-way stretch fabrics tend to be tighter and more restrictive than four-way stretch fabrics.

If you’re shopping for leggings to work out in, you might want to keep these properties in mind while browsing. Four-way stretch leggings will be more forgiving, size-wise, while giving you full freedom of movement. Another advantage of four-way stretch fabric is that it holds its original shape better than two-way stretch fabric, too. 

Know What Makes Leggings the Wrong Size and Fit

Sometimes, the best way to find the right leggings is knowing why the pair you’re currently fitting isn’t working for you. Firstly, leggings should be completely opaque—no exceptions. If you can see your skin through them when you stretch, squat, or bend, that means they’re too tight. You’ll want to go a size up or try a pair made of a different fabric or material.

Checking the leggings’ crotch area is another way to tell if it’s the wrong size and fit for you. If you see too much fabric pooling there when you put it on, that means that the leggings are too loose and that you should size down. On the other hand, if you can see the outline of a camel toe in that area, they’re overstretched and too tight against the crotch. In that case, you should definitely go at least one or two sizes up. Leggings should also never pinch or pull, whether you’re simply walking in them or performing a yoga pose.


Leggings should fit you snugly and comfortably, much like a second skin. Finding the perfect pair might take a bit of time, but with our tips and tricks, the process should be much easier.

About Melanie Shaw

Melanie Shaw is a fashion and lifestyle writer who has worked in the fashion industry in PR and communications, helping brands launch their latest products and collections.

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