How To Choose The Best Leggings For Your Height

How to choose the best leggings for your height

Trying to decipher a clothing size guide can be infuriating. They are supposed to make choosing the right size easy, but it can often end up feeling like you’re triangulating a complex math equation. Ultimately, I’m never confident that I’ve bought the correct size from the size chart alone. Luckily, legging sizes can be pretty forgiving. They are stretchy by nature, so you’re unlikely to go too far off base. There is however one area that causes a lot of women grief: the length of the leggings.

Length is not so forgiving. Most of us don’t want leggings that bunch up around our ankles because it breaks the flattering long leg line that smooth full-length leggings create. It’s also a pain to get the leggings hemmed after buying them. If you’re on the shorter side, even a ⅞ legging that is supposed to sit above the ankle can be too long.

People have lots of different preferences about the length of their leggings, and having them sit just right makes a lot of difference to how comfortable they feel. Some people prefer the hem to sit just below the knee in a high crop. Some prefer a longer a mid-calf length. I personally like mine just above the ankle, also known as ⅞ length. Some people want a true full-length legging that sits below the ankle.

You’re flying blind when it comes to length if you’re buying leggings online, which is why I created this guide to help you find leggings that are the right length and sit exactly where you want them to. Ready to finally figure out how to choose the best legging length for your height? Let’s go!

Start by measuring your inseam

This is a step that most skip, but it’s essential if you want to find the perfect legging length. It will only take 5 minutes, you only have to do it once, and the only equipment you need is a tape measure. If you have a partner or friend nearby, grab them too because it will make taking measurements a lot easier.

How to take your inseam measurement

Most legging brands will give you an inseam measurement to describe the length of the leggings, so this is an important number to know on your body. To find out yours, measure the length of your inner thigh from where your crotch ends down to the bottom of your ankle bone. Note this number down. This can be hard to take accurately on your own, so a buddy can be really handy to have around.

If you have to take the measurement on your own, use a metal tape measure that stays rigid when you pull it out of the plastic housing. This makes it fairly easy to maneuver the end of the tape below your ankle bone and measure to the bottom of your crotch without the tape bending or moving too much. Take note of this number.

Measure the length of a pair of leggings that you like

An optional measurement you can take is the inseam of a pair of leggings that you already own and like the length of. That way you can compare that number to leggings that you want to buy and see how closely they match the leggings you own. To take this measurement, lay the leggings face up and flat on the floor. Measure from the bottom of the crotch to the hem of the leggings. Write this number down.

Decide what length you would like your leggings to be

It’s a good idea to decide what legging length you want before you get swept up in all of the descriptions, variations and measurements that you will have to decipher. Don’t get discouraged if you see a style that you love that is listed as the wrong length. Look at the size chart and you might find that a pair of ⅞ leggings will actually be full length on you. It will be much easier to know your real options if you’ve identified your ideal length and your body measurements beforehand.

To get laser precision with length, you can measure from your ankle bone up to where you want the leggings to sit on your leg. Take note of this number too. Then subtract this number from your inseam for your perfect legging length. All you need to do now is find leggings listed at that length, or close to it.

Here are the common types of legging lengths available:

Capri

Burst Crop Leggings Red

Capri leggings are the highest cut that still qualifies as leggings. Anything above this, and you’re arguably in shorts territory. A capri style legging sits just below the knee.

Crop

Grace Crop Leggings Horizon Blue

“Crop” is a more general term for leggings that sit above the ankle. Most commonly, these land anywhere between the mid-calf and just below the knee. Your measurements will come in very handy when choosing crop leggings because the lengths vary so much, even within a single brand.

Revel Leggings Orange

⅞ leggings sit just above the ankle. Sometimes they can sit a little bit higher look like a crop legging on taller women. This length is great if you want the long, slimming look of full-length leggings without any risk of them bunching at your ankles.

Full-length

Swerve Leggings Tropical Green

The classic full-length legging sits at or below the ankles. These are great for taller girls and can give you a fabulous uninterrupted leg line. They can be risky for shorter women because they can easily end up being too long. If you’re in the market for full-length leggings, measure to make sure they won’t be too long.

Now the fun bit: let’s go shopping!

Ok, so you know what height you’re looking for, you’ve done some browsing online and you’ve found some leggings that you love. Armed with your measurements, it’s time to start looking at the size guides.

Scenario 1

Since we’re focused on length, the number you’re looking for on the size charts is either “inseam” or “length”. To illustrate, let’s say you’re looking for a ⅞ length legging that sits above your ankle, but below your calf. You have an inseam measurement of 68cm. You’re considering 3 leggings listed as ⅞ length with the following inseam measurements:

Leggings A: 72cm


Leggings B: 58.5cm


Leggings C: 63cm

Going by the measurements on the size chart compared to your inseam measurement of 62cm, you know that Leggings A will sit below your ankles and be too long. Leggings B, on the other hand, will sit much higher on your legs. Probably somewhere around mid-calf, so they are not what you’re looking for either. At 63cm, leggings C will sit about 7cm above your ankle bone, which will be the perfect ⅞ length. 

Scenario 2

How about another example. Let’s say you’re looking for crop leggings this time. You want one that sits mid-calf. You find 3 crop leggings with the following measurements:

Leggings A: 48cm


Leggings B: 58cm


Leggings C: 53cm

Since you have an inseam of 68cm, Leggings A at 48cm will be too short and sit just below your knee. Leggings B are technically crop leggings, but they will be too long, and sit more like a ⅞ legging on you. Leggings C at 53cm will fall in the perfect spot at mid-calf where you want them.

As you can see, you can’t always go by the description or the photo provided by the brand because everyone is a different height, and while leggings might sit mid-calf on a model, they may not sit mid-calf on you. 

I hope this article has given you the power to use the power of measurements and size guides and find the perfect leggings for your height.

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