How To Choose The Right Size Leggings

How to choose the right size leggings

Choosing the right size leggings can be a bit tricky. The size and fit of leggings is not standardised like other clothing items, so it’s harder to get a single perfect size across the board. Getting the size wrong is the worst. Too big and your leggings will be baggy and constantly sliding off you. Too small and they will feel like they are cutting off your circulation and give you a uni-butt. No one wants a uni-butt.

These are the most popular questions that come up for people buying a new pair of leggings for the first time, especially online:

  1. Should I size up or down in these leggings?
  2. Do these leggings fit true to size?
  3. How do I know my legging size?
  4. How are leggings supposed to fit?

Look familiar? These are all very good and reasonable questions that are actually quite hard for another person to answer without seeing you and knowing your preferences. There are a lot of different fits, lengths, compressions and features to take into consideration. But you are here for answers, not more questions. 

Today, I’m going to share my guide to choosing leggings that are the right size and fit for your body. It will include some advanced hacks that should give you a lot more confidence during the buying process. This will give you the best chance at skipping away happily into the sunset with your perfect fitting leggings. 

Start with your pant size

Use your regular pant size as a starting point to find out your leggings size

An excellent place to start is your normal pant size. This may not tell you exactly what size leggings you should be buying, but it will give you a very good starting point. If you usually wear a size small pants, you’re definitely not looking for extra large leggings. You will be somewhere in the extra small to medium range. 

The fact that both pants and leggings come in different size formats from brand to brand adds another layer of difficulty. Sometimes you get the international system of S, M, L. Other times you will get a number. In the US, pant sizes are given in inches. In Europe, the size can be given in cm or a different number system that varies from country to country.

Then there is the international number system that ranges from 0 to 26. But even that number system isn’t consistent because the UK and Australia start at size 4, which is the smallest, while the US starts at 0 for its smallest size. Confused yet?

Don’t get too caught up in the sizing differences. The best way to approach the situation is to find an international size conversion chart. There are plenty online. Stride has one for easy reference on every product page.

International size conversion chart for leggings

Simply take the size you are used to using, and convert it to whatever size format the leggings brand uses. Here at Stride we use S, M, L for simplicity, and you can see from the size chart how that translates to other size formats in different countries around the world. This should give you a good indication of your correct size in a particular brand’s leggings. 

Consult the size guide

Once you have nailed down your size, the next thing you should do is cross-reference this with the size guide provided for the leggings. This will give you more precise confirmation that you will get a perfect fit.  

To do this, you will need to take a few simple body measurements. This step is worth the effort to get a fabulous perfect fit! Here’s how to do it.

Measure your inseam (also called length)

Your inseam is the measurement from your crotch down to the bottom of your ankle. It’s basically the length of the inside of your leg. Grab a measuring tape and a partner or friend if you have one handy. Don’t worry, if you need to take the measurement on your own, you can use a tape measure that stays rigid when you roll it out of the plastic case. Now measure the length of your inner thigh from where your crotch ends down to the bottom of your ankle bone. Write this number down. 

Measure your waist

This one is easy to do on your own. Take your measuring tape and wrap it around the smallest part of your waist. Put your finger where the end of the measuring tape matches up with the other side. Take note of this number. 

Measure your hips

Locate where you can feel your hip bones at the front of your waist with your fingers. Wrap the measuring tape around this part of your body to get your hip measurement. Write this number down.

Measure your hips

Wrap your measuring tape around the widest part of your thighs. This is usually near the top. If one thigh is bigger than the other, go with the bigger one so that your leggings aren’t too tight on one side. Note down your thigh measurement.

Now have a look at the size chart, which will look something like this:

Leggings size guide

Look for the size that you think is yours and see if your inseam (also called Length), waist, hips and thigh measurements are close to the ones for the leggings you want to buy.

Watch out for big differences between your measurements and the ones in the size guide. For example, if you’re a size small, and your waist measures 65cm, but the size guide says the waist on the small leggings is 57cm, the waist is going to be way too tight and uncomfortable. It’s better to size up if the measurements on the medium fit you better, or choose a different style that will suit your physique better.

Look for four-way stretch

Look for leggings with four-way stretch

Always look for leggings that have four-way stretch. This type of fabric is a lot more comfortable and forgiving than one-way or two-way stretch. If there are slight differences between your body measurements and the leggings sizes, it won’t matter and your leggings will still be really comfortable.

To give you an idea of how these different types of fabric work, one-way stretch will stretch from side to side, but it will not bounce back to its original shape. It will hold its stretched-out shape until it is washed. Two-way stretch will stretch from side to side and bounce back to its original shape, but it will not stretch up and down. The lack of stretch in all directions can make it feel very tight and restrictive. This type of fabric is not very forgiving when it comes to sizing either. Four-way stretch will stretch in all directions and retain its original shape afterwards. You get to enjoy the freedom to move without your leggings going baggy on you. You also get more flexibility and comfort when it comes to sizing.

Read the comments for sizing tips

Here’s a hot take: if you want to know whether a pair of leggings run larger or smaller than normal, read the product comments and questions. This is a very popular topic and plenty of real customers who have actually tried the leggings on will comment if the leggings fit “true to size”, or if you need to size up or size down. If multiple people comment the same thing, then that’s a pretty good indicator that you probably need to do the same.

Try them on

The ultimate and only true way to be 100% sure that you have the right size leggings is to try them on. Either go in-store and try a couple of sizes to compare the difference. If you’re shopping online, most online stores will let you return or exchange the leggings if they’re not the right size.

Now you’re armed with all of the information you need to choose the perfect size leggings. Have fun finding your perfect fit!

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